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Work structure

The project can be broken down into five blocks of activities, from Listening and Exchanging, to Modelling and Expanding, and to Explaining.

The IAM COMPACT project work structure can essentially be broken down into five highly intertwined components of activities (Listening, Exchanging, Modelling, Expanding, and Explaining), which are further described below.

Project work structure

Listening: Fully aligned with its core objective to co-create national climate action and develop scientific/modelling and informed policymaking capacity in the EU and countries/regions of diverse economic and emitting profiles, IAM COMPACT will establish a policy response mechanism and respective stakeholder pool underpinning it. The latter, aimed at representing policy, science, industry, and broader society, will comprise national (and EU) decision makers, scientists, and other stakeholders from EU Member States and Associated Countries, major emitters, and non-high-income countries. Via the policy response mechanism, during each of the two co-creative cycles, stakeholders will communicate needs, priorities, and questions on modelling capabilities and assumptions; and help link these to fit-for-purpose modelling sets. They will also be actively involved in the knowledge co-creation, modelling activities with intermediate feedback loops, and finalisation of the resulting policy prescriptions.

Exchanging: This comprises all activities associated with delivering open, transparent, reproducible, and coordinated science. It is the heart of the envisaged modelling activities, where shared protocols and templates for knowledge/data exchange, model integration/interlinking, and harmonisation (including timelines and data sources for calibration, assumptions, and evaluation/diagnostics) will be established. This will facilitate model evaluation, benchmarking, comparability, coherence, and consolidation, and will draw from ‘Listening’ to facilitate scenario design and development. Adhering to FAIR principles and aiming to open the data and the process to boost transparency, it will provide open access to any new code developed and all datasets used or produced, in shared databases linked to or sitting in national and international platforms. A central vessel will be the I2AM PARIS platform, produced in PARIS REINFORCE and further expanded in NDC ASPECTS and ENCLUDE. Mechanisms for integrating analysis done separately for various (geographical, sectoral) parts of the full system will be developed to help put the national/sectoral perspective in the global context (and use global results to inform national policy), bridging granularities and scales, to facilitate accessibility to and acceptability of tools and analysis in relevant countries. Synergies with other projects are also part of this block.

Modelling: All modelling activities, orbiting on multi-model analyses (in complementary, cascading, interlinked, or inter-comparison settings) on post-2030 NDCs and long-term strategies, in response to questions of scientific and policy relevance, will be carried out in this block. The basis of the activities will be a modelling ensemble comprising (sub-)national, regional, and global IAMs and sectoral models, of diverse policy/technology/sectoral representation, emissions coverage, and economic theory. Scenario protocols will largely depend on the policy needs driving the analyses; however, (a) activities will have a broad sectoral and cross-sectoral perspective as a cross-cutting element; and (b) particular emphasis on model integration will be given to effectively consider the context and national specificities of selected case study countries in terms of sustainability priorities. Significant efforts will be put into securing that both target-driven (how-to/backcasting) and effort-driven (what-if/forecasting) modelling exercises are assessed against policy-realistic baselines and multiple types and sources of uncertainty.

Expanding: Most novelties and ambitions orienting toward enhancing current integrated assessment modelling capabilities are part of this block. From an interdisciplinary perspective, at the intersection of climate-economy modelling and social sciences, behavioural and lifestyle shifts will be investigated and integrated in applied models, while gender aspects, political economy constraints (distributional impacts, equity, justice, etc.), feasibility, innovation, and political ecology will be emphasised. From a sectoral perspective, representation of land use, water, energy, biodiversity, materials, industry, and transport, as well as their interrelations will be reinforced. Extreme and disruptive events, like COVID-19 and other crises, game-changing sociotechnical innovations, and holistic sustainable development approaches will be considered in model and off-model analyses, enhanced by lessons learnt from previous policies. Representation of specific policy instruments and mixes to drive the required transitions (including potential green recovery packages from the pandemic) will be improved in the spectrum of models, aiming to deliver politically and socially acceptable mitigation pathways that maximise co-benefits, while avoiding negative social and distributional impacts on low-income households and vulnerable groups. Finally deep uncertainty assessment will be reinforced by means of operations research methods for robust decision-making.

Explaining: Aiming to provide comprehensive and comprehensible results that can be owned by countries updating their NDCs and strongly connected with ‘Listening’, this module will deliver qualitative policy analysis from both global and national perspectives, focusing on policy/sectoral drivers and barriers, drawing from past policies, from a political sciences point of view. It will also brief national climate policy on the results, by matching modelling outputs explicitly with the employed assumptions and the research questions driving them. I2AM PARIS capabilities (customised information packages, configurable visualisations, etc.) will be enhanced to improve interaction with policy and civil society, providing all interested audiences with user-friendly tools and critical information in ways tailored to their needs. All open-access scientific publications, participation in international conferences, project reports, as well as commentaries/articles in international media, videos and infographics are part of this block. The module also seeks to identify at global and national levels how political, social, economic, structural, technological, and individual dimensions are interrelated, which factors/trends within them promote the necessary changes, and which challenges/barriers must be overcome. It will thus output actionable recommendations on policy options to leverage drivers and overcome challenges to enhance mitigation ambitions. A critical feature includes the development of technical capacity to create national scenarios for NDC updates in a selection of fast-developing countries and large emitters (Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine), where such process has been hindered by several causes. We will hold workshops with policymakers aiming to boost in-country interpretation of scientific evidence for practical action, but also trainings for teaching staff in academia and technical staff in ministries to guide the development of local model applications for national policy support.