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Advanced Model Development and Validation for Improved Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Mitigation Policies

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Enhanced EU and global climate policy impact assessment

Integrated assessment models (IAMs) represent essential tools for evaluating strategies that address climate change. An EU initiative worked to further advance the state of the art of IAM tools for analysing climate change mitigation policies.

Climate Change and Environment

IAMs represent interactions between environmental and socioeconomic factors that determine future climate change and effectiveness of related policies. They integrate various disciplines and are becoming increasingly broad in scope, for instance by including the land use sector. The information gained from these tools is widely used to advise policymakers. The EU-funded ADVANCE (Advanced model development and validation for improved analysis of costs and impacts of mitigation policies) project worked to develop next-generation IAMs by enhancing model methodologies for representing crucial dynamics of the transition towards a low-carbon economy. This was aimed at improving model performance in characterising mitigation pathways, policy costs and impacts. To achieve this, the project identified several priority areas for methodological improvements. These included energy demand, efficiency potentials and consumer behaviour, technological innovation and uncertainty, as well as systems integration and resource constraints. Project partners studied energy demand in transport, industry and construction sectors, and took stock of their representation in existing IAMs. They produced several reports on improving the representation of energy policies and technological change in IAMs, and on how IAMs reproduce key features of human behaviour. The team also generated relevant data sets for wind and solar resources, and worked on methods for representing the variability of renewable energy sources. These and other data sets, together with newly developed methodologies, were made available to the broader scientific community via the project’s web-based platform. A gap analysis was carried out to outline policy areas already covered by the participating models and to set priorities for further model development with a focus on their application to policy impact assessments. Overall, ADVANCE developed, implemented and tested innovative modelling approaches to evaluate and improve the suitability of IAMs for climate policy impact assessments. The improved IAMs will not only be applied to the assessment of long-term EU climate policy, but also to global climate change mitigation strategies.


Climate policy, policy impact assessment, integrated assessment models, advance, climate change mitigation

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Climate Change and Environment

2 April 2014