Hidden handbrakes: tracking the invisible barriers slowing climate action

Side event

This event during Climate Week NYC launched the hidden handbrakes platform, a new space to expose the invisible barriers to social justice and climate action

In person at etc. Venues, 601 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10022 USA
And online
Last updated 22 September 2023
A cement factory in the background covered by tree branches.

Cement factory in an industrial zone, Czech Republic (Photo: Dodes Pavel, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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 climate action and social justice 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, and which 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 presented the research, communications and influencing campaign that is focused on exposing these hidden handbrakes and finding ways to release them, while launching a web-based platform for others to come together to surface and tackle their hidden handbrakes.

The event coincided with the release of new analysis examining how slow governments have been to take action on climate change. Specifically, the research shows governments around the world have missed deadlines for submitting or updating their plans for tackling climate change more than half of the time over the last decade. 

Our panellists referenced this new research and shone a light on the handbrakes holding back action so we can better understand them, expose them to wider scrutiny and discuss ways the world can begin to address them.

This event was part of Climate Week NYC.

A short video showcasing IIED's hidden handbrakes campaign (Video: IIED)


Event coverage

Watch a full recording of the event below or on IIED's YouTube channel, where individual links to the start of each speaker's contribution are also provided.

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Anne Schulthess ([email protected]), marketing manager, Communications