CECILIA2050 policy exercise on the future of the EU ETS


16 October 2014 to 17 October 2014



From 16th to 17th October 2014 Stefania Munaretto and Henriette Walz from the Institute for Environmental Studies of the VU University Amsterdam and other members of the CECILIA2050 consortium organized a policy exercise in Brussels on questions surrounding the future of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

In a nutshell, a policy exercise is a scientific method for exploring high-stake problems in which key uncertainties depend on other people’s choices and actions. Experts from a variety of backgrounds are brought together in a structured environment, where they are assigned roles, given rules and asked to negotiate a specific policy within a given scenario. The structural reform of the EU ETS is one of such problems. The CECILIA2050 policy exercise therefore aimed at thinking about design alternatives in the context of the strategic role of carbon pricing in decarbonization roadmaps. Furthermore, the policy exercise served as a contribution for answering the questions of how actors, power constellations and institutions affect the EU ETS reform and which lessons could potentially be drawn for improving the instrument design.

Thus, the purpose of the Policy Exercise was to shed light on political opportunities and bottlenecks surrounding the EU ETS design by focusing on decisions and problems under changing political, economic, and environmental conditions. Under the guidance of an experienced facilitator, about 25 senior climate policy experts from public, private, NGO and scientific communities coming from different European countries worked interactively in teams to creatively develop ideas about the EU ETS long-term design. The CECILIA2050 policy exercise simulated, in a simplified way, EU Council negotiations on re-design features of the EU ETS: the different teams first developed initial country positions on an EU ETS reform, subsequently conducted bilateral consultations and lastly entered into the final stage of EU Council negotiations. This way, on the one hand the researchers could collect data that will be used to understand the political feasibility of EU ETS reform options; on the other hand, participants had the chance to gain better understanding of the problem and of potential solutions and became more aware of their own potential to act upon the problem in an effective way.