POLIZERO aims at:

1) analysing a suite of existing energy sector decarbonisation policies for Switzerland based on successfully implemented examples in other European countries, and
2) generating robust, dynamic adaptive policy pathways, to describe potential future adaptive actions that handle stringent climate change mitigation policy targets in an agile way.

Different types, combinations and timing of Swiss and European decarbonisation policies are analysed, by implicitly considering their national and sectoral interdependencies. The specific research questions addressed in this project are:

• What are efficient policies/policy packages and their timing in Switzerland towards the target of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050?
• What are the implications of energy and climate policies of other European countries for the effectiveness of Swiss energy policies?
• Which are the most critical contextual influences and their respective values that could affect policy outcomes, efficiency and efficacy?
• Which parameters should be monitored to ensure effective policy implementation and which policy alternatives (if any) could be implemented to tackle policy outcome deviations?

POLIZERO contributes in filling the critical knowledge gap of “when to act” to avoid carbon lock-ins and the implementation of policies that lead to dead-ends or cannot reach their aims. The project’s modelling framework, comprising of the JRC-EU-TIMES and TEEM AIM models, provides support to decision-makers to design adaptive policy pathways that ensure robustness and cost-effective achievement of the climate targets, and amplify the need for negative emissions.

State of the Art

Recent analyses of the Swiss energy system do not include an extensive quantified analysis of the European policies and their impact on Swiss policies (and vide versa). Furthermore, there is no detailed European energy system model operated in Switzerland, suitable to analyse Swiss decarbonisation strategies in a broader European context, which can quantify the impact of the European policies and the transition of the European energy system on the effectiveness of the Swiss energy and climate policies and by accounting for domestic uncertainty/constraints. Finally, when decision-makers and analysts face a deeply uncertain future (e.g. due to climate change), they need more than traditional prediction or scenario-based decision methods to help them evaluate alternatives and take decisions. An adaptive plan aims to specify actions to be taken now in order to be prepared for the near future and to keep options open to adapt if needed in the long-term future.

POLIZERO addresses the above gaps in policy analysis by

1) employing the well-established JRC EU TIMES energy systems model, which follows a long-term cost optimization approach. The JRC-EU-TIMES model will be specifically enhanced in POLIZERO to include a detailed representation of Switzerland based on the Swiss TIMES Energy Systems Model (STEM)
2) attempting a combined application of the enhanced JRC-EU-TIMES model with the Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways methodology (Haasnoot et al., 2013). This is accomplished by softlinking the enhanced JRC-EU-TIMES with the AIM model, which adapts the DAPP methodology into a user-friendly interactive decision support model.
This innovative soft-link between JRC-EU-TIMES and AIM is for the first time applied to investigate robust deep decarbonisation pathways for Switzerland in an EU context, and (i) investigates why and when policy package outcomes start to deviate from their intended targets, (ii) visualises a map of DAPP presenting a variety of policy options towards deep decarbonisation targets, and (iii) sets up a framework for a monitoring system for real-world policy adaptation via the tracking of critical contextual parameters affecting policy performance.