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Cecilia2050

CECILIA 2050 aims to understand how policy instruments work in interaction, what factors determine performance, and how the EU climate policy mix should evolve to transition to a low-carbon economy.

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Climate Change Policy in the European Union

By the middle of this century, the EU wants to transform itself to a low-carbon economy. Governing this transformation process is a huge challenge for public policies – stimulating the necessary innovations, ensuring public support, encouraging the needed investments, creating the right infrastructure, and avoiding lock-in into old, carbon-intensive technologies. To manage this transformation, the existing mix of climate policy instruments needs to be scaled up drastically. 

As the scale and scope of instruments increases, it becomes more important to understand and to manage their interaction, and to address constraints on the political, legal and administrative feasibility. The CECILIA2050 project (Choosing Efficient Combinations of Policy Instruments for Low-carbon development and Innovation to Achieve Europe's 2050 climate targets), has been set up with funding from the European Commission to address this challenge: to understand how policy instruments work in interaction, what factors determine their performance, and how the European climate policy instrument mix should evolve to guide the transformation to a low-carbon economy.

The first phase of this three year project determined what the current EU policy mix looks like, at both EU and member state level, and described their components and interactions in order to assess their ‘optimality’; their cost-efficiency, environmental effectiveness and feasibility (political and administrative). The impact of these instruments on different sectors and systems, as well as on the wider EU and global economy was also be assessed.

The second phase will use these lessons to determine the best policy mix to guide our transformation to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The proposed roadmap will not simply be the most cost-effective, but as this project innovatively uses policy feasibility as a component of ‘optimality’, it will also consider what policies the EU and member states are actually able to introduce.

Read more about the project on the Cecilia2050 website.

Cecilia2050 Staff

Paul Drummond, UCL ISR

Paul Ekins, UCL ISR

Baltazar Solano, UCL-Energy

Paolo Agnolucci, UCL ISR

Outputs

Several policy briefs and academic publications will arise from this project, with the full project and results summarised in a book.

Impact and Optimality of Existing Policy

The project will perform a ‘stocktake’ of the current climate policy instrument mix at both EU-level and within 8 representative member states. Interactions will be identified and the definition of ‘optimality’ developed by the project will be tested against these policy landscapes. The impact of the instrument mix on the energy supply, industrial, transport, food and agriculture, household, building and consumer sectors will be analysed, along with economy-wide impacts. The interaction and impact on innovation, competitiveness, institutions and law will also be assessed.

Technology and Policy Requirements to 2050

Assessments of the key technologies likely to form part of the low-carbon transition of the EU will be performed and taken into account, along with lessons learned from the first stage of the project, in analysing and designing the most appropriate mix of policies and policy pathways to realise EU targets out to 2050. This will consider the legal and institutional framework, material resource constraints, access to the required finance, distributional impacts, public acceptance, political feasibility and uncertainty inherent in considering the future. Different modelling approaches, both bottom-up and top-down, will be employed in this analysis.

International Impacts

The EU does not exist in a bubble, and impacts and is impacted by developments that occur outside its borders. Scenarios for different development pathways for global climate policy (including carbon markets) will be developed and the impact on and from the EU pathways examined. Aspects such as international competitiveness and carbon leakage from the EU will form part of this assessment, as will options for reducing these side effects in different future worlds.

Publications so far:

Drummond, P (2013) Country report: United Kingdom. Contribution to CECILIA2050 Deliverable 1.2: Review of the existing instrument mix at EU level and in selected Member States. London: University College London

Drummond, P (2013) Country report: European Union. Contribution to CECILIA2050 Deliverable 1.2: Review of the existing instrument mix at EU level and in selected Member States. London: University College London

climate change policy