Causal loop diagram interrelations climate policy
Causal loop diagram interrelations climate policy

System change not climate change! New paper out: How to make climate policy more effective

Climate policies often focus on technology and innovation. However, this approach can lead to ineffective policies if the societal aspects of the required system change are overlooked. To avoid such a bias, the Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten, asked a group of experts from various disciplinary backgrounds to provide advice on how to bring about the necessary change. These backgrounds included engineering and economics, as well as governance, psychology, geography, and law.

The expert team wrote an outlook presenting pathways towards a climate-neutral energy system in the Netherlands by 2050. The multidisciplinary nature of the team is clearly reflected in their advice. It discusses technological aspects such as investments in the electricity grid, energy storage, and demand-side response. At the same time, it emphasizes societal aspects, presenting perceived fairness, justice, and trust as key elements. Without these factors, there is no support for climate policies, and without support, there is no policy.

The paper presents the results of participative workshops conducted with the expert team to create a shared understanding of the challenge of achieving system change. The team used the method 'group model building' to explore how different disciplinary fields are interrelated and together form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The figure below is a simplified causal loop diagram that shows some of these interrelations. Understanding how technological and societal aspects of the energy system interrelate is crucial for determining which climate policies will be most effective. The paper aims to contribute to identifying the leverage points that can bring a climate-neutral society closer.

The full paper(available for free) 

The paper in pdf

The expert team's outlook

We congratulate Vincent de Gooyert, Heleen de Coninck, and Bernard ter Haar on the publication!

Causal loop diagram interrelations climate policy