CAPABLE: ClimAte Policy AcceptaBiLity Economic framework is a research project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement n° 101056891.
CAPABLE (ClimAte Policy AcceptaBiLity Economic framework) is a research project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101056891.
Overall, policies to transform the European economy to meet the global climate targets of the Paris agreement need to be cost-effective, fair, and politically and socially feasible.
However, many policies face a tension between ambition and effectiveness on the one hand and social and political feasibility on the other. Furthermore, climate policies often face low acceptance among the general public and business communities, partly due to the lack of scientific evidence on the socio-economic effectiveness and broader performance of climate policies.
There is therefore a fundamental challenge for policy design which requires robust scientific methods to assess policy portfolios and the “sequencing” of policies. CAPABLE is addressing these challenges by improving economic analysis in four ways:
- utilize the existing evidence base, summarize it clearly and efficiently, and make it accessible and usable to policymakers;
- develop frameworks for decision-making under deep uncertainty, taking into account behavioural factors and heterogeneous social actors;
- account for the social acceptability and political feasibility of policies and their sequencing;
- explicitly take into account preferences, knowledge and capabilities of policymakers as actors in the process.
The ambition of the CAPABLE project is to provide methodological and empirical advances in policy evaluation by integrating economic and social sciences.
CAPABLE will provide a thorough evaluation of climate policies by including social acceptability and policy heterogeneity and by considering the role of policymakers explicitly. CAPABLE will advance state-of-the-art decision-making by proposing broader economic frameworks. It will leverage the interdisciplinary competences of the consortium in economics, social psychology, political science and environmental science.
The project will generate original empirical evidence through a variety of elicitation methods such as interviews, surveys and experimental economic approaches applied to various stakeholders (citizens, consumers, firms, policy-makers). Taken together, the methodological and empirical advancements will provide broader evidence for desirable climate strategies in Europe, along with lessons for the rest of the world. The methodological and empirical contributions will allow in-depth evaluations of existing as well as planned or foreseeable policies within the EU Green Deal.
Finally, we will integrate scientific evidence, an interactive stakeholder dialogue, and various dissemination channels, including a new online policy evaluation tool as a user- oriented service for climate policymakers at the EU, national, and local level.
Objectives and ambitions
The overall aim of CAPABLE is to develop and operationalize multi-objective decision making frameworks to help evaluate effective, yet socially and politically feasible, climate and environmental policies in Europe. This will be accomplished through five objectives:
1) Develop new methods for socio-economic decision-making
Addressing issues of deep uncertainty, social heterogeneity of actors, behavioural responses and biases, and multi-objective welfare measurement.
Traditional approaches to policy design and evaluation tend to rely on classical theories that
- do not distinguish between types of uncertainty (thus neglecting deep uncertainty)
- use a “representative agent” (thereby ignoring issues of heterogeneity on e.g. income, gender, race)
- take the ideal “social planner” perspective without giving due attention to the potential behavioural response by the general public
- focus too narrowly on a trade-off between costs and benefits of a single issue instead of evaluating policies under multidimensional welfare criteria
CAPABLE offers methodological advancements in these four key dimensions.
2) Enhance the empirical knowledge of public perceptions of climate policies
In particular on determinants of public support and opposition driving the political feasibility of climate policies. In the EU and around the world, several climate policy proposals were derailed by public opposition. In view of the necessity for ever more ambitious policies, it is especially important for policymakers to have an understanding of
- how the targeted public may respond to policies,
- the personal, social and contextual factors driving such responses, and
- the tools to incorporate such aspects into decision-making processes and the design and implementation of policies.
To date, academic research on public acceptance of (climate) policies has been occurring largely in disciplinary fields, with limited integrated approaches and methodologies. Synthesizing extant literature, approaches, and methodologies from different disciplinary fields into a usable format for policymakers is critical to the development of effective and acceptable policies. CAPABLE will develop such an approach and will generate new empirical knowledge through large scale surveys, randomized experiments, and semi-structured interviews.
3) Synthesize the rich literature on climate policy impact evaluation
With a focus on policy implementation and sequencing, and inform policies of the Fit for 55 package with the best available scientific evidence.
The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and effectiveness of evidence-informed policies. The transition towards a climate-neutral Europe needs to be equally supported by evidence that is rigorous, transparent, timely, and fit-for-purpose. We will use the wealth of empirical research on the success of environmental policies, which provides valuable lessons for the design of new policies.
Moreover, we will re-evaluate this knowledge for the specificity of the EU Green Deal through a systematic and comprehensive approach to actively use this evidence for policy. CAPABLE will use state-of-the-art methodologies and develop evidence synthesis methods enhanced by artificial intelligence. In addition, it will compare ex-ante and ex-post policy evaluation approaches and findings.
Taken together, CAPABLE enables evidence-based policy design and provides tools to compare alternative ways of implementation. Finally, we will also draw on the recent literature and empirical evidence on the impact of COVID-19, on how policies have impacted economic, social, and environmental outcomes, but also on how policymaking and its dynamic evolution over the pandemic have shaped not only macroeconomic and environmental outcomes but also public opinion and policy acceptance.
4) Analyse the role of policymakers at various levels
From the European and national levels to regional city levels, as well as recent citizen engagement initiatives. The role of policymakers has been often overlooked in past research. We use both qualitative and quantitative approaches to analyse the way they perceive, understand, and use scientific evidence and what this implies for policy performance and acceptance.
Further, we investigate how different actors involved in and affected by climate policies (e.g., the general public, policymakers, businesses) perceive each other, and each other's roles and responsibilities in climate policies and various decision-making processes, and how such perceptions influence the acceptance and effective implementation of climate policies.
Regarding the role of citizens, experiences with and potential of citizen climate assemblies in various countries will be compared. Citizen engagement across different countries, perceived barriers of the engagement and ways to overcome them will be examined. These insights will produce hands-on advice for improving decision-making processes.
5) Design actionable and effective climate policy recommendations
Recommendations which will be disseminated and exploited, and developed into an online policy evaluation tool. We will develop an online tool based on a systematic analysis of the literature on the evaluation of climate and environmental policies, together with statistical data on public acceptance and other measures based on our data collected.
This tool will serve as an instrument to promote the transparency, usability, flexibility, and public acceptance of climate policies and provide a one-stop-shop for policymakers on these issues. Together with other outreach initiatives, it will be used to disseminate research results and to facilitate an active engagement and a structured dialogue with policymakers at the EU and national levels, civil society, investors, and business stakeholders.
Workplan & Workpackages
The CAPABLE project is organized in six work packages, with WP1 providing methodological advancements and WP2 focusing on the role of social and political feasibility. Their insights inform the policy evaluation of existing and planned policies in the EU with a focus on the Fit for 55 package performed in WP3. Then, we will evaluate the crucial role of policymaking and political actors at the different levels from cities, local, national to supra-national and how policymakers and their perception shapes policy outcomes and acceptability in WP4. WP5 provides bidirectional interactions with key stakeholders through a continuous co-design approach with the key stakeholders in the advisory board and a larger set of policymakers and stakeholders, taking in both key input to the work packages and providing high-level findings, an online tool, and capacity building activities. WP6 organizes the project management of CAPABLE.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101056891 – CAPABLE – ClimAte Policy AcceptaBiLity Economic framework.
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them