Work Package 1

Empirical assessment of the effectiveness of past and existing policies

While a wide range of national development, energy and climate policies have been implemented throughout the world – many of which have been the subject of scientific assessments (e.g., GEA, 2012) – there has to date been relatively little comparative analysis of the performance of these policies across countries that explicitly acknowledges the diversity of national capacities and political and institutional contexts.

The first work package of CD-LINKS is designed to achieve several goals related to policy effectiveness. Foremost, it addresses the critical question of the policy effectiveness of past and existing climate and sustainable development policies in and across selected G20 countries. A multitude of empirical case-studies will be conducted in order to broaden the evidence about the determinants of policy success (and failures). Important steps in closing the existing “evidence gap” are (i) to understand which contextual factors are important for policies to be effective, (ii) to pave the way for policy transfer by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of similar policies across different countries, and (iii) to assemble evidence that can inform the design of future policies to guide national and global transformation processes – a central topic of the other work packages of CD-LINKS. Each of these steps will be addressed with the aims to foster cooperation among policy experts in different G20 countries and to build scientific capacity for the future assessments of policies within a post-2020 framework.

To fulfil this objective, WP1 will be split into three inter-related tasks. The first task will take a multi-national case-study approach to analysing past and existing mitigation, adaptation and development policies in both developing and developed G20 countries. This will include identifying criteria along which the diverse range of policies can be classified. The criteria will guide the central aim of this task to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the policies in light of the wider political and institutional context under which they were/are implemented. The second task will then focus on the cross-national effects of policies – both institutionally and technologically – while the third will formulate new concepts for defining and assessing critical future stages of the national transformation process.

Key research questions:

  • Which climate, energy and adaptation-related policies have been successful in the past, and what specific aspects within countries have contributed to this success?
  • How do climate, energy and development policies transfer across borders, and what is the potential for replicating policies in different national contexts?