The Right to Resilience – Reinventing Prosperity 2023

The Right to Resilience

The 2023 Reinventing Prosperity Report emphasizes evidence and actions that can work to honor the right to a livable future.

People and communities, and the nature we all depend on to sustain us, have a right to remain free from harm, to see vulnerability to climate shocks reduced, to be set up to thrive. The right to resilience is the right to a livable future. We all benefit when that right is recognized and upheld, and when national and global policy invest in and secure better outcomes.

Topline Takeaways

  • The Right to Resilience is an operational imperative.
  • Not honoring that right is already bringing unthinkable, unaffordable costs.
  • Non-market international cooperation as described by the Paris Agreement is leverage for transforming finance, industry, and trade—to make a livable (1.5ºC) world possible.
  • Cooperative innovations to catalyze finance and transformation—like the Good Food Finance Facility—can move us toward that livable future.

Principles for Reinventing Prosperity

In 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the Citizens’ Climate International leadership team held weekly calls for interested stakeholder leaders from our network around the world. Those calls revealed that people in diverse local and country contexts were facing economic disruption, health and security vulnerabilities, and a worrying erosion of everyday livability and resilience.

We began to consult our network on core requirements for restarting after COVID in a way that would make such threats less likely. The Principles for Reinventing Prosperity were the result:

  • We are all future-builders.
  • Health is a fabric of wellbeing and value.
  • Resilience is a baseline imperative.
  • Leave no one behind.
  • Design to transcend crisis.
  • Maximize integrative value creation.

The first three are principles of fact; the last three are principles of action. Together, the goal is to define the space for reconfiguring local, national, and global economic drivers, to make a future of successful climate-resilient development possible.

From the fiscal policy and human development standpoint, the core aim can be stated as prioritizing levers of action that will reduce macrocritical risk. That means reducing the likelihood that economy-shaping forces will generate pervasive unmanageable cost and risk to wellbeing and shared prosperity.

In this third annual update to the Principles for Reinventing Prosperity—with climate impacts worsening, and with nature-loss and pollution accelerating climate breakdown and threatening the viability of modern economies, industrial systems, and our food supply, and in light of the global recognition of a right to a clean, healthy environment—we find it necessary to focus on the Right to Resilience as a foundational driver of future success.

The Right to Resilience

Our 2023 Reinventing Prosperity Report gives extra emphasis to the third principle: “Resilience is a baseline imperative.” If we manifest this principle consistently in the political, economic, and technological response to climate breakdown, policy, planning, and incentives should not treat resilience as an unreachable ideal, but as a legitimizing duty. Below, we take stock of the lingering “polycrisis” and emphasize the right to resilience, which is another way of saying the right to a livable future.

The right to resilience includes the right to:

  • experience the benefits of decision-making based on the best available science;
  • enjoy a clean and healthy environment;
  • receive early warning of climate-related risks and disasters;
  • access climate-resilient, sustainable food systems that produce healthy, nutritious food, affordably;
  • be protected from physical threats—from geophysical shock events and their aftermath and from conditions of violence and destabilization that can follow climate shocks or prolonged disruption and destabilization;
  • participate in decision-making at the local, national, and international levels, to ensure climate policy and related financial flows are rooted in local experience and designed to succeed;
  • see climate-related loss and damage addressed in a coordinated, responsible, and timely way—never leaving vulnerable people to carry the burden alone.

To work seriously and expeditiously toward a livable future, we need to recognize the degree to which livability is severely under threat. We note the alarming news, across the board in 2023, about the worsening state of climate breakdown, affecting every region around the world.

