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Enabling Instruments

Radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires urgent and transformative action at scale. Quick technological fixes are not enough. The problems cities face in mitigating and adapting to climate change are complex, rooted in technical, economic, financial, organisational, political, cultural, and social systems. These are all interconnected and constantly adapting to one another, meaning their interdependencies can block necessary change. Inherited structures – such as planning policies, existing infrastructure, deeply ingrained organisational and/or individual practices and mindsets – can reinforce the status quo and get in the way of necessary transformations.

Systems innovation means intervening across existing systems, in a coordinated way, to unlock pathways toward climate-neutrality. To do this, a deep understanding of local systems is necessary, as well as connecting climate actions in whole-city cross-sectoral portfolios and intentionally collaborating with many actors – locally and across all levels of governance.

Working on portfolios of actions across systems (across traditional divisions between technology, finance, politics/ policy/ regulation, social innovation, democracy, and governance) requires working with new actors in new ways, multiplying the number of actors of change. This means focusing on impact by working collaboratively, building and orchestrating a city ecosystem where local citizens, businesses, and all necessary stakeholders can contribute to the change needed.

Working across systems will need:

  • Instruments to increase Capacity Building and Learning (education) across actors (citizens, stakeholders)
  • Instruments to increase awareness raising, as well as to involve, collaborate and empower, as higher levels of citizen and stakeholder engagement in the spectrum of participation
  • Financial instruments
  • Planning instruments
  • Policy instruments
  • Regulatory instruments
  • Technical instruments

Relation between thematic areas addressing emission domains of emission (including enabling instruments) and the systemic levers


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Awareness raisingCircular economyCitizen participationEducationFinanceGovernance and policySocial innovationStakeholder engagementClimate resilienceNature based solutionsAnalytics and modellingEnergyIndustryTechnologyTransport and mobility

Tags Climate Transition Map

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