TRANSrisk is an EU funded research project aiming to innovatively transform the way in which climate change policy pathways are developed. The focus is to support EU and global climate change goals by providing analytical tools for risk and uncertainty aware policy making. TRANSrisk acknowledges the importance of modelling exercises, such as those carried out for the EU Roadmap 2050, but also recognises the considerable uncertainties inherent in modelling transition pathways and assessing the costs and benefits associated with mitigation scenarios. There is also a need to consider implementation risks, such as public acceptance of low emission technologies (or lack thereof) and co-effects of mitigation pathways. Unless properly included in policy design, these risks could halt introduction of technically and economically feasible mitigation options. TRANSrisk seeks to understand the costs, level of public acceptance, and the risks, uncertainties and co-effects associated with different mitigation pathways and low-carbon technologies. In order to help policymakers manage uncertainties TRANSrisk will gather data via 15 case studies from the EU and other regions, and employ a variety of different models to explore scenarios and pathways. TRANSrisk will also engage a wide range of stakeholders to help develop credible transition pathways, thus integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis in a unique and innovative way.

Project details

  • Project title: “Transitions Pathways and Risk Analysis for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Strategies” (TRANSrisk)
  • Funding scheme: European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (EU H2020, grant agreement no. 642260)
  • Duration: 3 years (1 September 2015 – 31 August 2018)
  • Project coordinator: Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • Project website:
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Risks are associated with policies to combat climate change and can be divided into two broad categories: Implementation risks and Consequential risks. TRANSrisk research has shown that the number and nature of risks that can be assessed using economic models is limited. Assessment work generated outcomes at the level of case studies and at meta-level. Shows how assessment of risks and their underlying dimensions changes depending on an expert’s professional background with different stakeholder groups.

Deploying popular renewable energy technologies at scale requires significant amounts of land compared with most fossil fuels. Solar is deployed on rooftops, but increasingly also on agricultural land. Land-use change emissions could be very large if renewable electricity targets are completely met by solar or bioenergy but contains significant regional variability. This study underlines the importance of including land-use impacts in policy assessment, particularly that encourages the large-scale use of solar and bio-energy.

The supply and use of reliable and affordable energy in Africa has multiple challenges and opportunities. Improving access to energy would improve people’s quality of life and boost local economies is a prerequisite for achieving many SDGs. Africa has huge potential for renewable energy deployment and stated ambitious plans through their NDC. TRANSrisk project have examined and investigated the potential and state a policy package is needed to realise the continent’s huge renewable potential.

Permafrost occupies 24% of the Northern Hemisphere’s land surface and is warming faster than the global average, thus melting permafrost: which has significant implications for efforts to control climate change. Quantities of organic carbon become available: permafrost contains twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere. The presence of permafrost carbon requires that the reduction of fossil fuel and industrial CO2 emissions needs to be greater and occur earlier.

New frameworks and tools are provided by TRANSrisk to manage climate change policy and are designed within the context of national case studies. Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) approach is used to explain the rate and nature of technological change in the case studies. The TRANSrisk project has two additional sectors alongside the four conventional circular economy sectors. A cross-sectoral approach is used to explore synergies and conflicts and risks and uncertainties of various innovative low carbon transition pathways.

Arctic sea ice decline in recent decades is one of the most visible indicators of global warming. The sea-ice albedo feedback is an essential impact of sea ice melt, which amplifies Arctic temperature change. In this study, an optimal path for fossil fuel and industrial CO2 emission reduction is sought. Devoting more resources to mitigation implies a decrease in consumption and investment, implying a loss in net welfare.

If the earth’s temperature increase is limited to a maximum of 2°C premature deaths are likely to be reduced globally by 15% in 2050, from 4 million to 2.85 million. If an economic value is assigned to those premature deaths, the health co-benefit ‘savings’ are actually higher than the mitigation policy costs by a proportion ranging from 1.3 to 2, depending on the pathway. This is investigated in the Case of Santiago de Chile.

GHG emissions need to be reduced practically to zero by 2050. However, there are currently numerous coal-fired power stations around the world at different stages of construction, and if built and become active, their expected future emissions will make it difficult to reach the targets in the Paris Agreement. Carbon Capture and Storage could reduce future emissions, but its future availability is still highly uncertain.

Models are tools which help to assess the positive and negative impacts of a low-emission pathway for the country. Interview questions formed the basis for a series of model runs to obtain a better understanding of the implications of the energy efficiency pathway in Poland. The goal of the model run was to shed light on the macroeconomic impacts of investment in energy efficiency in Poland in the built environment.