  • The IPCC 6th Assessment Report finds the window for successful climate-resilient development is rapidly closing.
  • The first Global Stocktake has revealed the world is far off track from the goal of 1.5ºC as the maximum amount of global heating.
  • In fact, consensus science now shows we will likely breach 1.5ºC as a multi-year global average before 2040.
  • The report of the Stern-Songwe Commission on climate finance finds international finance needs to evolve operationally, in historic ways, to even begin to align with the scale and nature of the climate challenge.
  • International adaptation finance to developing countries reached a total of US$21 billion in 2021. There is evidence that adaptation finance figures are over reported (some estimates of real adaptation finance are as low as US$12 billion per year). Adaptation costs are estimated to reach US$160-340 billion by 2030 and US$315-565 billion by 2050. Considering those projections are conservative, and we are still learning to value compounding impacts, overall adaptation finance may need to expand by 50 to 100-fold in coming decades.
  • New research shows we are now breaching 6 of 9 planetary boundaries—meaning we are eroding the Earth’s ability to sustain life as we know it.

⠀The 2023 State of the Climate Report finds:

  • 20 of 35 Earth system vital signs “are now showing record extremes”, which means human activity is putting “unprecedented pressure on the Earth system.”
  • The report also warns that “The effects of global warming are progressively more severe, and possibilities such as a worldwide societal breakdown are feasible and dangerously underexplored.”

The Global Tipping Points report warns that Earth system tipping points—the point beyond which catastrophic loss of important stabilizing features of the climate and biosphere becomes unrecoverable—pose the greatest threat to humanity’s future aspirations. The report does not mince words, warning at the top that “Their triggering will severely damage our planet’s life-support systems and threaten the stability of our societies.”

Specifically, the report finds we are on the verge of experiencing 5 major tipping points that will alter the Earth system:

  • Loss of the Greenland ice sheet;
  • Loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet;
  • Loss of warm-water coral reefs;
  • Collapse of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre circulation;
  • And permanent change to permafrost regions.

We observed this year alarming changes in atmospheric patterns, with one example being the convergence of 5 simultaneous enduring heat domes, disrupting known climate patterns and spanning the globe from Texas to the Mediterranean, to the Pacific. Extreme dislocation of the Polar Vortex is another example of structural change in climate patterns. The importance of tipping points, however, is that they bring with them irreversible change. We cannot restore ice sheets, or force the ocean to re-establish a major climate-shaping circulating current.

Political will is a geophysical force

Political Will is a Geophysical Force

The uncomfortable truth about the Anthropocene geological epoch—when we now have certainty that the most widespread signal left in atmospheric chemistry, ecosystems and the geological record will be the work of human industry—is that even if we succeed in stabilizing our relationship with the Earth system, we will not be able to relinquish our absolute responsibility of stewardship.

We are now stewards of the biosphere.

In its 6th Assessment Report, the IPCC finds that the most overwhelming factor in the slow pace of climate crisis response is not technological or scientific. Nor is it a lack of financial resources. It is a lack of political will to make the changes necessary to dedicate the resources we have to achieving a sustainable future for humankind.

While numbers don’t tell the whole story—and the value of nature and human health and wellbeing cannot be measured entirely in dollars, euros, rupees or dirhams—we do have evidence that political inaction is already generating daunting, unaffordable costs. The 2023 State of Food and Agriculture report found that status quo food systems are generating at least $10 trillion in hidden costs, every year. The Food System Economics Commission has published a ticker, tracking the steadily rising cost of unsustainable food systems, which rise by nearly $1 million every 2 seconds, and at the time of publication were approaching $118 trillion—just since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.

In 2022, Deloitte published a landmark report on the costs of inaction on climate change. The report found that unchecked climate disruption and its effects would generate traceable direct, indirect, and opportunity costs of $178 trillion by 2070. This is consistent with the findings of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2020) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (2021), which found that unchecked climate change could collapse the financial system and remove its support from the wider economy, even destabilizing the U.S. government itself.

Inaction is costing us time, money, and lives. And, it is undermining the prospects for avoiding one or more calamitous regional wars, or a generalized breakdown in human security.

