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COP21: Results and Implications for Pathways and Policies for Low Emissions European Societies

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COP21 RIPPLES (COP21: Results and Implications for Pathways and Policies for Low Emissions European Societies)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-05-31

The outcome of COP21 represents an important new strategic context for EU climate policy. Analysing the implications of this new global context requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining analysis of the evolution of the international climate regime as well as of NDCs and their socio-economic implications. Such analysis is also urgent, given the timelines imposed by the Paris Agreement with a view to creating the conditions for the revision of NDC in 2020.

In light of this context, COP21 RIPPLES has four objectives:
1) Assessing the adequacy of the NDCs in light of the global temperature target of limiting warming to well below 2°C and 1.5°C.
2) Assessing the implications of NDCs and deeper mitigation pathways on other European socio-economic objectives.
3) Assessing the adequacy of the outcomes of COP21 from a governance-perspective, and the implications and opportunities emerging from ongoing UNFCCC negotiations.
4) Delivering policy recommendations for EU climate policy and climate diplomacy.
Using a multidisciplinary approach, the project has been looking into four areas:

1) International Climate Governance
After the identification of key governance functions that international institutions can fulfil, research to date has investigated key gaps and opportunities in 14 sectoral systems. The work contributes to understanding how a sectoral approach could help strengthen international governance in accelerating the low-carbon transition.

2) Sectoral Transformation
This work explores underlying sectoral transformations required behind the GHG emissions targets.

a) Database of existing Paris-compliant scenarios
A database of existing national and global scenarios has been compiled, using as main data sources IPCC, IEA, DDPP and the MILES project. Also 15 new country scenarios have been produced. The database collects 89 Paris-compatible scenarios, from which 51 belong to global teams and models and 38 are sourced from in-country teams. The database is used by the consortium to perform the specific subsequent analysis and the definition of narratives. The review of scenarios pointed out the meagre availability of 1.5C scenarios to date.

b) Narratives
The database has been used for developing a set of narratives which will be the multidisciplinary approach to the work in the second-half of the project. A set of six narratives have been identified:
• From NDC ambition to Paris compatibility
• Increased 2030 ambition to Paris compatibility
• Technology-driven transformation to 1.5°C
• Behaviour-driven transformation to 1.5°C
• Sector-based strategic cooperation to drive domestic ambition
• Coalitions to maximise global ambition from Europe

c) Modelling the Transformation
To understand better the physical transformation, an ex-post analysis of national and global scenarios of the database was undertaken. On one hand, the decarbonisation wedges methodology was used to unpack the gap between current NDC pathways and Paris-compatible ones. This allows for the identification of actions, sectors or technologies that should be in the focus of the next round of NDCs in 2020 (D2.4). On the other hand, the project has explored the difference between 2°C and 1.5°C compatible scenarios (D2.3). The results provide insights on how to enhance the level of ambition in selected EU countries, with a focus on the power and transport sectors.

3) Enabling conditions
This workstream is focused on climate finance, technology and innovation. Specifically, it addresses options for supporting the deployment and diffusion of low-carbon technologies as well as how to accelerate shifts in investment to low-carbon solutions.

a) Low-carbon technologies
Progress has been made on two different aspects related to low-carbon technologies deployment. Firstly: an analysis on how to improve the accuracy of learning curves for key low-carbon technologies. Secondly: an assessment of which countries/regions might have the potential to develop and maintain a comparative advantage in developing low-carbon technologies. Case-studies from major developing countries contribute to the global analysis of technology development.

b) Climate finance
The financing costs (weighted cost of capital) associated with the upfront cost of investment can dramatically affect the competitiveness of energy projects. For this reason, a database of the WACC in key sectors has been compiled. Next, the design of the soft-linking of TIAM-UCL energy system model with ENGAGE-UCL model and with Wise Europa’s MEWA model has been done. This framework will deliver various finance scenarios early in 2019.

4) Implications for socio-economic objectives
This workstream analyses a set of socio-economic consequences in EU associated to the low-carbon transition, covering industrial competitiveness and trade patterns, energy security, economic growth, employment and distributional issues. To date, in addition to the development of the model frameworks and input data sets
"1) Progress beyond the state of the art
The ambition of the project is to provide an integrated systemic analysis across modelling and physical transition pathways, the socio-economic implications of these transition pathways and the enabling environment to be provided by the international climate regime complex for deep decarbonisation of the EU and global economy. Thus, our added value comes from the multidisciplinary approach, the combination of multiple levels of analysis (national, global) and the strategic focus on the EU, based on global and other major emitters developments.

2) Expected results until the end of the project
The focus in the first half of the project has been the exploration of pathways to 2°C to specifically address the advantages and disadvantages of increasing ambition in the short term. The case for a sector-based approach has been grounded on results from the analysis of the physical transformations needed to meet Paris and the findings from the governance gap analysis. In 2018, discussions have started to define a set of cooperation configurations (often referred to as ""Clubs) and key characteristics for the work on 1.5°C narratives. The project is expected to deliver the enabling conditions and the socio-economic implications for the entire set of narratives. Results will therefore contribute to the understanding of the nature of the ambition required to ensure decarbonization and the role and potential of the international governance complex. These insights will advance in-country conversations on the review of the NDC and the development of LTS, as well as contributing to the Talanoa Dialogue and forthcoming UNFCCC processes.

3) Potential impacts
The expected impacts are:

Impact 1: clarify the required actions and available pathways back to 2°C/1.5°C and the trajectories and strategies of major third countries and drive an ambitious revision of NDCs by 2020;
Impact 2: clarify the implications of the international context of NDC and 2°C/1.5°C trajectories in terms of EU socio-economic objectives;
Impact 3: contribute to the Development of the International Climate Regime;
Impact 4: provide scientific input into International Scientific Processes such as the IPCC and Enhancing Scientific Cooperation with Third Countries."