Ariadne: Researchers create an assessment framework for climate policy pathways

The framework provides a foundation for evaluating climate policy pathways in the effort to reach net-zero emissions.

When it comes to policy to fight climate change, there is no shortage of ideas and proposed measures. But what policy instruments, both individual and in combination, will help society achieve its climate goals? In a new Ariadne Background publication, Assessing Climate Policy Instrument Mix Pathways: An application to the German Light Duty Vehicle Sector, researchers from the Ariadne project, including Dr. Duncan Edmondson, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hertie School, and Christian Flachsland, Professor of Sustainability, develop an assessment framework for climate policy pathways and illustrate it using the example of the light duty vehicle sector in Germany.

The assessment framework allows for systematic evaluation of individual climate policy pathways, including their climate effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, fiscal burden, distributional effects, political feasibility, and governance. The assessment also introduced a new angle of temporality, which highlights the importance of adapting policy approaches during different stages of the transition away from greenhouse gas emissions.

The researchers then apply the assessment framework to the light-duty vehicles (LDV) sector in Germany and the phaseout of internal combustion engines, an important step toward reaching overall net-zero emission targets. Their analysis shows that current measures will not lead to the 2030 climate target for the transport sector. The researchers then apply their assessment framework to alternative policy pathways, finding that an initially moderate and then significantly increasing CO2 price on emission-intensive fuels with complementary instruments to support the market for e-cars seems to be the most promising pathway.

This approach enables a discussion of alternative climate policy pathways between researchers, practitioners in politics, business and NGOs, and society in general. It also provides a framework for further analyses of policy mix pathways in other sectors involved in the transformation to climate neutrality and highlights the necessity of dynamic design when assessing individual instruments and policy mixes.

Authors:  Dr. Duncan Edmondson (Hertie School), Prof. Dr. Christian Flachsland (Hertie School), Dr. Niels aus dem Moore (RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Dr. Nicolas Koch (MCC), Dr. Florian Koller (Deutsches Zentrum für Luftund Raumfahrt - Institut für Verkehrsforschung), Henri Gruhl (RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Johannes Brehm (RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Dr. Sebastian Levi (Hertie School)

Read the full publication here.

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