The good news is that Deloitte’s projections show that acting rapidly to decarbonize energy systems can avoid those costs and generate an additional $43 trillion in economic opportunity over the same timeframe. Considering the costs of inaction, the evidence that climate restoration will be more difficult if we breach 1.5ºC, and the record heat seen around the world in 2023, it is clearly in the interests of all nations to:

  • Decarbonize as quickly as possible, while fostering inclusive, climate-resilient, and sustainable human development;
  • Rapidly scale up investments in practices that protect and restore nature, and build ecological resilience;
  • Rapidly scale up investments in coordinated adaptation and resilience measures that support everyday human security and prosperity;
  • Treat resilience as a universal right, and a core measure of legitimacy, and incentivize all industries and trading partners to do the same.

Business as usual is unaffordable, and the political choice to treat business as usual as the responsible course is indefensible. Political will could be the engine of unprecedented progress across all areas of human security and wellbeing, but it is now committing people, communities, nations, and nature, to devastating costs and systemic breakdown.

Livable or unlivable: the choice we are facing

Livable or unlivable: the choice we are facing

A startling finding of the State of the Climate Report suggests a deeply altered future scenario for human civilization:

“By the end of this century, an estimated 3 to 6 billion individuals — approximately one-third to one-half of the global population — might find themselves confined beyond the livable region, encountering severe heat, limited food availability, and elevated mortality rates because of the effects of climate change (Lenton et al. 2023).”

Within the lifetime of children alive today, there may be a population equal to three quarters (6 billion) of all people now on Earth (8 billion) facing conditions that are unlivable. Consider two glaring realities about that situation:

  • In such a world, all of our assumptions about health, security, life expectancy, economic development, and the durability of institutions, will be long forgotten.
  • If you and your family were “confined beyond the livable region”, would you not be compelled to migrate, to at least search for conditions that are livable?

Add to this the fact that we find ourselves now in a world in which protections of refugees’ rights are seldom extended to people forced to leave their homes due to climate change. Asylum is granted now, by those countries that honor international humanitarian law, generally for reasons of political persecution or threats of violence. Arrangements to support people fleeing a major natural disaster are usually more temporary, with more tenuous protection of everyday human rights.

It is easy to imagine, from our present perspective, that mass exodus from regions experiencing grave climate breakdown, could lead to massive refugee camps. Without some more substantive, specific, and durable legal framework for humanitarian response, the alternatives would likely be chaotic, unmanaged economy-wide disruptions in which huge numbers of people experience shocking vulnerability and little legal protection. Such a breakdown in legal efficacy of institutions would affect everyone; no one’s basic humanity can be upheld and honored by the law if so many are abandoned by it.

The community of nations must come together around an agreement to honor the full legal personhood and transcendent human rights of people involuntarily displaced by climate change.

The right to resilience—like human rights in general—is a golden thread that can reset the baseline for all our climate ambitions:

  • If no one should be left without real protection against non-linear, compounding climate damage, then we can quickly shift to envisioning all investment and industry as either working toward or against that goal.
  • Resilience Value—as a multidimensional, integrated metric for tracking the value creation performance of capital and business activities—can be used to reveal to all decision-makers the cost or benefit of specific choices.
  • Investors in energy systems, food systems, transport, infrastructure, urbanization, and other industrial activities, can be directly incentivized to expand Resilience Value and profit by doing so.
  • Data systems that capture the diverse range of financial and non-financial performance metrics can emerge to provide critical decision insights to financial managers and to end users of all kinds, at all scales.
  • Early warning systems can become a core priority for public agencies at all scales, and for major financial and insurance institutions, while fitting into more evidence-based climate-smart trade relations.
  • The economic sovereignty of people, communities, enterprises, and national economies, can be enhanced by all of the above, and in line with accelerated efforts to reach net-zero and better.

We need to be clear that in a world where most people experience unlivable conditions, there will be unprecedented migration, unprecedented disruption of everyday institutions, unprecedented levels of competing interest confrontations between people not equipped to solve everything for everyone; these are the ingredients of conflict and global destabilization. Climate risk is not only about a marginal loss of steadily increasing value, as many still imagine it to be; climate risk is the risk of persistent, pervasive destabilization, and all the harm and cost that would follow.

