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 objective of this methodology is to offer a standardised and replicable approach to assess a country’s readiness to transition to a zero emissions society. 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.

In July 2020, we revised this framework based on the lessons learned from our first round of country assessments. We focus now on the national level in order to make it more conducive to applying to a large number of countries. However, the sectoral approach remains valid and may be considered in future updates. We moved to a five-point benchmark system to allow for greater precision in the scoring and to show more variation in the country comparisons. We combined some indicators or modified the scope to reduce redundancies and add new indicators to address identified gaps. In early 2021, we undertook another methodology review round, further refining our benchmarks and some of the indicators. We also added a new indicator on climate finance readiness, bringing the total to 29.

Earlier versions of our methodology are available here: 2019 and 2020.

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 five point benchmark system. The updated framework assesses 29 national indicators. While not all indicators are equally important for successful transition in every country, most of these indicators will be required in many countries to enable a rapid transition.

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 indicator is assessed based on a five-point response scale. The aggregation of the indicator scores determine a country's performance at the criteria level and the aggregation of the criteria scores determines the performance at the category level. The performance results of the criteria/category level assessments are displayed with color-coding in the country reports.

Last updated: August 2021

Stay informed

Subscribe to our newsletter