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Low-carbon strategies towards 2050: Comparing ex-ante policy evaluation studies and national planning processes in Europe

: Sluisveld, Mariësse A.E. van; Hof, Andries F.; Vuuren, Detlef P. van; Boot, Pieter; Criqui, Patrick; Matthes, Felix C.; Notenboom, Jos; Pedersen, Sigurd L.; Pfluger, Benjamin; Watson, Jim


Environmental science & policy 78 (2017), S.89-96
ISSN: 1462-9011
Fraunhofer ISI ()
climate and energy policy; decarbonisation strategy; ex-ante policy evaluation; integrated assessment modelling

The European Union (EU) is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels by 80%–95% in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Various approaches have been developed to secure and evaluate the progress made towards this objective. To gain insights into how EU Member States are aligning to this collective long-term objective, we systematically compare the planning and ex-ante evaluation processes for five EU countries (respectively Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The comparative analysis consists of a qualitative comparison of (1) the governance of long-term policy planning and evaluation processes, (2) the national arrangement for quantitative (model-based) ex-ante policy evaluation and (3) the national arrangement for qualitative ex-ante policy evaluation (stakeholder participation). In a second step we conduct a quantitative comparison of national model-based ex-ante evaluation studies to assess the relative differences between the considered routes and the differences across the various countries. Although the five Member States plan policies along the same EU objective, we find a high diversity in how long-term commitments are established, governed and evaluated on the national level. Model-based scenario analyses are commonly used to explore and evaluate the possible national routes towards the EU 2050 objective. However, as these processes mostly concentrate on domestic action, they pay little attention to how domestic policies are affected by, or affecting, other international activities throughout Europe. Hence, current findings suggest that cross-border collaboration and stakeholder participation could further strengthen the analytical understanding of required transformative change in Europe and subsequently lead to a more durable long-term solution over time.