Resilience is another way of saying the possibility of enjoying security and prosperity.

The catastrophe of ice sheet loss

The catastrophe of ice sheet loss is about harm to people, cities & nations

On top of the many landmark science reports published during this year of record heat and climate system anomalies, we want to highlight a new report projecting the loss of most ice sheets and glaciers, if global heating reaches 2°C, which would result in catastrophic sea level rise submerging most coastal cities, towns, ecosystems, and croplands.

The New Scientist reports:

The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), a group of scientists who study ice-covered parts of the world, warns that a rise of 2°C would liquidate most tropical and mid-latitude glaciers and set off long-term melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, leading to 12 to 20 metres of sea level rise.

More than 670 scientists have signed a Cryosphere Call to Action warning the COP28 negotiators that 2ºC of global heating is too high, and would likely bring catastrophic consequences for societies around the world. The Call to Action greatly clarifies some key areas of dispute among negotiators:

At COP28, we call on global leaders to enshrine this reality in the Cover Decision: because of the Cryosphere response, even 2°C is too high. The Paris Agreement’s “well below 2°C” can mean just one thing: 1.5°C alone. We therefore need a Stocktake with clear guidelines to make 1.5°C a reality; a path to phase out fossil fuels; and financial mechanisms to support climate action, as well as the adaptation, and loss and damage – most of it ultimately tied to irreversible Cryosphere loss – now inevitable even below 1.5°C; but far worse above that.

Otherwise, world leaders are de facto deciding to burden humanity for centuries to millennia by displacing hundreds of millions of people from flooding coastal settlements; depriving societies of life-giving freshwater resources, disrupting delicately-balanced polar ocean and mountain ecosystems; and forcing future generations to offset long-term permafrost emissions.

We highlight this call from cryospheric scientists, because they are responding to already observable planetary change. The Earth is becoming a visibly different planet, with bright white polar ice disappearing, and the now very real possibility of coastlines on every continent being cut back by rising seas. Such rapid, radical change, observable from space, would alarm planetary scientists even if it happened on a planet without known life. For it to happen to the only planet we know to harbor life is far more alarming, and has direct and dire implications for the right to resilience.

But the vanishing crysophere is not only a story of coastlines and low-lying population centers. It is also a story of ice melt and methane release across the land. Permafrost melt is not what the average lay person tends to imagine—a transition from frozen tundra to grassy savannah.

Permafrost melt means formerly frozen tundra becomes a muddy swamp for much of the year, alternating between frozen ground, muddy morass, and possibly dry ground, and back again. That makes it much harder to build infrastructure, and can create resilience shocks and costs on a scale far beyond anything we have known historically. Russia’s territory, for instance, is 60% permafrost. Building infrastructure to cover and control the vast territory of the world’s largest country by area will be prohibitively expensive. It is not clear how much of that territory would remain governable or habitable in a pervasive permafrost-loss scenario.

Meanwhile, ices also trap methane. Permafrost especially, by freezing living soils and water bodies, prevent methane from escaping into the atmosphere. By containing the super-heating gas, permafrost, glaciers, and other ice formations on land and on the seabed, dramatically slow global heating. If that gas is released, which has 86 times the global heating effect of carbon dioxide in the near term, global heating will accelerate beyond our ability to adapt, invest, and build resilience.

This is why it is of critical importance that national climate action strategies (NDCs, under the Paris Agreement) cover the whole economy and all global heating gasses. Nations need cryosphere strategies, even those that have relatively little ice but which can invest to reduce emissions and reduce the risk of catastrophic ice loss.

Data systems will be a critical part of this new kind of climate planning, policy, and investment. By tracking Earth system insights, planetary health vital signs, and links between cryosphere resilience and sustainable economic opportunity, integrated data systems can provide clear insights about the cryosphere risk and return value of investments, policy choices, incentives, and even consumer purchasing.

