Co-benefits and adverse impacts

Analysis of the wider impacts of actions to reduce emissions

Actions to adapt to or mitigate climate change often have wider social, economic and environmental impacts. These impacts can be both positive and negative.  For example, tackling energy efficiency by improving insulation can have local benefits through developing job opportunities and supply chains, economic impacts from reduced fuel bills and health benefits through improved living standards.

Wider impacts analysis is increasingly important in policy development. It brings new information to support policy decisions within public and private organisations. In a more holistic approach to policy making, it allows the consideration of other possible impacts of policies beyond the initial intended effect. It also helps stakeholders to avoid seeing climate action as separate from other development priorities; the challenges of climate change are inextricably linked to other global and local economic, social and environmental challenges. The apparent dichotomy between climate action and prosperity is a false one.

Aether has experience in linking the wider impacts of climate actions to other national strategies (e.g. economic, social and environmental) and Sustainable Development Goals.  Aether has compiled a wider impacts database, including scoping studies on current and future research and location specific studies. 

Aether's approach

Through our experience built up across multiple wider impacts projects, we have created an efficient and effective approach to analysing co-benefits. We combine desk research with stakeholder engagement to produce useful and engaging outputs.   


Wider impacts database

Aether's wider impacts database is kept up-to-date with scientific literature sources of wider impacts of climate and air pollution policies. We have used it to produce wider impacts analysis for countries including Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana.

The database contains nearly 1500 sources of wider impacts information including academic papers, technical reports and online articles. This covers 80 different countries and regions including Europe, Africa, Asia and South America and contains evidence for co-benefits in a range of sectors including buildings, industry, energy, transport, forestry, agriculture, land use and waste.

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Aether's highlights

An interactive viewer linking climate actions to Sustainable Development Goals (in-house project) - Literature review focussed primarily on evidence from developing countries, covering agriculture, energy, LULUCF, transport, waste, knowledge and awareness raising, and other common climate actions. The results are presented in an online, interactive tool (see links).

Investigation into the wider impacts (positive and negative) of climate mitigation and adaptation actions in Jersey (Jersey Government, 2017) - Wider impacts in the context of economic, social, and wider environmental priorities identified by the public and Jersey government. Initial findings were presented to a range of public and private sector stakeholders at an in-country workshop to identify Jersey specific insights and possible barriers to achieving the expected impacts in Jersey. 

Analysis of the potential wider impacts of climate mitigation actions in the built environment and transport sectors in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2016) - The studies provided a comprehensive overview and synthesis of existing and planned research. The transport sector report covered mitigation actions such as active travel, improved public transport and lower carbon vehicles whilst the built environment sector report investigated actions such as reduced energy demand, sustainable buildings and low carbon energy supply. The outcomes were used to inform the Scottish Government’s third Report on Policies and Proposals. 

Scoping project on the co-benefits of climate change mitigation (DECC, 2016) – Aether with Alison Smith on a scoping study for DECC (now BEIS) to provide a comprehensive overview and synthesis of existing and planned research on co-benefits and possible adverse side-effects of climate mitigation actions, and to make recommendations for further research. The scoping paper was compiled through a detailed literature review, a call for evidence, a review of existing grant programmes, and a workshop with 20 academic experts. 

Case studies

Category: Cities and local authorities, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Lewisham Route to Neutral

Support to Lewisham Council to define the route to carbon neutral for the Borough

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Category: International organisations, Policies and measures

Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives

A report written for the European Environment Agency that used an extensive literature review to analyse and synthesis the environmental impacts of electric vehicles though life cycle and circular economy perspectives.

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Category: International organisations, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Support to the European Environment Agency

Aether has been providing support to the European Environment Agency through their European Topic Centres since 2014, focussing on air pollution and transport, industrial pollution and climate change mitigation.

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Category: National governments, emission inventories, policies and measures

Support to the States of Jersey on GHG emissions and climate action

Aether’s infographics and reports have encouraged engagement of the public in Jersey with climate change issues. We have supported the States of Jersey Department of the Environment for 3 years across a range of climate related topics.

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Category: National governments, Emission inventories

Irish Environmental Protection Agency

Aether supports the Irish Environmental Protection Agency with the preparation and submission of Ireland's National Emissions Inventory of Greenhouse Gases under the EU Monitoring Mechanism and Air Quality Pollutants under the National Emissions Ceiling Directive.

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Category: National governments, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Emission Inventory Support for Environment Agency of Iceland

Aether is supporting the Environment Agency of Iceland in the compilation of its greenhouse gas and air quality emissions inventories as well as projections and policies and measures. We are helping to ensure that Iceland’s inventory is robust and of high quality.

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Don't just take our word for it...

“We have been collaborating with Aether for several years, and our projects have greatly benefited from it. Aether staff are very knowledgeable, professional and flexible - and last but not least, very friendly and a pleasure to work with.”

Umhverfisstofnun, Environment Agency of Iceland

“Chris was excellent to work with and always very pro active in making suggestions, taking work forward and applying his considerable technical knowledge in effective ways.”

Robert Vaughan, Defra Air Quality Team

“Aether delivered training workshops and generated learning materials for our SSN members, providing technical content in a manageable and comprehendible format. We particularly benefitted from their extensive knowledge and ability to interpret the needs of our members into the training materials.”

Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

“Professional team and very collaborative communication. Effective result in terms of suggestions for improvement in the quality of the inventory and proposals on how to streamline specific topics.”

Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

“Saint Lucia embraces the professional approach with which this project was undertaken by Aether, particularly their ability to develop mentorship relations with local government experts. This provides a basis for ensuring that the pool of local experts remain engaged and recognized over successive processes.”

Annette Rattigan-Leo, Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer

“A heartfelt thank you to all the Aether team for this very comprehensive review – this is certainly turning out to be one of the most beneficial capacity building projects I have ever been involved in.”

Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

“It is always an absolute pleasure working with Aether. I always know what is expected of me. Their work ethic is of a very high standard and projects are always handled in a very professional manner. I have learnt many skills in terms of project management, quality control and workshop training styles from Aether and I hope to carry these principles forward in my own work. I look forward to collaborating with Aether more in the future.”

Luanne Stevens, Gondwana

“The professional service provided by your company was of very high quality and completed within agreed timelines.”

Matthew Dudley, UNFCCC Secretariat

“Both the face-to-face training and the online version have been of high quality, with dynamic methods and a practical orientation that have allowed students to reach a solid knowledge base. The products have been delivered within the stipulated deadlines with an excellent quality and the team has always shown willingness to make adjustments according to the requirements of CONAF. We are very satisfied with the work. ”

Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

“I must congratulate each of you for your professional and tireless efforts. Let me point out that this has been the 'neatest' in-country review expert review team I have coordinated, and it has been a real pleasure.”

UNFCCC Secretariat

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