Policy Day with TRANSRISK and CD-LINKS Horizon 2020 Projects

03 December 2018 | Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Bisaro

On November 7, 2018, the GREEN-WIN project co-organised a Policy Day in Brussels together with two other H2020 projects, CD-Links and TRANSRisk at the Belgian National Library in Brussels. The Event provided a platform for discussion of key insights emerging from 3 major transdisciplinary research projects with policy-makers, as well as, producing a lively discussion across the different approaches and disciplines represented on future research on climate action in the context of SDGs. This was the final major dissemination event of the GREEN-WIN project, and also takes in the final phase of the other two projects, and with around 50 participants from the European Commission and the three projects, the event was well attended and consisted in lively and informative presentations and panel discussions.

Following welcoming addresses by Tom Van Ierland (DG CLIMA) and Franz Immler (EASME), the co-ordinators, Jochen Hinkel (GREEN-WIN), Jenny Lieu (TRANSrisk), and Keywan Riahi (CD-LINKS), introduced presented the objectives and approaches of each project. The day then proceeded around 3 sessions each of which featured a presentation from one of the projects, and two discussants from different European Commission Directorate Generals (DG). 

At a first session,  “Trade-offs and synergies between climate, economic and sustainable development goals at global scales”, Michael Grubb (UCL) and Leonidas Paroussos (E3M) first presented work from GREEN-WIN on barriers to institutional investment in the low-carbon economy as well as insights from innovative modeling work, introducing the financial sector into a macro-economic modeling framework, in order to assess the potential benefits of “climate clubs”, based on agreements between multiple countries for preferential arrangements regarding trade, e.g. in low-carbon goods or linked carbon markets, technological diffusion, and low-cost climate finance. A second presentation was given by Helend van Soest (PBL) from CD-LINKS on sustainable development implications of global pathways and national mid-century strategies, focusing on key SDG indicators and assessing trade-offs with other SDGs that emerge from a strong mitigation pathway needed to attain the 1.5 degrees target. Policy design is key to avoid the starkest trade-offs between mitigation and other SDGs, e.g. food security and biodiversity, and instruments are available, e.g. subsidies to low-income households, to avoid such tradeoffs. A third presentation was then given by Andreas Türk and Karl Steininger (University of Graz) presenting modelling work from TRANSrisk assessing low-carbon options in the energy and steel sectors, showing the sensitivity range for main socio-economic indicators (GDP, employment, welfare) to variation in socio-economic & technological assumptions. The analysis showed that synergies between climate policy and SDG target achievement can be fostered by stable & reliable long-term policy framework that considers cross-sectoral links and financial market conditions reflecting climate policy ambition. Discussant Tom Van Ierland reflected on the three presentations, highlighting the importance of quantitative assessments to inform the EU negotiating positions, as well as to identify key areas where a better understanding of policy design and governance is needed.

The second session “Sectorial and regional/national/local trade-offs and synergies between climate, economic and sustainable development goals” kicked off with a presentation from Shonali Pachauri (IIASA) presenting work from CD-LINKS conducting an ex-post analysis of energy policies from a range of countries in order to identify energy policy design principles for achieving internationally agreed goals.  

A second presentation was given by Sandy Bisaro (GCF) and David Tabara (UAB) from GREEN-WIN showing win-win strategies and green business models identified through case studies in the areas of coastal flood risk management, urban transitions, and energy poverty alleviation. The analysis showed that win-win strategies that achieve both climate and short-term economic goals do exist at a range of levels of social organization, from households and communities to cities to regions, and their successful implementation involves government, business and citizens or consumers in interconnected roles. Examples of raising islands in the Maldives, renewable energy co-operative in Barcelona, and interconnected solutions to energy poverty in India demonstrated the role of co-benefits in mobilizing these different actors.  A third presentation was given by Haris Doukas(NTUA) on Trade-offs in balancing socio-economic and environmental priorities presenting modeling work on East Africa, a stakeholder and multi-criteria decision analysis from Poland and a stakeholder and multi-criteria decision analysis from Greece.  Discussant Cyril Loisel (DG CLIMA) gave a reflection on the international climate negotiations and the resonance of win-win strategies with the aims of various parties in these negotiations. Discussant Onelica Andrade (DG RTD) reflected on the need for furthering our understanding of win-wins and how to scale them up. 

The final session “Overcoming implementation barriers” began with a presentation from Armin Haas (IASS) from GREEN-WIN discussing green entrepreneurship and the green finance ecology approach developed from work assessing value-consumption chains in win-win strategies and green business models in a range of different sectors and socio-economic settings. A key insight emerging from the analysis is the need for financial matchmaking between green investors and green businesses, which is challenging due to emerging issues in green finance, such as the perception of green washing.  A second presentation was given by Zoi Vrontisi (E3MLab-NTUA) from CD-LINKs on EU28 Decarbonisation pathways, assessing the barriers and opportunities, and presenting analysis various policy future climate policies by the EU in concert with or diverging from the rest of the world. A final presentation was given by Takeshi Takama (SEI) presenting both TRANSrisk and GREEN-WIN action research results on the implementation of coffee production through biogas energy in Indonesia, a win-win strategy that has also produced a green business that will endure beyond the life of either project.  Discussant Elena Visnar Malinovska (DG CLIMA) reflected on the risk of the EU falling behind in terms of climate policy, and emphasising the need for scaling up green finance. Karin Zaunberger (DG Environment) reflected on the need for action now to avoid the worst climate outcomes.

A key theme carried through the day was the complementarity of different methodological approaches for addressing challenges and opportunities regarding climate action at a range of spatial and time scales. On one hand, global and regional scale integrated assessment modeling of trade-offs and opportunities that emerge between broader development goals for different mitigation pathways, and on the other hand, at sub-national scales implementation and governance analysis regarding the constellations of actors, interests and policy instruments, provide complementary insights needed to realize these different pathways.  As such, continued dialogues, as embodied by the Joint Policy Day, across research approaches and with stakeholders were seen by participants as helpful for moving the climate policy research community forward.