Policy dialogues in integrated assessment modelling (IAM) to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation

Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are an integral part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) and the IPCC Assessment Reports before it, providing a framework to compare different possible measures to limit the level of global warming that is currently anticipated.

In this briefing note, we describe how IAMs could be more effectively applied to support the design and assessment of low-carbon emission strategies, using a transdisciplinary approach that starts from the policies and measures that stakeholders are willing, and able, to implement.

Key messages:
  • Current integrated assessment modelling (IAM) results are biased towards mitigation in emerging and developing economies, and towards market-based policies like carbon taxes.
  • Pathways in SR15 are not explicitly based on preferred policies of national governments, industry groups, or NGOs.
  • Low-carbon transition policies are more likely to be made for reasons tangentially related to climate change, including job creation and public health.
  • IAM needs to take a more facilitative and bottom-up approach to modelling, with indicators that speak to the intended audience.
  • Researchers need to approach policy assessment using IAM as a continuous policy dialogue that begins by discussing the policies and measures that stakeholders are willing, and able, to implement.
  • The fit-for-purpose’ IAM approach outlined in this brief will be especially needed in coastal areas and cities, where many human and natural systems compete.