Hidden handbrakes preventing climate action

The invisible obstacles slowing down progress on climate change mitigation, adaptation and addressing loss and damage, hidden handbrakes are everywhere but little known. IIED is exposing these global barriers and forming coalitions to tackle them.

$ 80  billion

Fossil fuel companies have raked in over US$80 billion through shadowy investment tribunals

50 %

Countries missed deadlines to submit their climate plans over 50% of the time up to 2023

$ 42  billion

Carbon-intensive ultra-processed foods are subsidised by up to $42.5 billion a year

$ 33  billion

Least developed countries spent $33 billion servicing debts in 2021 – but received just $20 billion in climate finance

Can you help to expose any hidden handbrakes?

Log in or create an account to share a hidden handbrake with the community. Are you working on a hidden handbrake? Let us know how we can join forces

Discover hidden handbrakes

We welcome contributions from individuals and organisations anywhere in the world – from local communities and civil society organisations to researchers and representatives of national governments and the private sector.

And we encourage journalists to explore the hidden handbrakes and follow up with contributors to shine a light on how the handbrakes are preventing the steps we need to take. You can connect with our press officer Jon Sharman via jon.sharman@iied.org.

What are people saying about hidden handbrakes?

"I love the imagery of an invisible handbrake because when you see it, and it's not invisible any more, you can do something about it"

Gabrielle Walker
Co-founder CUR8 and Rethinking Removals

NYC Climate Week

G20 nations raked in $50 billion in debt repayments from poor countries since Covid, report finds

The Independent

"The world needs to take the brakes off when it comes to climate action. That means addressing deeply embedded aspects of the economic, legal and financial status quo." 

Tom Mitchell
IIED executive director

The Guardian

“When it comes to this, the role of the media is to expose the handbrakes in order to be able to try and release those handbrakes."

Megan Rowling
Deputy climate editor Thomson Reuters Foundation 

London Climate Action Week

Hidden handbrakes
email updates

New hidden handbrakes are being added all the time.
Register for regular news and updates

Sign up now

‘Hidden handbrakes’ are invisible obstacles that are slowing down climate action. Read our overview to find out more.

We encourage you to share and re-use this content, in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

This platform is based on user-generated content, and contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of IIED.

We welcome feedback on this platform and this work. Please send feedback or any enquiries to hiddenhandbrakes@iied.org, where you can also report any inaccuracies.

Generation Foundation logo

With support from the Generation Foundation