Understanding Impacts and Benefits to Society

About This Opportunity

Identifying and quantifying the impacts and benefits related to climate action allows for a more informed, transparent, and effective approach.

Informed: Identifying and quantifying impacts and benefits on different groups is crucial for NDCs in order to make informed decisions and enable prioritization and targeting of actions. Understanding who benefits and who is negatively impacted by climate action allows for more targeted policies and measures. This ensures resources are directed towards those who need them most and minimizes unintended negative consequences. By quantifying impacts, for example, through social impact assessments, countries can prioritize mitigation strategies that maximize positive outcomes and minimize harm to vulnerable populations. For instance, assessing how energy efficiency improvements in housing might affect energy affordability for low-income communities can inform social protection and other financial support options to ensure a Just Transition. Similarly, when evaluating renewable energy options, considering job creation potential in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance can inform skills development, labor market, enterprise, and other sectoral/industrial policies. This leads to a more efficient and effective approach to developing a NDC considering a fair distribution of burdens and benefits.

Transparent: Identifying and quantifying impacts also fosters transparency and accountability, building public trust. Policy decisions and actions may be more successful where people understand the potential consequences of actions and feel confident they can hold policymakers accountable for ensuring a Just Transition, facilitating public acceptance and implementation.

Effective: Identifying and quantifying impacts of actions allows mitigation and adaptation strategies to be tailored to the local context, meeting the specific needs of local communities. Quantified data also provides a baseline for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of goal achievement. This allows adjustments to be made to implementation planning as needed, ensuring continuous improvement.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Identifying vulnerabilities within sectors most affected by climate change and transition efforts:

Setting a clear context for Just Transition activities and responses can support an enhanced understanding as to why specific actions are required. This can be made clear by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities within sectors that are most affected by climate change and transition efforts, such as agriculture, energy, and manufacturing, with a focus on protecting the livelihoods of those most at risk. This may help to ensure the NDC 3.0 is more implementable where, for instance, there is improved understanding by key sector stakeholders of relevant vulnerabilities and key actions needed, or amongst stakeholders critical to financing action, and amongst communities who are important to engage – See “Opportunity: Mainstreaming the NDC in National Planning Processes” and “Opportunity: Incorporating All of Society in Adaptation Planning.”

Identifying and analyzing socioeconomic impacts of climate actions:

Within their NDCs, countries can break down impacts into categories such as:

  • Economic impacts, such as job creation or loss, income changes, and effects on vulnerable households and communities.
  • Social impacts, such as health benefits from pollution reduction or economic disruption.
  • Climate action’s differential impact based on gender or socioeconomic status.

Robust data sources allow for a consensus to better understand long-term costs and benefits and improved confidence in investment plans. If using a global tool or framework, local data can be used to tailor these to the local context. The economic, social, and environmental impacts of different climate change scenarios (with and without ambitious action) can be identified through modelling to showcase the potential avoided costs of climate action compared to the costs of inaction. Qualitative assessments can also describe the social consequences of climate change, such as increased migration, food insecurity, income insecurity and social unrest. Acknowledging upfront costs alongside long-term benefits promotes transparency and can frame a Just Transition as an investment for future generations. See the “Analyzing impacts and opportunities” module of the Just Transition Planning Toolbox (Climate Investment Fund) and the Database for tools for assessment of impacts of the implementation of mitigation policies and strategies (UNFCCC).

Considering impact data of policies and measures:

References to policies and measures in NDCs, in particular across the wider range of policy areas required for a Just Transition (also including active labor market, social protection and skills development policies and measures, for example) are often missing impact data, which can undermine accountability. Drawing on existing impact data can also enable the establishment of a clear mandate for implementation by responsible institutions and helps clarify what the return on the investment of the respective policies and measures would be.

Developing policies and measures that maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts:

Whilst policies and measures are the ways in which NDCs 3.0 will be implemented, considering how these are designed, in ways that maximize positive impacts while minimizing negative impacts, can support more ambitious and implementable NDCs that achieve both climate goals and Just Transitions. Incorporating such benefits into policy design requires a holistic approach that considers the interconnections between environmental, social and economic dimensions. See the “Devising Strategies” module of the Just Transition Planning Toolbox (Climate Investment Fund). Policies can then create synergies between different sectors, such as energy, transportation, and agriculture, to address multiple societal challenges simultaneously. For instance, investing in renewable energy not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also improves air quality, enhances energy security, and creates job opportunities in clean energy industries. Similarly, reforestation initiatives not only sequester carbon dioxide but also enhance biodiversity, protect watersheds, and provide a range of ecosystem services. By prioritizing positive impacts and leveraging the wide range of social policy instruments that can support climate and socioeconomic objectives, policymakers can maximize the effectiveness and acceptability of interventions, leading to more sustainable and inclusive outcomes for society as a whole.

