Accelerating Climate Action

Refocusing Policies through a Well-being Lens

image of Accelerating Climate Action

This report builds on the OECD Well-being Framework and applies a new perspective that analyses synergies and trade-offs between climate change mitigation and broader goals such as health, education, jobs, as well as wider environmental quality and the resources needed to sustain our livelihoods through time. This report takes an explicitly political economy approach to the low-emissions transitions needed across five economic sectors (electricity, heavy industry, residential, surface transport, and agriculture) that are responsible for more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Synergies between emissions reduction and broader well-being objectives, such as reduced air pollution and improved health, increase the incentives for early mitigation action. At the same time, the impact of climate policies on issues such as the affordability of energy and jobs need to be taken into account to counter growing economic and social inequalities within and between countries. The report argues that reframing climate policies using a well-being lens is necessary for making visible such synergies and trade-offs; allowing decision-makers to increase the former and anticipate, manage and minimise the latter. This requires us to rethink societal goals in terms of well-being, reframe our measures of progress and refocus policy-making accordingly.

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Catalysing change through a sustainable electricity sector

This chapter analyses the electricity sector through a well-being lens. The first part discusses a number of policy priorities beyond the traditional concerns of reliability, affordability and decarbonisation – the so-called “energy trilemma”. It highlights the importance of considering different scales (plant, network and demand level) and how these scales can help governments better ensure synergies between climate and other priorities, strengthening two-way alignment. For instance, it shows how activating the role played by the demand side can enhance both affordability and system flexibility, allowing a higher share of variable renewable energy resources to be integrated in the generation mix. The second part of the chapter proposes a set of indicators enabling policy makers to track progress towards multiple priorities, assessing the synergies and trade-offs between climate action and other well-being priorities.

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