Plastic pollution degrades nature, climate, and health

Plastic pollution degrades nature and climate stability and human health and resilience

This year’s record heat and observed anomalies in planetary systems require nations to look more closely at integrated and holistic, economy-wide approaches to addressing nature-loss, climate disruption, and resilience failure.

The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health finds:

Plastics and plastic-associated chemicals are responsible for widespread pollution. They contaminate aquatic (marine and freshwater), terrestrial, and atmospheric environments globally. The ocean is the ultimate destination for much plastic, and plastics are found throughout the ocean, including coastal regions, the sea surface, the deep sea, and polar sea ice. Many plastics appear to resist breakdown in the ocean and could persist in the global environment for decades. Macro- and micro-plastic particles have been identified in hundreds of marine species in all major taxa, including species consumed by humans.”

The degrading effect pervasive plastic pollution has on individual and collective health across species and ecosystems, constitutes a further destabilizing impact on the climate system. By thinning natural carbon sinks, the overall global carbon cycle is disrupted, undermining climate stability and accelerating destabilizing impacts.

Investments that remove plastic pollution from everyday commercial activity reduce this threat to nature and ecosystems, and to natural carbon sinks, while removing a major pervasive threat to human health. There are measurable fiscal benefits to removing these risks and costs, which should be accounted for and advanced through national and international policy–across climate, energy, finance, industrial policy, and trade relations.

Invest in nature, cryosphere, health & resilience

Invest in nature, the cryosphere, health & resilience

The most costly myth linked to the climate challenge is the false narrative that climate action is all cost and no benefit. This is the thinking of polluting interests who want to believe that the climate crisis is a niche concern or something manageable enough that others will deal with it and they can be left to business as usual, without consequence. All of the consensus science, along with our lived experience of worsening climate-related harm and cost, makes clear that clinging to business as usual will be unaffordably costly.

The biggest opportunity for profitable risk reduction and enduring financial return is linked to outcomes financial markets have not historically valued. This historic opportunity is only made more stark by the slow-walking of powerful interests. Delays in transformation are preventing incumbent dominant market players from controlling the future direction of the low-carbon economy. Those delays have also led to costly early climate impacts, which show signs of worsening into pervasive climate breakdown.

The difference between financial engagement with a climate-resilient world and one suffering pervasive climate breakdown is a difference between a practice of making smart investments in clearly signaled future needs and priorities versus making huge, costly bets on a marketplace that can deliver at best narrow returns amid ever-proliferating cost and risk. We know that persistent climate impacts in a given region (like California’s catastrophic county-sized firestorms) leads to insurance companies refusing to issue policies; we also know that public budgets are already strained by disaster relief and infrastructure upkeep costs. Nature breakdown threatens to undermine food systems, water supplies, human health, and the everyday economy.

To properly address, curtail, and survive ongoing climate disruption, we need everyday activities to deliver added value by supporting healthy and resilient ecosystems, watersheds, and ocean ecology and biodiversity, as well as more stable cryospheric conditions. We need to not only protect nature and reduce emissions; we need to stop heating the planet to the extent that glaciers and ice sheets do not disappear. The proliferating cost of their disappearance will be unmanageable.

What these planetary security investments look like may be very different in different contexts, but we can say with certainty at least the following:

  • To invest in a healthy and resilient cryosphere, invest in the fastest possible path to zero global heating emissions.
  • To invest in healthy and resilient ocean ecology and biodiversity, invest in upstream practices on land, across all sectors, that do not pollute air and water. Eliminate toxic pollution from standard business practices, and shift to agricultural and land use practices that are regenerative and require little to no chemical additives, which run off into waterways.
  • Strengthen pollution standards, practices, and incentives in industries that have historically depended on dumping or release of effluents into air and water—as is the case with nuclear power plants, chemical plants, oil and gas refineries, most mining operations, and other heavy industrial activities—so they can operate under a zero pollution paradigm.
  • The Invest at the Source report outlines action that can be taken upstream to reduce degradation and build health and resilience downstream, to create conditions for a summit to seabed approach to sustainable investment and innovation.
  • Food systems will be critical levers for accelerated progress on all fronts: Industrial agriculture is driving nature loss and accelerating climate change, by depending on land-clearing, ecosystem destruction, depletion of fresh water supplies, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Investing in practices that move food systems to the right side of nature, climate, health, and resilience, can reduce risk, harm, and cost, improve human health and everyday wellbeing and productivity, diversify rural economies, and constructively address some of the drivers of nature-loss profiteering.

