Linking climate and development policies (CD-links)

CD-LINKS is a research project that brings together a consortium of nineteen leading international research organizations from around the globe to explore national and global transformation strategies for climate change and their linkages to a range of sustainable development objectives.

An important question for policy makers, in the G20 and beyond, is how to bring climate action into the broader sustainable development agenda. Objectives like energy poverty eradication, increased well-being and welfare, air quality improvement, energy security enhancement, and food and water availability will continue to remain important over the next several decades. There have been relatively few scientific analyses, however, that have explored the complex interplay between climate action and development while simultaneously taking both global and national perspectives.


Aim of the project

CD-LINKS has four main objectives: (i) to improve the scientific understanding of the linkages between climate change and multiple sustainable development objectives, (ii) to broaden the evidence base in the area of policy effectiveness by exploring past and current policy experiences, (iii) to develop globally consistent, national low-carbon development pathways, and (iv) to establish a research network and capacity building platform in order to leverage knowledge-exchange among institutions from Europe and several Non-European G20 countries.


To achieve the project’s main objectives, the following work plan is proposed:

national and global transformation pathways will be developed that address climate change within the broader sustainable development agendas of G20 countries. Collaboration between national and global modelling teams will yield more coherent pictures of the future than is typical of pathways studies.

• explore low-carbon development pathways and adaptation strategies that ensure the achievement of a wide range of sustainable development objectives, including in particular, alleviating energy poverty and income inequality, reducing air pollution and associated health impacts, ensuring water availability, food and energy security, and managing the risks of climate-related extreme events. For this purpose, the project will push the boundaries of national and global energy-economy and integrated assessment models and develop new methodologies for the explicit representation of different dimensions of sustainable development.

• the analysis of low-carbon development pathways will be complemented by empirical analyses of past and existing policies that have had a climate or broader development focus (e.g., case studies focussing on the areas of energy, water, food security, agriculture and technology innovation). These cornerstone activities of the project will allow CD-LINKS to assess the potential effectiveness and replicability of policies in other countries.

• CD-LINKS will go further than previously developed transformation pathways, which have been largely silent about policy implementation, by translating insights from the scenario work into concrete and tangible recommendations for policy implementation at the national and international level.

Official project website:

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