Identifying opportunities for increased capacity, green skills and jobs:

Referencing capacity-building needs in the NDC can be important because investments in green skills, for example, both enable the transformation towards a green economy and mitigate negative impacts of that transformation. Coordination mechanisms between different sectoral ministries (e.g. education, labor, social affairs, energy, climate, industry) can help to identify needs, and reference to skills, social protection, and jobs within the NDC as well as a systematic consideration in LT-LEDs and action plans can help to highlight these needs. A thorough understanding of the local context helps identify investment opportunities, like worker skills development through training and resource reallocation. Quantifying potential job creation and job evolution across sectors guides planning for training and capacity building. Tools are available to support this analysis. For instance – see The Climate action Outcomes and Mitigation Policy Assessment (COMPASS) toolbox (New Climate Institute) or, for the city level, see How to measure current and potential green jobs in your city” (C40 Cities). Countries can also look beyond green jobs (i.e., those related to climate action) to examine how the skills needs of all jobs will evolve to achieve climate outcomes. LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2023 shows how green skills are increasingly relevant in many jobs titles, such as procurement and supply chain professionals, whose core purpose is not focused solely on climate but are nonetheless critical to climate progress – See “Opportunity: Identifying Capacity-Building and Technical Assistance Needs” for more information on identifying needs in this area.

Fostering transparency and data-informed decision-making:

A transparent process fosters trust among stakeholders, including workers, communities, and civil society. To build support, transparency regarding data limitations and uncertainties in impact estimates can be beneficial. Quantitative data can be paired with qualitative assessments from local communities and stakeholders to encompass broader social and cultural impacts. This could include prioritizing equity and inclusivity by engaging with affected communities and civil society organizations can help to better understand their concerns and perspectives on potential impacts.  Disaggregating data by factors like gender, location, and socio-economic status to identify potential distributional effects and prevent any group from being marginalized. This transparency allows for informed participation and helps ensure that the Just Transition addresses their needs and concerns, leading to broader public support for the NDC. For more detail about fostering transparency in the NDC – see “Opportunity: Aligning NDC and Transparency Processes.”

Country Examples

Zimbabwe’s 2021-2025 development strategy prioritized “new wealth creation and expanding horizons of economic opportunities for all Zimbabweans, with no one left behind”. As a result, Zimbabwe identified the importance of assessing the potential development effects of climate policies ex-ante to design a climate strategy that maximizes job creation, economic and social development, while minimizing negative effects and leaving no one behind. The Department of Climate Change and the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU), with technical and financial support from the UNDP and the ILO, undertook an assessment to measure the projected impact of Zimbabwe’s climate policies on employment, GDP, and emissions. This economic model, known as the Green Jobs Assessment, allows the Government of Zimbabwe to examine the potential impact of its climate policies on economic growth, employment creation, skills and education needs, gender equality and income levels. To do so, the 12 leading policies were selected from Zimbabwe’s NDC. They were analyzed in terms of their immediate, short- and medium-term effects (primary), as well as their long-term effects (secondary). Impacts on the labor market, employment, economic growth and emissions were also assessed.  The study aimed to allows policy makers to make the right choices for a Just Transition to a low carbon and prosperous economy. (Source: “Zimbabwe Green Jobs Assessment Report,” UNDP).

Ethiopia undertook an economy-wide analysis using Green Economic Modelling (GEM) and comprehensive stakeholder engagement. GEM for Ethiopia was originally developed to support the EFCCC and the Planning and Development Commission for the NDC revision process and the development of the 10-year Development Plan. As the core model for the assessment of Ethiopia’s LT-LEDS, GEM is an integrated assessment model that goes beyond a linear representation of emission changes and incorporates socioeconomic and environmental trends based on system dynamics models to enable simulation of the whole Ethiopian economy and its interactions in terms of emissions. Due to the modular nature of GEM, it can be adjusted to changes in policy and to external shocks, such as the Covid-19 crisis, which strongly influence sectoral growth rates in Ethiopia. The results of the individual sectoral models are input in GEM, in which the sectoral BAU trajectories are replicated and calibrated. In this way, a holistic cross-sectoral macroeconomic assessment can be carried out for the BAU scenario established in the sectoral models. (Source: “Ethiopia Updated NDC,” UNFCCC; “Ethiopia’s Long-Term Low Emission And Climate Resilient Development Strategy (2020-2050)”, UNFCCCC).

Further Resources

The following guidance and tools can provide further support.

Just Transition Planning Toolbox (Climate Investment Fund, No date)
This toolbox provides a practical guide to transition planning, including examples and resources to help stakeholders implement. Includes modules on mobilizing stakeholders, developing objectives and a vision, analyzing impacts and opportunities, devising strategies, and resources and partnerships.

The Green Jobs Assessment Model (GJAM) (ILO, No date)
This document outlines the use of the ILO’s GJAM, which provides a framework for assessing the green job creation potential of climate policies. It offers a methodology that could be adapted to quantify some of the economic benefits of NDCs.