Detailed, relevant, interacting, and actionable data flows should follow from these insights. Those integrated data systems can then be used to provide critical decision insights to people at all scales of influence and living in all variety of conditions. Climate data is no longer just for climate scientists and advocates; it is critical information people need to judge their situation against the right to resilience, and then to act in an informed way.

Early warning and science-based decision-making

Early warning and science-based decision-making

Acting on the best available science means using evidence as a tool for decision-making, even when we might rather turn away from inconvenient facts about our industrial systems. So, we call on negotiators, ministers, and world leaders, to hold in mind throughout COP28 engagement, national planning, and ongoing international relations, the following evidentiary resources, among others:

We also recommend close engagement on the development of integrated data systems to support Resilience Value and other multidimensional metrics, action to reduce risk related to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), the Task force on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD), and fiscal stability concerns as laid out by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and analysis from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A special event hosted by the President of the U.N. General Assembly in April 2023 noted that $1 invested in data can generate $32 of investment return over time. Since sustainable development requires better data to link investments to outcomes, and that data can generate far better returns than business as usual, it seems appropriate to recommend integrated data for better decision-making as a national priority for every country, as well as for the international community and private enterprise.

We know early warning systems save lives. Countries that track storm systems in great detail, with high resolution, regular reporting and active deployment of science insights on the ground, suffer far fewer deaths than countries that have none of these standard capabilities. Early warning systems are more than just raw science data; end users in government, at the community level and individuals and households, need to be able to access and respond intelligently to action-oriented warnings linked to already translated data.

SMEs make the right to resilience investable

Small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are critical for operationalizing the right to resilience

The right to resilience is not just an abstract principle. As we have laid out above, it is a question of the operational reality in which people live, including the systems through which institutions respond to crisis and reduce future risks. National governments have a critical role to play in organizing the landscape of incentives, investments, and practices, but they cannot fully operationalize the right to resilience without small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that bring operational capability to communities and regions.

When we refer to enterprises here, we consciously make room for nonprofit enterprises in addition to commercial ventures. State-backed institutions, institutions of learning and knowledge-dissemination, and social benefit corporations, all fit into this broad category as well. The key is that SMEs have a more local footprint and optimize their operations to more local market needs and aspirations. They are, then, a helpful lever for right-scaling and ground-truthing global Earth science insights.

SMEs can also make a going concern out of the work of generating actionable insights for end users.

  • Imagine small-scale farmers being able to use climate science information to decide the optimal planting and harvesting strategies, to integrate regenerative and agroecological practices, so they can optimize and expand production, while delivering healthier food.
  • Imagine local SMEs being the everyday service providers, helping to translate the best available science into last-mile insights that directly apply to decisions that will shape the outcome of a harvest or the economic opportunity of an entire community.
  • Imagine local SMEs that provide resilience assessments and guidance for local authorities, so they can better allocate resources to infrastructure planning and crisis response, so the ever more frequent shock events are not a permanent drain on public finances.

We know that resilience knowledge is necessary for building up the capability to respond to and transcend crisis. The Whole-Earth Active-Value Economy (WEAVE) global knowledge graph, mapped reported connections between institutions, including nations, and a wide array of nature, climate, and resilience measures.

The dense green ball of network connections on the left is the whole WEAVE graph. The eight panels on the right are individual businesses, jurisdictions, or institutions. The green starburst, for instance, is the United States. As a big country with a lot of science-producing institutions, its WEAVE graph is vast.

