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Climate, Coalitions and Technology (CLIMNEG III)

Research project SD/CP/05A (Research action SD)

Persons :

Description :


The CLIMNEG project focuses on climate issues under three perspectives : the climate science, the negotiation process and coalition formation and the role of technological progress. It is an interdisciplinary project relying on mathematical modeling, both theoretical and applied.

Project description


The objectives of this project are twofold:
1. to better understand the climate negotiation process and the role of technological progress for severe GHG emission abatements in order to propose policy designs. One crucial element here is to study how potentially stable climate architectures could be influenced by long term R&D-oriented policies and instruments.
2. to help decision-makers and relevant stakeholders better understand climate issues, policy questions and scientific backgrounds, both in climate science and economic modeling, in particular by evaluating the effectiveness of potential international climate policies and agreements with numerical simulations.

The climate change issue is a so complex and ever-evolving matter that, admittedly, much remains to do in these two fields. One of the ambitions of this project is to narrowly link top academic research and decision-making, both ways. Clearly this requires specific efforts or tasks, and the whole project is designed for this purpose.


In order to meet the objectives mentioned above the project is organized around four methodological axes:

1. During recent years, considerable progress has been made in theoretical economic analysis of international environmental agreements. Incentives of governments to sign, ratify and implement agreements are relatively well understood in a static game, context in which governments decide to participate once and for all in an agreement or not. The role of transfers and alternative institutional settings has been studied extensively. One dimension that has not been adequately covered up to now is the dynamics of coalition formation, i.e. the question of how cooperation evolves over time in a dynamic context. Typically, real world climate negotiations are a step-by-step process in which consecutive negotiations rounds result in emission targets for consecutive commitment periods.

2. Narrowly linked to the previous issue, technological progress has been repeatedly invoked to be the decisive engine to achieve sustainable development, in particular energy-saving technologies. Nonetheless, the possibility to keep emissions under control and to guarantee positive long run growth might be challenged on several grounds. We shall examine all these issues in vintage capital modelling and dynamic general equilibrium theoretical settings to represent the scrapping process of carbon intensive technologies.

3. Applied policy results will be provided to policy-makers and stakeholders will be provided in the framework of the CLIMNEG World Simulation model, an integrated assessment model that was successfully developed in the first CLIMNEG contract.

4. Coordination, dissemination and policy support will constitute a task per se within the project. It covers the following set of activities, interaction with the users’ committee and meetings, maintenance of a dedicated website, production and dissemination of working papers, writing and dissemination of Policy Briefs, defined as non technical versions of research outcome and contributions to policy debates, organization of regular academic seminars and open workshops.

Interaction between the different partners

The partners of the project are economists (CORE-UCL and EHSAL) and climatologists (ASTR-UCL). Interactions are twofold. First, the computational ClimNeg World Simulation model (CWS), an integrated assessment model of the economy and climate, contributes to the dialogue through a common language, mathematics. Second, the discussions around climate policy scenarios foster an integrated comprehension of climate issues within the network. Regular internal working seminars constitute a key-stone for such an interdisciplinary research.
Link with international programmes

This ClimNeg project has connections, for its part devoted to technological change, with a research project supported by the French Ministry of Research on Technological Change and Sustainable Development (ACI) called “Macroeconomic Modeling of Sustainable Development”.

Expected results

1. Detailed theoretical and applied analyses on climate coalitions and the role of technical change for post-Kyoto climate regimes, to be submitted to international peer-review journal.
2. Policy recommendations: after exchanges with the Follow up committee, the results of the analyses will directly or indirectly lead to policy recommendations.
3. Capacity building
4. Improvement of expertise for the researchers in charge of the project, the members of the Follow up committee and the members of the institutions they belong to;
5. Teaching (post-graduate students in environmental economics and doctoral students)
6. Dissemination and sharing of information.



The CORE-UCL team is the coordinator of the project. It contributes with the development of the computational CWS model, its update and applications. It is in charge of the theoretical developments on technological change and climate. It also contributes to policy insights on climate policies, climate negotiations and markets for emission tradable permits with applied and theoretical works. EHSAL is involved in coalition theory, but also in the maintenance, the upgrade and the use of the CWS model. ASTR-UCL is responsible for the upgrade of the climatic part of the CWS model, the follow-up of policy debates on climate negotiations, design, and the computation of the CWS model for climate policy scenarios.

Contact information


Thierry Bréchet
CORE, Université catholique de Louvain
Chair Lhoist Berghmans in Environmental Economics and Management
Voie du Roman Pays, 34
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve


Johan Eyckmans
Europese Hogeschool Brussel – EHSAL
Stormstraat, 2
B-1000 Brussels
Tel : +32 (0)2 210 13 47

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele de Strihou
Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Institut d’astronomie et de géophysique Georges Lemaître (ASTR)
Chemin du Cyclotron, 2
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Tel : +32 (0)10 47 32 96

Follow-up committee

Stéphane Cools Ministère de la Région Wallonne
Ludwig Lauwers Instituut voor Landbouw en Visserijonderzoek (ILVO)
Annemie Neyens Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap
Hugues Nollevaux Ministère de la Région Wallonne
Dominique Simonis European Commission
Jean-Claude Steffens Suez
Peter Wittoeck SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement

Documentation :

Climate, coalitions and technology : final report (phase I)    Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2009 (SP1946)
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