Wedging the Gap

Published: 18/06/2012

Ecofys initiated an approach, called ‘Wedging the Gap’, consisting of 21 major initiatives that together would trigger greenhouse-gas emission reductions of around 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) by 2020. This supports and goes substantially beyond the emission reductions proposed by national governments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A paper on the Wedging the Gap approach has been published online in Nature Climate Change.

The basis of the Wedging-the-Gap approach is to combine 21 coherent major global initiatives that involve a variety of actors; for example, major cities, large companies and individual citizens (see the figure below). For each of the initiatives the following requirements hold:

  1. there is a concrete starting position from which a significant scale-up until the year 2020 is possible;
  2. there are significant benefits in addition to a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions;
  3. there is an organisation (or a combination of organizations) that can lead the global initiative;
  4. the initiative has the potential to reach an emission reduction on the order of 0.5 Gt CO2e or more by 2020.

The effects of the initiatives and other government actions will overlap, so the total effect will be smaller than the sum. Requirements (2) and (3) are critical, i.e. that actors in the initiative should be driven by self-interest or internal motivation, not by external pressure:  a green-growth approach to global action on climate change.

Wedging the Gap (full graph) (c) Ecofys

The figure above shows a schematic representation of how the emissions gap is bridged by a combination of action by

  • national governments under the UNFCCC (left)
  • and other initiatives in ‘wedges’ (right)

In addition to overlap between the effects of different wedges there is also overlap with existing government pledges.

Find the full article available for download at Nature Climate Change.
Please find further insights in our blog and here.