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Defining climate compatible development

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Tom Mitchell, Simon Maxwell

Briefing/policy paper

In this first of a series of CDKN policy briefs, Tom Mitchell and Simon Maxwell argue that climate compatible development is ‘development that minimises the harm caused by climate impacts, while maximising the many human development opportunities presented by a low emissions, more resilient, future’. Climate change and responses to it are changing patterns of innovation, trade, production, population distribution and risk in complex ways. This is creating a new development landscape for policy makers, who need to nurture and sustain economic growth and social development in the face of multiple threats and uncertainties while also cutting emissions or keeping them low.

In tackling the challenges, climate compatible development moves beyond the traditional separation of adaptation, mitigation and development strategies. Instead it emphasises climate strategies that embrace development goals and development strategies that integrate the threats and opportunities of a changing climate. As a result, it heralds a new generation of development processes that safeguard development from climate impacts (climate resilient development) and reduce or keep emissions low without compromising development goals (low emissions development). Climate compatible development goes one step further by asking policy makers to consider ‘triple win’ strategies that result in low emissions, build resilience and promote development simultaneously.

Tom Mitchell and Simon Maxwell