Policy briefs

Final policy briefs (January 2017)

The EU has set ambitious targets to move to sustainable, resource efficient, low-carbon, climate-resilient, and biodiversity rich societies. The EU FP7 project PATHWAYS has focused on key objectives of EU sustainability policy. This is intrinsically linked to the success of two key transitions: 1) the energy transition and 2) the land-use transition. Transitions are studied by different disciplines, including scenario studies based on integrated assessment models, transition studies focusing on the role of institutions and actors as well as detailed case studies and transformative research, which seeks to actively support transitions. These approaches have all strengths and weaknesses. The PATHWAYS project used methods and tools from all three disciplines to provide an integrated story about the changes necessary to meet the EU targets. PATHWAYS focused on a selected set of transition domains – electricity, heat & building, mobility, agro-food-systems, and multifunctional land use & biodiversity. By combining and coordinating information from the different disciplines for selected cases, PATHWAYS provided insight to European policy-makers. The policy briefs provide the key messages from the PATHWAYS project for each of the domains analysed in the project and are available for download below.

land use & biodiversity

First policy brief (May 2015)

Limiting global climate change to less than 2 °C poses serious challenges: it requires a more or less completely decarbonized power sector by 2050 and sustained decarbonisation rates of 2-3 times the level historically observed. Clearly, achieving this will require fundamental societal transitions and coordinated policy action. The PATHWAYS project combines the strengths of quantitative systems modelling, transition studies, and participative action research to better understand how  such a transition pathway could be governed. Based on several country case studies, we develop alternative storylines for transition pathways. Such a pathway could mainly involve technological changes or, next to these changes, more comprehensive changes in societal structures as well. The mix of mitigation options implemented in these pathways may differ significantly. This implies that transitions may work out very differently in different countries depending on governance structures. For the short term it is important to broaden partici­pation, create a wide sectoral coverage, and aim for synergies with other policies. 

Policy brief May 2015