Hidden handbrakes: an Open Space conversation


There are several major blockers to tackling climate change that are far from the public eye. This event saw participants discuss these hidden handbrakes.

Last updated 27 June 2024
A refinery under a clear blue night sky.

Photo: Eni’s green refinery project in Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy (Eni, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED)

London Climate Action Week 2024

Progress on climate change mitigation, adaptation, and addressing loss and damage is painfully slow. While many of the reasons are well known, there are several major blockers to tackling climate change that are barely discussed and far from the public eye.

Action to halt or reduce further climate change is being blocked by a range of ‘hidden handbrakes’ that the public are broadly unaware of. These range from legal obstacles to subsidies for fossil fuel companies and the architecture of the global financial system.

With funding from the Generation Foundation, IIED's hidden handbrakes campaign was launched at London Climate Action Week in 2023. In the last year we have gathered some good examples and research about the blockers to climate action and social justice, generating press coverage to expose these hidden handbrakes to a broader audience for scrutiny.

This London Climate Action Week event was about facilitating discussions for partners and individuals interested in exploring particular hidden handbrakes and discussing ways to release them, with an IIED expert researcher and communications expert in the room with them on each topic.

Our experts discussed these individual handbrakes with the attendees in an Open Space format in breakout rooms so that together we can better understand the handbrakes, expose them to wider scrutiny and discuss ways the world can continue to address them. The interactive session saw participants converse, collaborate and continue to expose the entrenched blockers to climate action.

About the speakers

James Persad, director, communications, IIED

Tom Mitchell, IIED executive director

Ritu Bharadwaj, IIED principal researcher, climate governance and finance

Alejandro Guarín, IIED principal researcher, Shaping Sustainable Markets research group

Simon Cullen, IIED senior press and PR manager

Nina Schoonman, researcher, IIED's Human Settlements research group

Event coverage

You can watch a recording of the event below or on IIED's YouTube channel, where individual links to the start of each main session are also provided.

IIED events newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list for updates and invitations to events throughout the year, including webinars, critical themes and debriefs.