The need to act on climate change, in a way that is globally effective, is urgent and real. Climate impacts – and the risk of crossing irreversible tipping points – are increasing, foreshadowing the catastrophic changes to come should policy efforts fail. Indeed, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that human-induced climate change is under way and accelerating, and that action to first achieve a peak and then a steep reduction in global emissions towards net-zero needs to rapidly accelerate, starting now.

Climate change is not the only challenge governments face. The scars left by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine have demonstrated the social and economic vulnerability of human systems and the threat that economic disruptions can pose to climate policy resilience. At the same time, the world is grappling with longer-term structural challenges such as a rapidly changing labour market, aging societies, digital transformation of economies and of course environmental impacts related to biodiversity loss, degrading ocean health and others.

Addressing these challenges is the focus of the OECD-wide project Net Zero+: Climate and Economic Resilience in a Changing World. Outcomes achieved in countries across the world will improve more quickly if we all more systematically share data and information about what we are each doing to bring our emissions down. These efforts are at the heart of our work at the OECD – developing and using verifiable data sets based on mutually agreed methodologies to support better policy making.

The Net Zero+ synthesis report sits alongside three other flagship OECD initiatives on climate action. First, the OECD’s Inclusive Forum on Carbon Mitigation Approaches, which looks to improve data and information sharing about the comparative effectiveness of different carbon mitigation policy approaches. Second, the International Programme for Action on Climate (IPAC) – developed as part of the Net Zero+ project – has established a detailed set of headline indicators to track and monitor both the impacts of climate change and our climate action responses – adaptation and mitigation – across OECD and non-OECD countries annually. Third, the OECD’s work to track progress toward the goal of donor countries providing and mobilising USD 100 billion climate finance annually for developing countries under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

Net Zero+ draws on the full breadth of the OECD’s multidisciplinary expertise to provide policy makers with a cohesive set of recommendations for accelerating resilient, whole-of-government climate policy making. This report brings together findings from the first phase of the Net Zero+ project. Spanning work from 17 OECD policy committees, it is a central contribution to the OECD’s organisation-wide efforts to support climate action in practice. The report is structured around three distinct but interlinked parts that together provide a complete picture of the policy needs for resilient climate action.

  • Part I sets the scene of the current context for climate policy making, underlining the urgency of the climate crisis alongside the myriad other disruptions governments are facing. Despite recent progress, climate change is not yet sufficiently mainstreamed into core economic policy. Mitigation and adaptation also remain largely compartmentalised from each other and are dealt with separately from other environmental challenges such as biodiversity.

  • Part II focuses on how to ensure the transition to net-zero emissions is not only accelerated but also itself resilient. This means making sure climate policies are durable even under changing circumstances, but also that they do not engender negative impacts in other policy domains. The analysis identifies potential bottlenecks to the transition and how policies can be designed to anticipate them across public and private finance, innovation, jobs and social policy, as well as the particular circumstances of developing countries.

  • Part III shifts the focus towards building systemic resilience to climate impacts, highlighting the intrinsic synergies between mitigation, adaptation and other environmental concerns. It shows that adaptation efforts are necessary to avoid losses and damages, and how, here too, a systemic approach is needed, moving away from adapting individual systems’ components in response to specific climate risks, in favour of building overall resilience. In this light, the analysis includes a specific deep dive into building resilience in key sectors and systems.

The stakes are high. We know some climate impacts are already “baked in”. In 2021 alone, the global direct costs of extreme climate-related events were estimated at around USD 290 billion (EUR 265 billion) and IPAC data highlights observable changes. At the same time, the benefits from faster, more co-ordinated action are clear.

The richness of approaches that countries are using, or plan to use, is important and justified. The challenge in translating ambition and efforts into real actions and real outcomes is to ensure that all these individual policy efforts are globally as effective and as fair as possible.


Mathias Cormann

OECD Secretary-General

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