Energy and Climate Change

IIASA's integrated approach to energy and climate change is demonstrating the remarkable benefits of tackling related research problems simultaneously.

The provision of adequate energy services is a precondition for socioeconomic development and human wellbeing, both in developing and industrialized countries. At the same time, impacts of energy production, transport, processing and end use, most notably the emissions of atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases, damage health, environment and property and raise the risks of irreversible climate change. 

Fundamental transformational changes are required in energy systems, and these need to be integrated with strategies for other adaptations to climate change and globalization. These changes need strong public and private support, and will require new governance models oriented toward clean delivery of energy services in a more sustainable world.

IIASA’s new 2011-2020 Strategic Plan has formalized cooperation among its research programs to develop new integrated approaches that use a holistic system’s perspective on how to initiate strategies for a fundamental transition toward a more sustainable use of natural and economic resources.

Research concentrates on the development of new methodologies and pioneers their application to understand salient linkages among different temporal, spatial, and institutional dimensions of transformational change. Specific focus is given to systems approaches for:

  • distilling the near-term characteristics of transformation paths that are necessary for the achievement of long-term targets;
  • identifying transformation strategies that are robust against a wide range of development futures; 
  • developing tools for the analysis of transition strategies at regional, national, and local scales that are consistent with the required global transformation;
  • identifying solutions and policy instruments that integrate all important economic sectors and consider interactions and feedbacks among these sectors; and
  • overcoming institutional obstacles caused by divergent goals and objectives, misaligned economic incentives, and other barriers to innovation and diffusion.

More information about current research in IIASA's Energy and Climate Change global problem area can be accessed by clicking the links below and on the right:

Mitigation of Air Pollution & Greenhouse Gases
The Mitigation of Air Pollution & Greenhouse Gases (MAG) program analyzes the linkages between measures to control local air pollution and global climate. It identifies strategies that provide near-term benefits to regions where action is taken and, at the same time, contribute to the mitigation of climate change. More


The overall objective of the Energy Program (ENE) is to understand the nature of alternative future energy transitions, their implications for human well-being and the environment, and how they might be shaped and directed by current and future decision makers. More

Transitions to New Technologies

The strategic goal of the Transition to New Technologies (TNT) Program is to further the understanding of the patterns, drivers, constraints and impacts of technological change, particularly in the areas that are key for framing global sustainability conditions (such as climate change) and to disseminate policy-relevant research findings through high-level global forums and participation in major international scientific assessments. More


Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability
The Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) Program examines the risks and social concerns associated with the transformation of energy systems towards centralized and decentralized de-carbonized sources. In addition RPV research investigates climate and other drivers of extreme event risk, as well as risk financing and other policy response options. More.

Evolution and Ecology
The Evolution and Ecology (EEP) Program's work on Eco-evolutionary Vegetation Modeling and Management creates process-based modeling approaches for incorporating novel features into next-generation dynamic global vegetation models, which are instrumental for assessing climate impacts. More.

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Advanced Systems Analysis
The Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) Program contributes the following projects to the Energy and Climate Change Research Area: Achieving Low Carbon EconomiesOperating Energy Efficient Buildings; Advanced Analysis of Structured Modeling for Policy- and Decision-making Support; and Integrated Modeling of Robust Food, Energy and Water Security Management Solutions. More.
Global Energy Assessment

The Global Energy Assessment (GEA), launched in 2012, defines a new global energy policy agenda –  one that transforms the way society thinks about, uses, and delivers energy.  Involving specialists from a range of disciplines, industry groups, and policy areas, GEA research aims to facilitate equitable and sustainable energy services for all, in particular the two billion people who currently lack access to clean, modern energy. More

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Last edited: 05 April 2016

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