Enablers of ambitious climate action: challenges and opportunities to combine climate change and sustainable development

Iacobuta, Gabriela
Books (2021)

Wageningen, Netherlands: Wageningen University

ISBN: 9789464470192
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18174/556763

Despite decades of international climate negotiations, cumulative worldwide climate-action pledges still fall short of the needed effort to keep the maximum global mean temperature increase well below 2oC and to further strive for a maximum of 1.5oC, as established in the Paris Agreement. This Agreement ensures that all developed and developing countries are engaged in climate action, but ambition levels nationally determined. Hence, understanding what enables and what discourages climate action and how to use these levers to boost ambition is key to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. My PhD research aims to address research gaps on major climate-change action enablers and to explore how these enablers have performed over time and across countries. Moreover, it aims to develop research and policy-making tools to further analyse these enablers and to leverage their potential to boost climate-change action. The major enablers that I address in my thesis, are: key moments in international climate negotiations; country contexts and the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) principle; international climate assistance; and policy coherence for the joint implementation of climate targets and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In this context, I discuss four policy coherence types: coherence between national and international action; coherence between sources of finance; socio-economic and environmental coherence; and coherence between international policy agendas. My PhD thesis advanced the scientific understanding of climate-change action enablers and provides tools for further research and policy making. In particular, the tools allow researchers and relevant stakeholders to 1) compare the ambition of countries' climate pledges in a development context; 2) better align climate and sustainable development finance; 3) make use of an overview of climate and SDG interactions and of opportunities for enhanced policy coherence; and 4) assess gaps and opportunities for a better integration of the international climate and biodiversity agendas. From a policy perspective, our climate-change action assessments likely facilitate comparability and support policy makers to design better measures that maximize synergies and minimize trade-offs between climate and sustainable development actions.

About the author

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Climate and sustainable development policy


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Dippel, Beatrice


Donnelly, Aiveen

Politcal Science 

Droste, Leonie Marie

Political Science 

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

Goedeking, Nicholas

Comparative Political Economy 

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna


Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

Wehrmann, Dorothea