IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

11.8 Synergies and trade-offs with other policy areas

Anthropogenic GHG emissions are intricately linked to the structure of consumption patterns and levels of activity, which themselves are driven by a wide range of non-climate-related policy interests. These include policies on air quality, public health, energy security, poverty reduction, trade, FDI/investment regimes, industrial development, agriculture, population, urban and rural development, taxation and fiscal policies. There are therefore common drivers behind policies addressing economic development and poverty alleviation, employment, energy security, and local environmental protection on the one hand, and GHG mitigation on the other. Put another way, there are multiple drivers for actions that reduce emissions, and they produce multiple benefits.

Potential synergies and trade-offs between measures directed at non-climate objectives and GHG mitigation have been addressed by an increasing number of studies. The literature points out that, in most cases, climate mitigation is not the goal, but rather an outgrowth of efforts driven by economic, security, or local environmental concerns. The most promising policy approaches, then, will be those that capitalize on natural synergies between climate protection and development priorities to advance both simultaneously. Policies directed towards other environmental problems, such as air pollution, can often be adapted at low or no cost to reduce greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously. Such integration/policy coherence is especially relevant for developing countries, where economic and social development – not climate change mitigation – are the top priorities (Chandler et al., 2002). Since the TAR, a wealth of new literature has addressed potential synergies and trade-offs between GHG mitigation and air pollution control, employment and energy security concerns.