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COP21:RIPPLES

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

We are not on track to meet the Paris Agreement mitigation goals. The challenge is to better understand the nature of this gap and to feed political discussions on how to address it at all relevant levels and across them. The European Green Deal offers an opportunity to develop an adequate response to the Paris targets across the EU and its member states, but are we ready?

The COP21:RIPPLES consortium has been analysing the transformation required in our energy systems and in our wider economy to implement the Paris Agreement for three years. As the Project comes to an end, we would like to share our key messages to contribute to evidence-based decision making.

Project findings

Take a sectoral approach

Sectoral approaches facilitate the understanding of the drivers of transformation and the appraisal of policy options, open the door for discussions framed in terms of economic and social progress and are a pre-requisite for international governance to be strengthened.

Benefit from early action and investments

Early investment to foster learning reduces decarbonisation costs in the long term and offers economic opportunities for countries to develop new low carbon technologies and sectors. Countries should concentrate on promising technologies, exploit individual regional strength and bear in mind the opportunities and constraints of the national innovation system.

Tackle the financial system to support its transformation

Current policy approaches to accelerate the pace and increase the ambition of the transformation of the financial system should be challenged as to fix its incapacity to deal with common goods and embrace long-termism. Finance cannot limit itself to growing green niches and must stop investing in carbon intensive assets. 

Make industrial & innovation policy central to the challenge

Industrial transformation is at the heart of the decarbonization challenge, and must be addressed with a coherent and ambitious industrial policy and innovation strategy. A transnational steel sector decarbonisation club could help advance domestic decarbonization and be an ideal testbed to pilot the introduction of border carbon adjustments.

Adopt a country-driven approach to EU 2030 climate commitment enhancement

Improve 2030 commitment to ensure politically resilient decarbonisation pathways.  Increasing pre-2030 ambition leads to a smoother, more realistic transition, avoiding asking comparatively more of a specific sector, which may increase acceptability problems. For this Member States need to be equipped to define their own role in the EU long-term transformation towards neutrality to inform coherent EU-level investments, cooperation strategies and solidarity mechanisms.

Use adequacy assessments to inform policy debates and track progress

Successful implementation of the Paris Agreement inevitably requires addressing different inter-connected dimensions: governance, economic and social, sectoral & physical transformations and GHG emissions.

A multidimensional framework to assess the adequacy of global and country-level responses can play a key role in tracking progress and identifying avenues for international cooperation, given the dynamic and interactive nature of the ambition ratchet-up mechanism of the Paris Agreement. The EU should apply this framework in its policy process to accelerate climate action in context of the EU Green Deal.

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