Assessment of climate policies


European Environment Agency

Status: completed
Year: 2013

Methodologies to assess effectiveness of climate policies

In a project for the European Environment Agency (EEA), Ecorys conducted a meta-study of available methodologies to assess and quantify the effectiveness of environment and climate policies.

The study focused on ex-post analyses, particularly by public institutions, and was especially interested in methods to quantify greenhouse gas emission reductions. However, other methodologies were taken into account to ensure coverage: the aim was to cover evaluations looking at individual policy interventions as well as studies concerned with broader policy packages, integrated approaches and also systemic evaluations.

One main result was that the actual underlying formulas and the variables and data that are used differ substantially depending on the policy and policy type under scrutiny. The diversity of policies contributing to quantified emission reductions mirrors the many sectors and actors causing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the complexity and recent date of some of the policies means that many authors concentrate on very specific research questions. Moreover, even in the case that studies intend to quantify the emission reductions achieved by a policy, they may not consider their approach to be that of an 'evaluation' and therefore do not follow typical evaluation steps.

The project team thus found that many specific approaches were used for specific research questions and policies. Costs and external impacts of policies were covered only to a very limited extent in the studies looked at. A 'hybrid' methodology analysing broader policy packages with specified approaches for single policies was found to strike good balance to take diversity of climate policies into account, while aiming for comparability of results as far as possible.

The study recommends to develop a methodological framework for future evaluations and to apply existing methods for cost assessments in them. It is also considered useful to replicate hybrid approaches, and to search for further literature in national publications and to learn from evaluations of other policy fields.

More information

Click here to download the full report Support to establish and assess an inventory of methodologies for evaluating effectiveness and cost-effectiveness/ economic efficiency of environment and climate policies. Under Framework Contract EEA/IEA/09/010 - December, 2013