Discussion Paper
No. 2017-109 | December 11, 2017
Andreas Löschel and Philipp Großkurth et al.
Establishing an expert advisory commission to assist the G20’s energy transformation processes
(Published in Global Solutions Paper)


The ongoing transformation of the world’s energy systems requires an international monitoring to evaluate the transformation processes and to identify transferable leading practice policies. For this purpose, an independent scientific expert commission should be established for the G20. By actively involving political decision-makers in the discussion of the final results a broad basis of support can be ensured.

JEL Classification:

Q01, Q48, Q58


Cite As

[Please cite the corresponding journal article] Andreas Löschel and Philipp Großkurth et al. (2017). Establishing an expert advisory commission to assist the G20’s energy transformation processes. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2017-109, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2017-109

Comments and Questions

Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana - Spur or tie down research? Spur!
December 13, 2017 - 13:50
The initiative proposed is plausible and should be taken into consideration by the governments belonging to the G20 and those signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement. I completely agree with the tasks 1 (Inform), 2 (Monitor) and 4 (Exchange). The virtues of each task have been well explained in the discussion paper. I have some comments on task 3 (Evaluate). I fully support authors' statement of the accessibility and replicability of empirical analysis. This is a key point and it should be mandatory for all the research used in this framework. In the same way, "a standardized meta-format for results would continue a valuable improvement both for researchers and policy experts and would facilitate the transfer of knowledge". But I am not completely sure of the about the point on the role of the expert commission to identify the leading practice policy options. Can it bias the incentives of the researchers? Does it drop the interest in addressing new policy options or new methodologies for researchers? Once the commission establishes a set of 'leadings', researchers will have incentives to do research on them, in order to provide results for, i.e., governments or scientific journals. Maybe this effect can tie down the research in other potentially good policies/methodologies. Of course, from the discussion paper cannot be inferred that the purpose of the commission is to limit research. In fact, tasks 1 and 2 will spur research (see the research effect of GTAP - Global Trade Analysis Project, for example). But I wonder about this potential not-desired effect of task 3. Finally, as an overall proposal, this can be an example of the commitment of the political and the scientific communities with one of the challenges in this century for the human beings.

Philipp Großkurth - Positive side effects
January 22, 2018 - 10:13 | Author's Homepage
We are grateful for the detailed feedback and acknowledge the referee’s concern regarding potential effects on scientists’ incentive structures. While we cannot rule out that such an effect would manifest, we would like to point out that the consequences are more than likely to be positive. Intensified research on policy options identified as leading practice would contribute greatly to a solidification of evidence. This would ensure that the toolkit of policy makers always grows in quality before it grows in quantity. And while it is certainly possible that the attention of researchers would be diverted, a shortage of studies with replicating character is currently more problematic than a potential lack of innovation. Following the referee’s elaboration, we will add a note in the paper which highlights the need for curiosity driven, broader research on policies and methods.

Anonymous - Report
December 17, 2017 - 20:53
The proposed expert advisory commission constitutes a major undertaking which aims at fostering policy transfer and policy learning. It proposes evidence based policy making which could very well help to avoid repeating the costly mistakes which first-adopting countries have made in the past. Internationally, there are, however, already institutions which provide energy statistics and country reports. The authors acknowledge these initiatives and show links and potential for cooperation with international initiatives and agencies like IRENA, the IEA, or the MRV process. They rightly indicate that the duplication of work should be avoided and that the expert advisory committee will make use the agencies’ knowledge base. However, it should be made clearer what the proposed committee’s benefits are above and beyond the work of these existing agencies. This is not say that there are no such benefits, I would, however, like to see them spelled out.

Philipp Großkurth - The value of independence
January 22, 2018 - 10:15 | Author's Homepage
The referee’s point is well taken. One key feature that should be highlighted here is the expert advisory commission’s mandate to work independently. This is of relevance for all aspects in the monitoring process and facilitates the transparent collection and evaluation of empirical evidence. More importantly, however, would be the commission’s character as an independent scientific authority for other agents involved in the monitoring of energy transition processes itself. Presently there are no universally accepted benchmarks for the interpretation of energy indicators, the analysis policy impacts and the assessment of regulatory performance. Consequently, conclusions drawn from data analysis have to be subjected to a secondary analysis that takes not only the authors’ methodology, but their general positions and institutional connections into account. Such a benchmark could not be established by any of the existing organizations. Truly impartial assessments cannot be provided by governmental institutions like international initiatives and agencies. We will try to clarify this point in the paper.

Anonymous - Comments
December 17, 2017 - 20:55
• An update based on the results of the G20 summit in 2017 would be helpful as well as for example including the most recent NDC-figures in the introduction.• The design of the indicators should also be linked to the SDG-indicators and their measurement (esp. goal 7&13). • Page 10: The point “Existing Policies und Monitoring” lists only three processes and committees in EU member states and one in Japan. Please check whether there are further relevant initiatives in G20 member states. For example, what about the EEA in the USA? Otherwise, only list multi-/international approaches?

Philipp Großkurth - G20 results and SDG interaction
January 22, 2018 - 10:18 | Author's Homepage
The G20 Summit in Hamburg agreed upon a series of documents. The central proposal of this paper was discussed within the Think-20 preparation process and considered in the summit’s conclusions. The Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth explicitly notes: “Scientific analysis, optional regular monitoring and policy adjustment, as well as voluntary collaboration and best practice exchange within the G20, among international and national research institutes, and the private sector, can provide significant support to energy transition processes.” The introduction will be updated, furthermore including the results from the Updated synthesis report on the aggregate effect of INDCs, published 2 May 2016. The report finds that the INDCs contribute to lowering the expected temperature levels until 2100 and beyond, but the estimated aggregate annual global emission levels resulting from their full implementation do not fall within the scope of least-cost 2 °C scenarios by 2025 and 2030. It will be highlighted in the paper that the design of the indicators might indeed be linked to the SDG-indicators, whenever appropriate.The list of Existing Agreements will be amended by the latest G20 Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth. The list of Existing Policies and Monitoring will be amended to include the Environmental Protection Agency in the US. In addition to that, a short paragraph will be added to clarify the exemplary nature of the selection and the need to take stock of and reach out to all national institutions of relevance.