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Enerdata’s POLES Model Helps Define a New, Higher “Value of Climate Action”

18 Mar 2019

At the prime minister’s request, the French government body “France Stratégie” recently published a report on the Value of Climate Action in France, updating and significantly altering the original 2008 calculations.

After ten years, the global context has vastly changed:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase (especially CO2 emissions, which have risen an average of 1.6% per year from 2008 to 2017).
  • Low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies are improving, but their evolving costs remain uncertain (including energy efficiency, new end-uses and energy production).
  • The 2015 Paris agreement has brought global engagement on climate action through NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), which can be revised regularly with the goal of limiting temperature rise through the end of the century.

Within this new context, the commission aimed to define new reference values for GHG emissions through 2050. (The term “reference value,” or in French “valeur tutélaire du carbone,” is now called the “value of climate action.”)

This is a cost-effectiveness approach to climate action, in response to a goal that has changed dramatically since 2008: France now plans to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

The Commission set the final figure for the value of climate action at €250/tCO2e in 2030 (€250 per ton of CO2 equivalent) and €775/tCO2e in 2050. This is a significant increase in light of the new carbon-neutrality goal.

This GHG reference value is defined as a cost per ton of avoided emissions, and serves the purpose of helping evaluate investments and public policies. This should not be confused with a carbon tax, because it applies to all instruments for reducing emissions (including regulations, standards, market mechanisms, and others).

The report, produced by the commission led by Alain Quinet, relied on a modelling exercise utilizing a variety of energy economics models and macroeconomic models, including Enerdata’s POLES model, which we used to elaborate several carbon-neutrality scenarios described in the report.

In addition to this project, Enerdata has recently contributed to several studies on decarbonization trajectories, such as the Vision ZEN 2050 project, which was carried out nationally in France by the organization EpE (Entreprises pour l’Environnement, or Businesses for the Environment). Meanwhile, Enerdata is coordinating a study for the French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition (Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire) to produce several scenarios for carbon-neutrality across the European Union in 2050.

Download the Report (in French)