BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai

Objective 2: Support decision making in the transition to a low carbon society

Many countries around the world have already set a goal of reducing emissions to net zero by 2050. While net zero is a critical long-term goal, accelerating emission reductions over the next 5 to 10 years will be crucial to be on track with the Paris Agreement goal. However, pledges for 2030 in most the countries are still well below the required level of ambition. Furthermore, the global community faces the challenge of reducing emissions without compromising the achievement of the SDGs and efforts eradicate poverty and inequality. Therefore, decision makers around the world will need to find ways to accelerate the implementation of climate policies based on the best available scientific information, and scientists will need to be prepared to effectively inform these solutions on time. Therefore, it is critical to better understand the challenges, opportunities, risks, and uncertainties associated with a low-carbon, just transition and to support and engage with stakeholders in the evaluation and design of specific actions, in order to successfully achieve these transitions at the time that will be needed.

Activity 2.1. Strengthen modelling capacities for an integrated assessment of climate policies.

One of BC3's strengths is our multidisciplinary approach to assessing climate policies. Our diverse backgrounds and experience with integrated assessment models and tools (ranging from IAM models, macroeconomic and microeconomic models, energy-electricity systems or financial models) allow us to analyse the implications of low-carbon transitions, considering not only the technological, economic and financial dimensions, but also its social aspects, such as the impact on equity or energy poverty. The objective of this activity in the coming years is to develop new tools or characteristics of existing tools (e.g. GCAM, DENIO, DERIO, CHANCE models) that allow us to address and provided new insights in the following 6 key areas of research in the transition to a low-carbon society: 1) evaluate the macroeconomic, social and environmental implications of deployment of different mitigation policies at different scales that accelerate the deployment of renewables, energy efficiency and electrification options; 2) asses the role of energy storage in a 100% renewable-system coupled with the transport sector 3) incorporate land and carbon sinks (negative emissions) in a decarbonisation strategy in collaboration with land use experts and develop and maintain tools and databases for analysing and modelling the socioeconomic and environmental implications of international trade (links to SO3 A3.5); 4) explore the co-benefits and trade-offs between climate policy and air pollution policies at different spatial scales; 5) consider the equity and just transition dimension of the different policies such as fiscal reforms 6) evaluate the gender implications of climate and energy policies. This line benefits from different European H2020 projects (such as the PARIS REINFORCE or LOCOMOTION) where these tools are being currently developed and tested.

Activity 2.2. Assessing climate policies with the engagement of stakeholders.


An innovative aspect of our approach is engaging with multiple stakeholders in the research lifecycle so that multiple aspects of low-carbon options are captured from initial design. In this activity, we will continue to involve and collaborate with key institutions in Spain (for example, Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge-IDAE, Spanish Office for Climate Change) and in the Basque Country (Basque Environment Agency-IHOBE and Basque Agency of Energy- EVE). We will continue to evaluate decarbonisation plans and policies using the tools developed and tested in Activity 2.1 in a real context. This approach was followed successfully, for example, in the work carried out for the Spanish Government in the socio-economic evaluation of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC 2021-2030) or in the long-term strategy of the Basque Government (KLIMA Strategy 2050). Furthermore, during this cycle our aim is to start working at EU level in the context of the Think Sustainable Europe network and also to start another collaboration with the EU Joint Research Centre. We will also remain open to collaboration with energy companies (such as Iberdrola), NGOs (such as the European Climate Foundation) and with multiple stakeholders in the context of OTEA - Observatory of Energy Transition and Climate Action in Spain. Finally, we will explore new forms of co-creation of knowledge and engagement with citizens (for example, thorough Citizen Assemblies) where solutions and concerns on issues such as behavioural change or the public acceptability of different policies will be evaluated.

Activity 2.3 Assessing and designing policies for a just transition.

The energy transition will increase job opportunities in countries highly dependent on fossil fuels imports, such as the European Union. However, throughout this process some sectors will be negatively affected, which will affect workers and even entire regions or provinces (e.g. mining areas) that will have to be fully transformed. In addition, the changes in energy prices and the expected increase in the prices of CO2 permits might impact vulnerable groups if they are not accompanied by mitigation and compensation policies. The rapid changes required by the Paris Agreement will not happen if society in general does not demand and support them and for that is key that policies are socially fair and inclusive, in a context marked by high and increasing inequality and the social effects of COVID-19. This line of activity will use the tools developed in activity 2.1 and the methods and knowledge of activity 2.2 to focus on 1) the social effects and distributive impacts of public policies such as green tax reforms 2) evaluate the gender implications of climate and energy policies and 3) comprehensively analyse aspects related to climate justice on a global scale. This line benefits from different European H2020 projects where these tools are being currently developed and tested.: Anil Markandya)


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