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Solar home systems increase energy access for rural communities, avoid emissions, and have positive gender co-benefits.

How Can Climate Action Be Inclusive?

By Wendy Jaglom, Logan Pfeiffer

A growing demand to address the threats of climate change and social inequality has led to the emergence of inclusive climate action. Building on historical movements such as sustainable development and environmental justice, inclusive climate action addresses a growing burden on underrepresented or excluded social groups, who often suffer the most as a result of climate change. In addition, existing social inequalities could be made worse by the effects of a changing climate.

What is inclusive climate action? Inclusive climate action means both reducing the effects of climate change on the most vulnerable and ensuring the benefits and burdens of climate action are equitably distributed.

Climate action becomes inclusive by engaging a wide range of stakeholders, designing policies that are fair and accessible, and equitably distributing policy impacts. This results in an adaptable and scalable approach that provides economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Why is inclusive climate action important? It is a solution to address both climate change and socioeconomic inequalities. It also provides many additional benefits, such as greater economic opportunity, improved health and well-being, and better natural resource management.

Where is inclusive climate action occurring? Inclusive climate action takes different forms at different levels, from international platforms, to national policies, to local projects. Many international organizations are supporting inclusive climate action through the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses are increasingly integrating inclusivity considerations in planning and policy initiatives. C40 has been instrumental in framing and promoting inclusive climate action at the municipal level, earning pledges to implement inclusive climate action from more than 30 global cities.


The interconnected dimensions and benefits of inclusive climate action.

How can inclusive climate action be achieved? Several high-impact sectors serve as especially effective inroads to jump-start inclusive climate action, including renewable energy deployment, energy efficient buildings, waste management, and sustainable agriculture. There is no blueprint for inclusive climate action that applies to all contexts, but several best practices have been identified to help achieve inclusive climate action:

  • Consistently identify holistic solutions with multiple benefits that integrate social equity, economic opportunity, and climate considerations.
  • Ensure participation of all stakeholders in consultation, planning and design.
  • Search for opportunities to implement climate actions that directly benefit low-income, underrepresented, and vulnerable communities.
  • Measure the impact of inclusive climate action and adjust as needed.
  • Form partnerships amongst government, business and NGOs.

The new paper in the Resources to Advance LEDS Implementation (RALI) Series investigates these questions and more, from the origin of inclusive climate action to strategies to improve inclusivity. The paper also provides illustrative case studies that describe where inclusive climate action is happening now, and an annotated resource library with links to related information. Read on to learn more about this emerging concept.

Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Mitigation
Adaptation, Low Emission Development, Climate Policy, Conflict and Governance, Economic Growth, Food Security and Agriculture, Health, Infrastructure, Partnership, Resilience, Urban

Wendy Jaglom

Wendy Jaglom is a Climate Change and Sustainability Senior Managing Consultant at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Wendy is a climate change communications expert and her work focuses on communicating the objectives and results of greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation projects.

Logan Pfeiffer

Logan Pfeiffer is a Climate Change and Sustainability Specialist at ICF. Logan manages communications and outreach for the RALI project. He also supports a range of other greenhouse gas mitigation projects at the international, national, and local levels.

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