The top-left of the 8 panels is an almost invisible graph with just 4 points. It represents a company that was offered unprecedented assistance to help people through the pandemic, but had such low resilience knowledge and capability, it destroyed food rather than change delivery addresses, make a windfall, and feed millions of people facing food scarcity.

This is anecdotal, but it suggests that getting familiar with resilience insights is a basic ingredient of legitimate leadership, going forward.

No institution should wait until it has perfect knowledge to act toward a climate-resilient future, but all institutions should be looking to learn as much as possible about the multifaceted non-linear compounding interactions that will ultimately determine how ready they are for the world we are moving into. That includes a recognition that destructive practices and polluting industries are so costly to nature and humanity, they will be phased out unless they can get clean.

SMEs anchor, diversify, and sustain local and regional economies. They can create rooted, relevant, durable business models that fit into everyday life and translate global-scale information and resource-flows into improved local conditions. The fact that they are positioned to play such an important role in development of climate-resilient value chains—and in expanding the reach of climate, Earth system, and financial data—means the right to resilience is highly investable, in ways that are linked to local conditions and can be shaped by policy, incentives, finance and trade.

Areas of Focus at COP28

Areas of Focus in the COP28 round of UNFCCC negotiations

Citizens’ Climate International has outlined areas of focus for COP28 that are designed to take us from these alarming evidentiary findings to a diverse range of specific actions that can be taken by communities, by industry, by national governments, and by the community of nations, to honor the Right to Resilience and secure a future of shared, sustainable human and planetary wellbeing.

The Right to Resilience should serve as a new global framing to raise ambition and accelerate mobilization. All people have a transcendent right to expect, demand, and uphold the principle that resilience is a baseline imperative. This translates into a need for:

  1. Active protection of other climate rights;
  2. A strong, clear, and actionable zero-harm outcome on the Global Goal on Adaptation;
  3. An invitation to active civic participation in climate-related decision-making (more on this below);
  4. Accelerated mobilization to decarbonize industrial systems and reduce future climate risk, harm, and cost;
  5. Expanded finance for adaptation and resilience measures, across whole economies;
  6. Urgent mobilization of funds for overcoming loss and damage, including direct support to communities in need;
  7. Sharing of science, technology, and sustained support for robust, actionable early warning systems;
  8. An integrated and holistic approach to climate-resilient development, across the SDGs.

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is essential, to support every stakeholder, community, country, and region, having the best chance of succeeding against this unprecedented—and worsening—global challenge. For us, this is often about the participation of stakeholders in decision-making. But all six elements of ACEeducation, public awareness, training, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation—are integral to ensuring we have vibrant, informed civic spaces primed for the hard work of making climate-resilient development and prosperity possible. ACE countries, those that lead in active, participatory climate mobilization, will be the leaders that shape the climate-smart future.

Capital to Communities is shorthand for a strategy we outlined in the 2022 Reinventing Prosperity Report, to allow stakeholders and communities to participate in the design, deployment, and monitoring of climate-related financial flows and economic development strategies. The Capital to Communities approach matters, because we don’t have time for costly large-scale errors based on mistaken assumptions about conditions on the ground; we also need to know that deployment of resources is being tracked—not only by interested parties and experts, but by people who live with the consequences of fast-moving climate investments.

Food systems are the major global industry most intimately connected to everyday human health and wellbeing. Our current model is not working: we are seeing record numbers of people facing food insecurity, even as climate stresses make it harder for key regions to reliably produce enough food, and natural systems vital for food production aredeteriorating and at risk of collapse.

