To limit warming to below 1.5 degrees C, halt biodiversity loss and secure a more just, equitable society, we need to transform 14 global systems. Systems Change Lab identifies more than 70 critical changes – what we call shifts – that can help deliver systemwide transformations. These shifts are changes within a system, and when multiple shifts work together, they can spur transformational change.

No single technology, policy or actor alone can achieve these critical shifts. Rather, it will take a community of people working together across systems to employ innovative solutions and accelerate  change. To provide a global snapshot of efforts made toward each shift, we measure progress toward 2030 and 2050 targets pulled from the best available science, as well as monitor factors that can impede or enable change.

Explore these shifts in the pages below.


  • Phase out unabated coal and fossil gas electricity generation 
  • Rapidly scale up zero-carbon electricity generation 
  • Modernize power grids, scale energy storage and manage power demand 
  • Ensure energy access and a just and equitable transition for all 


  • Reduce demand for cement, steel and plastics 
  • Improve industrial energy efficiency 
  • Electrify industry 
  • Commercialize new solutions for cement, steel and plastics 
  • Reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations as they are phased down 


  • Guarantee reliable access to safe and modern mobility 
  • Reduce avoidable vehicle and air travel 
  • Shift to public, shared and non-motorized transport 
  • Transition to zero-carbon cars and trucks 
  • Transition to zero-carbon shipping and aviation 

Cities and the Built Environment

  • Adopt land use strategies that limit urban expansion and increase accessibility  
  • Optimize building energy use
  • Decarbonize heating, cooling and appliances
  • Guarantee access to safe, resilient transport and shelter
  • Rapidly scale up zero waste outcomes in cities 

Technological Carbon Removal

  • Scale up technological carbon removal 

Food and Agriculture

  • Increase crop productivity sustainably, resiliently and without expanding into natural areas
  • Increase livestock productivity sustainably, resiliently and without expanding into natural areas
  • Increase aquaculture sustainably, resiliently and without expanding into natural areas
  • Reduce food loss and waste
  • Shift to healthier, more sustainable diets for all
  • Reduce GHG emissions and all forms of pollution from food systems
  • Minimize other harmful impacts of agricultural production on soil, water and ecosystem health

Forests and Land Management

  • Protect ecosystems on land​
  • Restore deforested and degraded lands​
  • Effectively and sustainably manage land​
  • Sharply reduce pollution 
  • Halt the overexploitation of wild species on land and ensure that use is sustainable​
  • Dramatically slow the spread of invasive, alien species on land​

Ocean Management

  • Protect marine and coastal ecosystems
  • Restore degraded marine and coastal ecosystems
  • Sustainably manage marine and coastal ecosystems
  • Sharply reduce pollution from all sources
  • Halt the overexploitation of estuarine, coastal, and marine species and ensure that use is sustainable​
  • Dramatically slow the spread of invasive, alien species in marine ecosystems​

Freshwater Management

  • Protect freshwater ecosystems​
  • Restore degraded freshwater ecosystems
  • Sustainably manage freshwater ecosystems​
  • Improve water quality​
  • Halt the overexploitation of wild freshwater species and ensure that use is sustainable​
  • Dramatically slow the spread of invasive, alien freshwater species​
  • Ensure reliable access to clean water for all​

Circular Economy

  • Decrease overconsumption
  • Use recycled or renewable materials or reused components
  • Minimize environmental and social harms in resource extraction
  • Make production more resource efficient
  • Use products longer
  • Recycle and recover resources at end of life for highest value


  • Measure, disclose, and manage climate- and nature-related financial risks 
  • Scale up public finance for climate and nature 
  • Scale up private finance for climate and nature 
  • Extend economic and financial inclusion to underserved and marginalized groups 
  • Price greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental externalities 
  • Eliminate harmful subsidies and financing 

New Economics for Climate and Nature

  • Adopt economic and political goals focused on wellbeing, equity, and sustainability
  • Shift to new analytical models, frameworks and tools
  • Scale new economic narratives
  • Reform, transform, and adopt economic instruments that align with new economic thinking

Social Inclusion and Equity

  • Provide reliable, universal access to basic services and opportunities
  • Reduce social and political inequities
  • Facilitate a just transition to a net-zero, nature-positive future
  • Re-distribute income and wealth to ensure that they are not concentrated in the hands of the very few


  • Secure and uphold civil liberties and rights
  • Ensure transparency and access to information
  • Guarantee access to justice
  • Promote accountability and anti-corruption measures
  • Increase participation in policymaking and politics
  • Strengthen government capacity to plan and regulate fairly and effectively



Photo by Thoracius Appotite