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 


  • Increase crop productivity sustainably and without expanding into natural areas
  • Increase livestock productivity sustainably and without expanding into natural areas
  • Increase aquaculture productivity sustainably 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​
  • Reduce the harmful impacts of food production on soil, water, and landscape 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

  • Increase material efficiency in production
  • Decrease overconsumption
  • Regenerate material flows
  • Extend the useful life of products and materials
  • Recycle and recover resources at their 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

  • Scale new economic ideas and narratives
  • Supplement GDP with new measures of prosperity
  • Shift to new analytical frameworks and tools that better capture system connections and complexity
  • Scale-up the adoption of proven or enhanced economic and financial instruments to foster other transitions

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

Good Governance

  • Safeguard environmental rights
  • Ensure transparency and access to information
  • Ensure accountability and access to justice
  • Ensure participatory and inclusive decision-making
  • Strengthen international institutions and laws to more effectively respond to crises that transcend national borders 
  • Strengthen domestic institutions to implement policies effectively 
  • Create mechanisms to ensure long term targets align with short term policy goals 
  • Reduce corruption and strengthen rule of law
  • Ensure responsible research, development, and deployment of innovation





Photo by Thoracius Appotite