The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) begins on December 2nd, 2019 in Madrid. The success of the Paris Agreement relies on the proper monitoring of climate policy measures. Political scientists at TU Darmstadt describe in a new study what is required to accomplish this.
Apart from agreeing to curtail global warming to much below two degrees, the signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement from each country also came up with solid measures to decrease greenhouse gases and secure financial assistance.
Every year, the EU member nations report to the European Environment Agency (EEA) on current greenhouse gas emission levels, and every two years on planned and executed climate policies and measures.
However, even after more than two decades of operation, unified policy monitoring, which allows comparative conclusions across the European Union, has so far remained inconclusive. In the new research, Schönefeld, Schulze, and two international collaborators explored the factors motivating good monitoring and how the quality of the monitoring procedures can be enhanced.
At EU level we simply do not know enough about the impact of many climate policies and therefore struggle to identify the best measures.
Kai Schulze, Assistant Professor, Institute for Housing and Environment and Institute of Political Science, TU Darmstadt
In addition to being heterogeneous, the climate policy-based data presented to the EEA mainly contains estimates of estimated future policy impacts, not real policy impacts in the past.
There are simply not enough data to understand past policy impact.
Dr. Jonas Schönefeld, Research Associate, Institute of Political Science, TU Darmstadt
The study outcomes indicate that EU members with higher general public spending report on time than nations with smaller public budgets. In contrast, countries such as Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, which were leading in terms of monitoring and assessing their climate policies a decade ago, continue to remain ahead even at present.
Meanwhile, there are substantial learning effects in policy monitoring across the nations, demonstrated by better levels of quantification.
“In other words, climate policy monitoring systems are improving,” stresses Schönefeld.
However, time is crucial with regard to decarbonization. So as to quickly enhance the monitoring systems and especially the collection of data on earlier policy impacts, the study recommends that the European Commission and the EEA must offer technical support and raise more awareness among the members that monitoring has to be a higher political priority.
Monitoring systems require resources, reliable institutional frameworks and committed political stakeholders.
Dr Jonas Schönefeld, Research Associate, Institute of Political Science, TU Darmstadt