Climate Governance series Methodology



Decarbonising the world’s economy involves action from all aspects of society and the economy. Governments in all countries play a critical role in enabling this transformation and as such the ability, fitness and readiness of a country’s climate governance will play a critical role in determining the speed and volume at which emissions can be reduced.

As part of the Climate Governance Series, a framework has been developed for assessing countries’ readiness, from an institutional and governance point of view, to ratchet up climate policy and implement adequate transformational policies on the ground. The focus of the present assessment is on factors within the control of national governments. While all levels of government and all facets of society will play a role in the transition to a carbon neutral future, these are examined through the lens of the national government and its ability to engage with stakeholders. The framework assesses both the readiness of the national government generally and its readiness in relation to the country’s highest emitting sector(s).

The objective of this methodology is to offer a standardised and replicable approach to assess a country’s readiness to decarbonise. The analyses and reports then aim to highlight positive developments, identify areas of improvement, elaborate on potential interventions where possible, and establish a basis to compare climate governance across countries.

Both the methodological framework and country reports are completed under a first testing phase and may be subject to refinement in the future. In addition to further developing the analytical tools for assessing climate governance, this testing version also serves to both generate discussion on the methodologies and concepts surrounding the topic and to garner feedback on those employed in this project.

The Framework

The framework consists of a set of criteria that are considered critical enabling elements for a country to successfully transition to a zero-carbon society. These criteria are grouped into larger umbrella categories. Each criterion consists of a set of unique indicators, which are evaluated on a scale of 0 (lowest score) to 100 (highest) according to a range of benchmark response options. The framework consists of both a national level and sectoral level assessment. In the framework’s final iteration of this project phase, the national assessment consists of 33 indicators from 10 criteria, while the sectoral assessment consists of 20 indicators from eight criteria. Both assessments have four categories.

The Assessment

A two-tiered methodological approach was used for developing and testing the indicators and benchmarks. The Tier 1 approach involved an assessment through desk-based research and review of existing literature, available documents, and data. The Tier 2 approach complemented this analysis by answering the questions through detailed research by in-country experts, who have more substantive local knowledge and can employ a greater diversity of qualitative research methods. All country case studies were assessed under the Tier 1 approach; two countries, South Africa and the Philippines, were also assessed under the Tier 2 approach. This two-tiered approach was adopted to compare and analyse the differences in results and to glean lessons learned to be able to improve the robustness of the framework in future iterations. For the case studies with both Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments, the country narratives prioritise Tier 2 findings with additional detail from Tier 1 findings.

Rating System

Our rating system was designed with three following purposes in mind:

  • highlight positive developments within countries,
  • identify areas of improvement, and
  • establish a basis on which to compare climate governance across countries.

Each individual indicator has been assessed and given a score. The categories and criteria linked to those indicators are then given a rating based on those scores.

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