  • There is no path to climate resilient security and prosperity without a rapid transition to food systems that are climate-smart, sustainable, and able to produce affordable nutritious food for all.
  • At COP28, CCI is supporting a major side event featuring the launch of a new financial mechanism for food systems transformation.
  • We are also linking our Volunteer Empowerment program to the food systems work, through a Food, Finance, and Democracy project—aimed at providing stakeholders with input into policies that shape agriculture, local economies, delivery of climate finance, and community-level experience of food systems.
  • We recognize and support the Non-State Actors Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate, and recommend commercial, financial, and nonprofit entities sign on to support it, and join the work of reshaping food systems.

Climate-resilient trade is a critical lever for mainstreaming of climate action across the everyday economy. A coordinated effort to phase out new fossil fuel development and to reach net zero as soon as possible will require climate-aligned trade agreements; the COP28 should emphasize the need for aggressive decarbonization and support coordinated cooperative action to decarbonize trade and finance flows, while ensuring the benefits of trade to all involved. And: aligning trade relations with a climate-resilient future is a necessary part of the process of alining all financial flows with Paris Agreement goals, as called for in Article 2. For further detail, read our blue note on how trade can deliver a climate smart future.

Non-market multilateral cooperation under Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement is a way to activate real-world change in line with all of the above. “Non-market” effectively means any form of international cooperation that is not emissions trading.

  • Non-market approaches could include financial regulations, financial delivery, technology and data sharing, border adjustments, agricultural cooperation, and trade.
  • Nations can leverage climate income policies and other non-market modes of pollution pricing to shift incentives at the national and multilateral levels.
  • Non-market approaches can provide a mechanism for the voluntary race-to-the-top so long talked about and now so urgently needed, while mainstreaming economic development strategies oriented toward reducing vulnerability and creating conditions for climate-resilient security and prosperity. (Note the 2014 PARIS Principles that served as input to the development of Article 6.8.)
  • We outline some examples here.

A breakthrough in climate geopolitics is possible

The opening days of the COP28 round of United Nations Climate Change negotiations in Dubai have brought forward some important signs of progress. Many worry that these early signs might just be window dressing, and that powerful polluting interests could undermine ambition and remove key commitments to rapid decarbonization and protection of rights.

These are valid concerns, and the process is fluid. It is a negotiation, after all, but a livable future will require the right to resilience be honored and investments and incentives favor planetary health and security. So, we want to close this report by highlighting some important draft language—much of it echoing past agreements or agreed outcomes in other processes—that could signal the community of nations is ready to commit, finally, to a climate-resilient future.

The draft text released on day 2 of the COP28 by the SBI and SBSTA co-chairs on matters relating to the Global Stocktake, includes the following key provisions, among others:

  1. “Underlining the critical role of multilateralism based on United Nations values and principles… and the importance of international cooperation for addressing global issues…”
  2. “climate change is a common concern of humankind…”
  3. “Parties should… respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, the right to health, the rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity…”
  4. “Noting the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including in forests, the ocean and the cryosphere, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and also noting the importance of ‘climate justice’, when taking action to address climate change…”
  5. “Underlining the urgent need to address, in a comprehensive and synergetic manner, the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss in the broader context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals…”
  6. “the vital importance of protecting, conserving, restoring and sustainably using nature and ecosystems for effective and sustainable climate action…”
  7. “sustainable and just solutions to the climate crisis must be founded on meaningful and effective social dialogue and participation of all stakeholders…”
  8. “the importance of accountability and credibility of climate action…”
  9. “Recognizes that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5°C compared with 2°C and resolves to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C…”
  10. “phase…out fossil fuels… no new coal…”

If the COP28 adopts a global consensus agreement including, honoring, and acting on these provisions in a coordinated, cooperative, and accelerated way, it will be setting the world on course to honor the right to resilience and to build a future that is livable, secure, and prosperous. If it falls short on including and activating any of these, the right to resilience will be in real peril, for people of every country and region.

Before the mid-year negotiations in 2022, Rachel Kyte called the geopolitical work of making successful climate-resilient development possible “the ultimate test of solidarity”. Realigning national plans, investments, and multilateral cooperative arrangements, with an activated right to resilience, is the key to securing a livable future.