Influence public understanding and encourage private action
The transition to net zero will involve a significant transformation of all elements of the global economy. Securing public support for the transition is crucial to enable the smooth implementation of the policies set out below. It requires awareness of both the threats of climate change, and the opportunities offered by the transition. The political levers to do this will vary between nations. For example, emerging market (EM) nations may emphasise development benefits and wealth creation of transition, whereas others may highlight the impact of climate change on human health.
This political messaging can create a “common understanding” of the dangers of climate change. This understanding can also facilitate collaboration within the government and with other institutions. “Reframing” can help address perennial policy problems like climate change. If a common frame for the climate change problem can be identified that multiple actors can accept and work with, this can help solve coordination issues.
Facilitating a common understanding of the urgency of climate change and the opportunities posed by the transition to a net zero economy can also encourage private actors to accelerate action. Increasing public awareness of climate change is leading to increasing demands for green investments and pensions, and for green products. This bottom-up pressure on investors and companies can complement top-down government action.
The PM/President’s office and policy units can work to coordinate action across government, not just to set direction of travel but also ensure coherency of policymaking. Prime ministers and presidents can promote intra- and interdepartmental policy coherence and coordination, and also interagency policy coordination. They can utilise informal and formal networks, and their capacity as the “centre of government” to overcome tensions between departments. Several governments have created “super-ministries” to better formalise internal coordination. This can also streamline policymaking, reconciling those with the same objectives to ensure there are not multiple policies working to enable the same capital flows.
Government leaders can also seek international collaboration and coordination on climate finance policies. This can range from unilateral sovereign guarantee agreements, to multilateral carbon price agreements. Inter-governmental forums such as the G20 and G7 offer an opportunity to align on key policies such as fossil fuel phaseouts and international carbon pricing, enhancing the UNFCCC COP process. For example, the G20 Sustainable Finance Roadmap sets out five key policy areas to advance international efforts to scale climate finance.
International collaboration can also take the form of peer-to-peer capacity building. Government leadership can facilitate their departments to share their experiences in developing and implementing the policies outlined below. This will not solely be led by DM governments, as many innovative climate finance policies have been introduced in EM countries, due to constrained balance sheets, and greater climate risk exposure.