Short term policies to keep the door open for Paris climate goals

Elmar Kriegler*, Christoph Bertram, Takeshi Kuramochi, Michael Jakob, Michaja Pehl, Miodrag Stevanović, Niklas Höhne, Gunnar Luderer, Jan C. Minx, Hanna Fekete, Jérôme Hilaire, Lisa Luna, Alexander Popp, Jan Christoph Steckel, Sebastian Sterl, Amsalu Woldie Yalew, Jan Philipp Dietrich, Ottmar Edenhofer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Climate policy needs to account for political and social acceptance. Current national climate policy plans proposed under the Paris Agreement lead to higher emissions until 2030 than cost-effective pathways towards the Agreements' long-term temperature goals would imply. Therefore, the current plans would require highly disruptive changes, prohibitive transition speeds, and large long-term deployment of risky mitigation measures for achieving the agreement's temperature goals after 2030. Since the prospects of introducing the cost-effective policy instrument, a global comprehensive carbon price in the near-term, are negligible, we study how a strengthening of existing plans by a global roll-out of regional policies can ease the implementation challenge of reaching the Paris temperature goals. The regional policies comprise a bundle of regulatory policies in energy supply, transport, buildings, industry, and land use and moderate, regionally differentiated carbon pricing. We find that a global roll-out of these policies could reduce global CO2 emissions by an additional 10 GtCO2eq in 2030 compared to current plans. It would lead to emissions pathways close to the levels of cost-effective likely below 2C scenarios until 2030, thereby reducing implementation challenges post 2030. Even though a gradual phase-in of a portfolio of regulatory policies might be less disruptive than immediate cost-effective carbon pricing, it would perform worse in other dimensions. In particular, it leads to higher economic impacts that could become major obstacles in the long-term. Hence, such policy packages should not be viewed as alternatives to carbon pricing, but rather as complements that provide entry points to achieve the Paris climate goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074022
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2018


  • 1.5C
  • 2C temperature limits
  • Carbon pricing
  • Integrated assessment
  • Mitigation pathway
  • Paris Agreement
  • Political implementability
  • Regulatory policies

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