Climate change – policy

NCCR Climate

From April 2005 until the end of 2012, our lab participated in the NCCR “climate”, which allowed it to develop its activities on the assessment of international climate policies, the economic consequences of measures taken to reduce CO2 emissions by Switzerland, adaptation measures in tourism and the water sector and the acceptance of these measures. See our dedicated website: (2005-2012)


Tocsin=a signal of alarm given by the ringing of a bell, and hence any warning or danger signal (Wikipedia)
TOCSIN=Technology-Oriented Cooperation and Strategies in India and China: Reinforcing the EU dialogue with Developing Countries on Climate Change Mitigation
Our lab coordinated a vast research project on international post-Kyoto climate policy, with special emphasis on India and China and on technology transfert. It was a European research project of 30 months financed under FP6. More information. (2007-2009)


Enhancing Robustness and Model Integration for The Assessment of Global Environmental Change
From 2011 to 2013, our lab was a partner of the FP7 European research project ERMITAGE. This project i) developped interdisciplinary modelling tools and platforms to address the interactions between natural and socio-economic systems in the assessment of climate policies, ii) handled uncertainties in overall integrated assessments and iii) implemented adaptation and damage costs in economic models. The consortium was led by Open University and included University of East Anglia, University of Manchester, ORDECSYS, EPFL, ENERIS and Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (2011-2013)


Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project
This is Switzerland’s contribution to the international DDPP. For more info, go to this page. (2014-2016)

Effectiveness of Swiss climate policy

Under this heading, we carried out several studies on the impact of the CO2 tax or all the measures taken in the context of climate and energy policy on Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions, in particular energy-related CO2. For more info, go to this page. (2014-2017)

Emissions scenarios 1990 to 2030 for Switzerland

The aim of the study for the Federal office for the environment was to create a scenario for the development of CO2 emissions from 1990 to 2030 that shows the uninfluenced development (without emission reduction policy measures since 1990). This scenario was compared with the emission development with emission reduction measures implemented, i.e. with actual CO2 emissions data between 1990 and the latest date available (2015). Next, CO2 emissions were predicted up to 2030 on the basis of scenarios without measures and with current emission reduction measures. (2015-2017)


EU Calculator: Trade-offs and pathways towards sustainable and low-carbon European societies
EUCalc is part of the topic “Managing technology transition” of Horizon 2020. It prepares a much needed comprehensive framework for the appraisal of synergies and trade-offs of feasible decarbonisation pathways on the national scale of Europe and its member countries + Switzerland. Our contribution focuses on the employment effects of the energy transition. (2016-2020)


Delivering on the Paris Agreement: A demand-driven, integrated assessment modelling approach
This Horizon 2020 project, aims to underpin climate policymaking with authoritative scientific processes and results, and enhance the science-policy interface, in light of the Paris Agreement and associated challenges. In particular, the aim is to develop a novel, demand-driven, IAM-oriented assessment framework for effectively supporting the design and assessment of climate policies in the EU as well as in other major emitters and selected less emitting/developed countries, in respect to the Paris Agreement objectives. (2019-2022)

Assessment of a Swiss Climate Fee & Dividend

The aim was to evaluate the modalities, feasibility and repercussions of a “climate dividend” in Switzerland, i.e. a general tax on greenhouse gas emissions, the revenue of which is redistributed in full to the population. This project wass of interest to the Federal Office for the Environment in view of the post-2030 climate policy, which is why it supported it financially. Unfortunately, the project could not be finished. (2020-2023)


Policy mix for full decarbonisation by 2050
We interpret the Federal Government’s new climate policy goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 as implying essentially zero CO2 emissions from energy. The existing and planned sets of policies in the fields of energy, transportation, buildings, waste, etc. are not sufficient for full decarbonisation − hence the search for stronger and for novel instruments. These can be particularly effective and more acceptable if they are combined with a view to reinforcing their effects and conveying a coherent message to energy users. We will identify possible instruments and show how they can be combined to attain carbon-free energy in 2050. We estimate the distributional effects and acceptability of these policy designs. Project funded by the Federal office of energy. (2020-2024)

Negative CO2 emissions

Set of research projects on the potential for negative emissions and their place in an ambitious Swiss climate policy and on the means of financing these negative emissions, in particular through a “Swiss Negative Emissions Fund “. Transfer of the analysis to the aviation sector, which should contribute to such a fund until it is fully decarbonized. Funded by E4S. (2021-…)

Audit of the Vaud Climate Plan

First phase of the audit of the Vaud Climate Plan – 1st generation, “Strategy of the Vaud State Council for Climate Protection”, published in June 2020. The main aim was to assess the capacity of the measures to achieve the Plan’s objectives, in particular the reduction of territorial emissions by 50-60% in 2030 compared with 1990. Financed by the canton of Vaud. Report. (2021-2022)


Delivering the next generation of open Integrated Assessment MOdels for Net-zero, sustainable Development

Recent literature has underlined the interplay among climate mitigation, adaptation, and finance, as well as between climate action and other development agendas, including sustainable resource use, human development and equity, and environmental pressures. Such an interconnected policy environment requires an integrated ecosystem of disciplines, methods, and tools. Despite the significant evolution of integrated assessment models (IAMs) in the last decade, there remain several criticisms on their design, use, and adequacy to respond to unaddressed and emerging questions in the light of the Paris Agreement and net-zero ambition. These include openness, legitimacy, and ownership, as well as technical feasibility to represent demand-side and broader societal transformations, cross-sectoral interactions, physical impacts and adaptation, climate finance and labour dynamics, and other sustainability goals.

DIAMOND allows updating, upgrading, and fully opening six IAMs that are emblematic in scientific and policy processes, of which our own IAM (GEMINI-E3), improving their sectoral and technological detail, spatiotemporal resolution, and geographic granularity. This further enhances modelling capacity to assess the feasibility and desirability of Paris-compliant mitigation pathways, their interplay with adaptation, circular economy, and other SDGs, their distributional and equity effects, and their resilience to extremes, as well as robust risk management and investment strategies. This is done via integration of tools and insights from psychology, finance research, behavioural and labour economics, operational research, and physical science. We develop a transdisciplinary scientific approach to legitimise the implementation process and co-create research questions that stretch the frontiers of climate science, as well as establish vibrant communities of practice to transparently open model enhancements and to develop capacities, thereby lowering the entrance barriers to the established IAM community. Research program funded by HORIZON EUROPE. (2022-2026)


Sustainable Pathways of Environmental and Energy Development towards Net Zero Switzerland

The purpose of this research program is to develop toolboxes, action plans and technology to enable a sustainable transformation to a net zero greenhouse gas and biodiversity-positive Switzerland. Solutions will target immediate action conducive to halving GHG emissions by 2030, developing the required infrastructure, ensuring a resilient energy system, and securing biodiversity. Ultimately, SPEED2ZERO will further promote the ETH domain as a key honest broker in these thematic areas and provide credible transition pathways to Swiss society and politics.

The specific contribution of LEURE is to extend a city calculator with equations that describe the interactions between energy supply, climate impact and biodiversity. This will allow simulating the consequences of a variety of lifestyle changes and local policies. Programme funded as a joint initiative of the ETH Domain. (2023-2025)


Voluntary Approaches in Climate Policy: Book