The Political Challenge of Linking Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies: Risks and Prospects

R. James Ferguson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


The need to link climate change mitigation and adaptation with environmental, social, and developmental sustainability is well-entrenched in the parallel political negotiations on climate change, following on from the Paris Agreement
(2015) and the Sustainable Development Goals (as they have evolved after the Millennium Development Goals). The outcomes of the Paris climate change talks suggest a strong shift towards politically realistic targets for ongoing emissions cuts, even if these voluntary targets are structured via national action plans and intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). A major review of progress towards sustainable development goals and climate adaptation frameworks could slow down both agendas. In the worst-case scenario, these goals could undercut each other, with developing countries switching to belated national development and adaptation efforts if collective action on emission targets and related funding wavers. A pluralist, multi-actor approach will continue to evolve, refining both climate change and sustainable development mechanisms over the next decade, but it still needs strong leadership from major states within the European Union and the ‘BASIC’ (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) coalition. Such approaches must reassure developing states of the benefits of sustaining emissions cuts alongside balanced implementation of the SDGs and continued use of resilient, ‘low-emission’ adaptation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development: Asia-Pacific Perspectives
EditorsPak Sum Low
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780511977961
ISBN (Print)9780521897174
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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