Framing transformative change

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Moriarty, Róisín
Stefaniec, Agnieszka
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Key messages: Transformative change is a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms and goals, and valuing the climate, the environment, equity and wellbeing within decision making (IPBES, 2018; IPCC, 2018). If Ireland is to achieve its goals under the national climate objective, the Paris Agreement and the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, transformations will be necessary in the energy, food and land systems, urban systems (including planning, transport and buildings), livelihoods, lifestyles, development pathway, systems of governance and in participation. A clear long-term vision and plan for the transformation of each system will accelerate short-term action and enhance synergies while minimising and managing trade-offs and realising the benefits of transformative change.The decisions and actions taken this decade will reverberate for generations. Much of the groundwork for action has been lain and most technologies and solutions are already available. However, climate action is not occurring quickly enough: opportunities and benefits are being missed and the possibility of shaping a better future for all is being put at risk by not taking a holistic and systemic approach to change. Action needs to be scaled up and accelerated. An incremental approach will not deliver what is required. If Ireland is to address the scale, speed and depth of the change required to close the gap between ambition and action, an approach that focuses on rapid and systemic transformations is necessary. Equity is an important societal goal and an essential element of achieving transformative change both in terms of mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Including considerations of equity at the core of decision making is key to enabling transformative change that enhances living standards, while halving associated energy demand, reducing vulnerability and proactively preparing individuals, households, communities and systems for climate shocks. Climate change and biodiversity loss share many underlying drivers. These underlying drivers need to be addressed if Ireland is to achieve its national and international commitments. Just as the drivers of these crises are linked so too are the solutions. A long-term integrated strategic plan is necessary to drive action in the immediate and short terms, but also to deliver a strong signal on the direction of travel towards a climate-neutral, climate-resilient, biodiverse and sustainable future. Such a plan can leverage greater benefits and opportunities, now and in the future.
Ireland , National climate objective , Paris Agreement , Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework , Transformative change
Moriarty, R. and Stefaniec, A. (2023) 'Framing transformative change' in Moriarty, R., O’Mahony, T., Stefaniec, A. and Boucher, J. L. (2023) Ireland's Climate Change Assessment Volume 4: Realising the benefits of transition and transformation. Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland: Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 30-48. Available at: (Accessed: 14 March 2024)
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