Reducing Carbon Emissions in the Economy

How can the economy be restructured to lower carbon emissions? What steps towards decarbonisation have nations already taken and how successful have they been? These are the questions to be addressed in a research project whose participants include scientists from the Institute for Political Science at Heidelberg University. Jale Tosun will head up the work in Heidelberg which will start at the beginning of 2021. The work is part of a project based at the University of East Anglia (Great Britain), which the European Research Council (ERC) is funding with an ERC Advanced Grant for leading researchers. A total of nearly 2.4 million euros has been granted for the project. Approximately 530,000 euros is earmarked for the research in Heidelberg.

In the "Deep Decarbonisation: The Democratic Challenge of Navigating Governance Traps" (DeepDCarb) project, coordinated by Andrew Jordan of the University of East Anglia, the researchers first want to gain a fundamental understanding of climate policy action throughout the world. Datasets from the past 30 years that depict the activities of 41 countries with different levels of economic development will be used as a basis. The researchers will then look more closely at the processes that have already brought about the passage of climate policy laws and enactments in the past. "Further on, we will link political science research with approaches from the behavioural sciences. The central question is how should decision-making situations be set up to achieve long-term goals, like reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees," explains Prof. Tosun.

The researchers in Heidelberg will be creating empirical models to measure climate policy action and thus explain how climate policy is developed. "In past projects, we already developed approaches to measure legislative activities in this area for a large number of nations and over long periods of observation," adds Prof. Tosun. "With our research activities in the DeepDCarb project, we plan to continue this work and facilitate insights that can be implemented in practice and thus benefit policy and public administration."

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