Although the EU is on track to achieve the climate targets of “20-20-20”, there is an ongoing debate over whether a more aggressive emission reduction goal is needed to be set for 2030. The root cause of such debate is not only the lack of scientific understanding of climate change but also severe uncertainties about the pace of change and the extent to which it impacts human and natural systems. The policy implications of climate change uncertainty depend on the proper treatment of uncertainty in integrated assessment models (IAM) of climate change. There have been several attempts to incorporate uncertainty in standard IAM frameworks but the results vary widely across the models. This is in particular important for implementing effective mitigation and adaptation strategies within the EU which require a great deal of coordination among the member states with different levels of economic development and political incentives. The objective of this research is to develop a framework for robust climate policy making under uncertainty. During the first stage of this project I will conduct a through survey of current treatment of uncertainty in standard IAMs to obtain the best practices. In the second stage, I will develop a unifying framework for analyzing decision making under uncertainty in the context of climate change. I will adopt a robust optimization approach to assess climate targets and the optimal pathway to achieve those objectives. This theoretical framework then will be applied to the current and future EU climate targets and the results will be illustrated for climate policy making in Italy as a key Member State.
The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a vital target for the coming decades. From a technology perspective, power generation is the largest responsible for CO2 emissions, therefore great mitigation efforts will be required in this area. From a policy perspective, it is common opinion that the European Union is and will remain leader in implementing clean policies. Basing on these considerations, the power sector and the European Union will be the two key actors of this project. The main tool adopted in this work will be WITCH, the integrated assessment model developed at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM). The description of the power generation sector in WITCH is quite detailed, but needs to be integrated, especially as far as the electric infrastructure downstream the power generation system is concerned. In the first half of the project, developed at the outgoing host, the modeling of the electric sector will thus be completed and refined. In particular, four main aspects need to be assessed: i) system integration (i.e. the issues related to the non-negligible penetration of intermittent renewables in the grid), ii) electricity storage, iii) electrical grid, and iv) electricity trade. In the second half of the project, developed at the return host, the improved WITCH model will be employed in scenario assessment calculations. Firstly, the prospects in Europe of renewables, CCS and nuclear will be analysed. In particular, attention will be focused not so much on the pure technology aspects, but rather on policy issues such as the role of incentives in renewable diffusion, the slow CCS deployment, or the effects of the nuclear reactors ageing, or of their phaseout. Secondly, the focus will move on assessing the role of these technologies (and the consequent evolution of the electric infrastructure) according to different mitigation scenarios, and in particular considering different levels of global participation in EU-led climate mitigation.