Green Jobs Assessment Reports (ILO, Variable Dates)
The ILO provides example reports of assessments undertaken to analyze the employment impact of green policies, which help policymakers to make informed decisions based on state-of-the-art empirical methods and evidence-based research. Reports vary in scope, context, and specific objectives, depending on country needs and capacities.

The Climate Equity Reference Calculator (SEI, No date)
The Climate Equity Reference Calculator and the Climate Equity Pledge Scorecard, developed by SEI, are general equity reference tools designed to allow users to specify their own preferred interpretation of national responsibility and capacity for climate action. This interpretation is then used to determine each country’s fair share of the global climate effort, on both the mitigation and adaptation sides.

The Climate Action Outcomes and Mitigation Policy Assessment (COMPASS) Toolbox
The Climate Action Outcomes and Mitigation Policy Assessment (COMPASS) toolbox is a selection of climate scenario modelling tools to support decision-makers, analysts, and civil society in assessing and understanding the impacts of climate action and policies.

Compendium of Tools for Labour Market Assessment (GIZ, 2020)
This document is intended to serve as a “compass” on labor market assessments and analysis. This guide seeks to support relevant stakeholders in the process of commissioning and conducting labor market assessments.

Toolbox on Skills for a Green Transformation (GIZ, 2023)
This toolbox provides tools and approaches on how to systematically address green skills at the policy level, as well as at the implementation level.

KCI Technical Paper: Facilitating development, enhancement, customization, and use of tools and methodologies for modelling and assessing the impacts of the implementation of response measures, including identifying and reviewing existing tools and approaches in data-poor environments, in consultation with technical experts, practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders (UNFCCC, 2022).
This technical paper and accompanying database provide detailed information on some of the quantitative and qualitative tools and methodologies available to be developed, enhanced, customized, and used for modelling and assessing the impacts of implementation of response measures. In doing so, the paper seeks to lower the informational barrier faced by potential users of such tools and methods.

Database For Tools For Assessment of Impacts of The Implementation of Mitigation Policies and Strategies (UNFCCC, 2021)
The database provides detailed information on some of the quantitative and qualitative tools and methodologies available to be developed, enhanced, customized, and used for modelling and assessing the impacts of implementation of response measures. This database accompanies the KCI technical paper on tools and methodologies.

LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report (LinkedIn, 2023)
LinkedIn uses insights from its Economic Graph, the digital representation of the economy it generates from more than 1 billion global members, 65 million+ companies, and millions of job postings to provide insights on how the climate transition is impacting jobs and skills. The Global Green Skills Report examines workforce readiness for the climate transition.

LinkedIn’s Green Gender Gap Report (LinkedIn, 2023)
This report examines differences between how men and women around the world engage in the green economy. It presents steps workers, industry, and government can take to maximize the number of workers prepared to contribute to climate action and increase the likelihood that the benefits of the transition, including economic, are more widely shared across the entire population. 

Just Transition Policy Brief: Green Works to Support a Just Transition (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and green works, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Skills Development for a Just Transition (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and skills development, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation. It includes four key recommendations for Just Transition, linked to governments, employers’ organizations, trade unions, and education and training institutions.

Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions (IEA, 2023)
The special report examines the urgent upgrades required not only to physical infrastructure but also to the way grids are planned and managed – quantifying the costs of delayed action. And it provides key recommendations for policy makers, highlighting what is necessary in areas such as investment, regulation and planning.

Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 degree Goal in Reach (IEA, 2023)
This 2023 update to the 2021 Net Zero Roadmap surveys the complex and dynamic landscape of 2023 and sets out an updated pathway to net zero by 2050, taking account of the key developments that have occurred since 2021.

Renewables-based electric cooking: Climate commitments and finance (IRENA, 2023)
This report assesses countries’ current access to renewables-based electric cooking in the context of their climate commitments.  The report also highlights the importance of finance in supporting the adoption of electric cooking, and provides action plans to scale up electric cooking solutions for different country groups based on their current status.

How This Links to Other Routes

Identifying and quantifying impacts is relevant across the Routes, but some important linkages include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Building and presenting a transparent evidence base regarding the socioeconomic impacts of climate actions, and needs and enablers for a Just Transition, supports Just Transition efforts.

Route: Unlocks Finance

Prioritizing investments where they will have the most significant impact on communities and businesses and supporting understanding of investments needed for skills development for climate action and economic inclusion.

Route: Aligned to Paris Agreement Global Goal on Adaptation

Understanding who will be most affected by climate change enables targeted adaptation strategies to directly benefit those populations.

Route: Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

Understanding who will be most affected by climate change enables targeted mitigation strategies to directly benefit and prevent negative impacts on, those populations.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Inclusion of non-Party stakeholder and mainstreaming of NDCs and development plans supports integrated approaches, including upskilling workers and consideration of impacts and benefits.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Considering capacity needs for a Just Transition, such as green skills, can help identify points of intersection between climate objectives and wider programs.

Additional Opportunities

The following Opportunities are a non-exhaustive set of options for enhancing NDC Just Transition processes.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.