Head: Prof. Dr. Christian Flachsland

The working group explores polycentric governance of the global commons with a focus on ambitious climate change mitigation. We are interested in both international and domestic levels of governance and seek to identify politically feasible short-term policy entry points and instruments enabling sustainable long-term decarbonization pathways.

In our research projects we investigate:

  • Policy options for further developing the UNFCCC Paris agreement, such as international carbon pricing coordination and climate finance 
  • EU climate governance, with a particular focus on reform options for the EU ETS 
  • Political economy of the German Energiewende in the context of European climate policy 
  • The evolution of policy discourses and the role of scientific policy advice in climate governance

Our methods include institutional analysis, analytical and numerical game theory, case studies, as well as interpretive and discourse analysis.


Research questions

  • What are institutional requirements for achieving the 2°C objective? 
  • How can the UNFCCC Paris agreement be further developed to enhance domestic levels of mitigation ambition over time? 
  • What are federal and domestic political economy challenges and policy design options for enabling ambitious decarbonization pathways?
  • How do debates in politics, research and society interact with processes of major policy change?


Team members

Dr. Ulrike Kornek

Marcel Dorsch

Anna Leipprand


Current publications

Edenhofer, O.; Flachsland, C.; Wolff, C.; Schmid, L.K.; Leipprand, A.; Koch, N.; Kornek, U.; Pahle, M., 2017

Decarbonization and EU ETS Reform: Introducing a price floor to drive low-carbon investments

MCC Policy Paper
Kornek U.; Steckel, J.C.; Lessmann K.; Edenhofer O., 2017

The climate rent curse: new challenges for burden sharing

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Peer Review
Meya, J.N.; Kornek, U.; Lessmann, K., 2017

How empirical uncertainties influence the stability of climate coalitions

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Peer Review