Policy relevance

The focus on high visibility major international assessments, the scope and scientific authority of which assures attention from policymakers is a major Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) strategy for the science-policy interface. Highlights in 2014 included the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC) Reports. In addition, TNT continues to be actively involved in major international policy initiatives such as SE4All and a new initiative with the GEF.

Adapted from: © Creator76 | Dreamstime

Adapted from: © Creator76 | Dreamstime

TNT is actively engaged in shaping major international policy initiatives. A prime example is the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative. TNT’s policy outreach is being coordinated by Luis Gomez Echeverri and Nebojsa Nakicenovic. Policy activities in 2014 included:

  • Working with UN system colleagues to assure that the objectives of SE4All are also reflected in the new Sustainable Development Goals SDG 7 that are scheduled to be adopted in 2015.
  • Ensuring that the SE4All development goals are translated into actual practice. In particular: Reaching out to national governments in developing countries to incentivize concrete implementation plans for energy efficiency targets, in other words, encourage them to scale-up their energy efficiency actions and to mobilize investments in key sectors such as buildings, lighting, appliances, transport, district energy, and industry. Over 50 countries and some 30 subnational authorities (target is 100 by December 2015) have committed to this initiative, drafting “road maps” based on which the scaling up of action and investments will be implemented.
  • Setting up an institutional framework for science support of this policy initiative. TNT researcher Gomez Echeverri was the main actor designing the SE4All Knowledge and Research Network. This network is designed to comprise three components with designated institutional nodes for: a) tracking and monitoring in support of country action on the three SE4All goals (being led by the World Bank), b) a capacity building component (being led by The Energy and Resources Institute [TERI] in India) and c) a component to address knowledge and data gaps (designed to be led by IIASA in cooperation with a range of science institutions in developed and developing countries).

Nakicenovic and German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) colleague Dirk Messner presented an important WBGU policy paper comprising a proposed climate agreement architecture to the Climate Change Summit of the UN Secretary General in New York.

Gomez Echeverri and Nakicenovic were also key players in initiating a collaborative venture between the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) of the World Bank and IIASA on the interactions (nexus) of energy, water, and land resources. The importance of nexus questions and the advantages of integrated management was the subject of a research paper, co-authored by TNT scholar Holger Rogner [1].


[1] Howells M, Rogner H-H (2014). Water-energy nexus: Assessing integrated systems. Nature Climate Change, 4(4):246-247. (Published online 26 March 2014).

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Last edited: 01 April 2015


Arnulf Grubler

Distinguished Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

Global Energy Assessment

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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