Climate and digital policy

'Climate mainstreaming: breaking down the silos' series

Policy Brief

09/02/2023

Climate change is a systemic issue that cannot be addressed by siloed thinking and policymaking. The transition to a political, social and economic model needs a holistic understanding to address the planetary emergencies and to implement the commitments of the EU Climate Law. By holistic, we mean a theoretical ground aware of interdependencies between different policy fields.

Transforming societies and economies while respecting sustainability principles means mainstreaming environmental concerns whenever we design policies for all other areas. At the same time, like the effects of climate change, also environmental policies can affect different areas, such as gender and health.

The ‘Climate mainstreaming: Breaking down the silos’ series comprises four policy briefs that foreground and disentangle these interlinkages by connecting climate matters with different disciplinary backgrounds (justice, gender, digital and health).

The objective is to influence and assist progressive policymakers and stakeholders who want to adopt holistic, comprehensive and environmentally sustainable policies that can remedy rather than exacerbate existing inequalities. 

Digital policy

The coming decades will be characterised by two major technology challenges: climate change mitigation and digitalisation. The technological transition associated with climate change follows clear and well-defined goals. In contrast, digitalisation does not follow a clear objective and is commonly understood as a self-driving process of technological progress.

With regard to climate action, it is imperative to accelerate the technological transition to a low-carbon economy while bearing in mind that the effects of climate change are unjustly distributed. As for digitalisation, guidance is necessary to avoid adverse side effects such as the threat of mass surveillance arising from data monopolies, and the unequal distribution of gains and access to digital technologies.

This policy brief identifies the positive and negative interactions across processes of technological advances involved in both climate change mitigation and digitalisation. It also shows how current EU policy strategies take account of these interactions. It proceeds by outlining 15 principles around which policies for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and compensation should be designed to ensure coherence and justice and to leverage the greatest synergies with the ongoing process of digitalisation.

Network
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
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