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Study on European Commission Impact Assessments

on Climate & Energy and Energy Efficiency policy

December 14th 2015

During the course of 2014 the European Commission issued two important Communications, on Climate and Energy policy to 2030 and Energy Efficiency to 2020, accompanied by comprehensive Impact Assessments (documents SWD(2014) 15 and SWD(2014) 255).  The Impact Assessment Institute has compiled an in-depth review of the Impact Assessments, factually and scientifically scrutinising the evidence presented.  A particular objective was to evaluate how the Commission’s recommendations of the 40% Greenhouse Gas Reduction target and the 30% Energy Efficiency target for 2030 were backed up by the modelling used in the Impact Assessments


The two Impact Assessments under analysis are highly detailed and thorough pieces of work, containing a large amount of information.  The Institute’s study however identified a lack of transparency in the analysis preventing external assessment of the modelling and the results. This is due in part to the proprietary nature of the main models (owned by third parties) and therefore not available for closer scrutiny.  It also reflects the absence of clear descriptions of the scenarios investigated in the Impact Assessments, making it difficult to understand the underlying assumptions and parameters.


The main finding is therefore that the full evidence base has not been made available for scrutiny by interested stakeholders in this key public policy domain.  The Institute’s consequent recommendation is therefore for full public access to the details of the modelling resource to be provided, allowing motivated parties to apply their own analysis to the investigation of scenarios.  Recognising that open access to proprietary models or the development of new open models is likely to require some time, in the interim period the minimum recommendations is for all input parameters used and raw outputs generated by the model to be made fully and transparently available.

Link to study

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