This working group conducts research on low carbon development, focusing on developing and newly-industrializing economies. For the majority of developing countries the main challenge with respect to climate change mitigation is to avoid future emissions growth without compromising other sustainable development goals, such as poverty eradication. The researchers aim to understand the challenges of climate change mitigation in the context of the sustainable development goals and to provide feasible solutions for policy making.
The group’s research is rooted in economics and social sciences and organized along three main research foci. First, the scientists aim to understand the interlinkages between economic development, industrialization and carbonization. They use econometric methods and partly work with network approaches frequently applied in big data analyses. Second, they focus on the political economy of energy transformations and climate policy. For example, they empirically investigate distributional aspects of climate policies or conduct field research in key countries. Third, they explicitly look into interlinkages of different sustainable development goals. For example, they investigate trade-offs between different societal goals, such as climate change mitigation and infrastructure development.
The group’s research projects focus on entry points into ambitious climate policy. In PEP1p5, funded by the German federal government, the researchers concentrate on developing and emerging economies that currently invest heavily in coal, hence lock into emissions intensive energy systems, such as India, Indonesia or Vietnam. They also investigate how climate finance could be used to support countries achieving their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). In the Energy Transitions Hub (“START”, funded by the German government) the researchers look more specifically into the long term credibility of climate policies. The team has successfully completed a research project on carbon pricing for sustainable development (CAPRI, funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation) and a DFG-funded project on macro-economic sustainability assessment (CRC 1026).