Physical and environmental quantitative ex ante assessment of DYNAMIX policy mixes

Citation: Ekvall, T., Martin, M., Palm, D., Danielsson, L., Fråne, A., Laurenti, R. Oliveira, F. (2016). Physical and Environmental Assessment. DYNAMIX Deliverable D6.1. Gothenburg, Sweden: IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

This report presents quantitative estimates of the environmental significance of changes in material flows that can result from specific instruments in the three policy mixes designed. We applied life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, and material pinch analysis to estimate the potential resource and environmental benefits of the key instruments of the policy mixes. The effectiveness of these instruments was first estimated with a macro-economic model (see Report on Economic Quantitative Ex-Ante Assessment of Proposed Policy Mixes). We then used LCA to estimate the environmental significance of these effects. These estimates are very rough because they are affected by simplifications and assumptions in the macro-economic model as well as the LCA model.

The results indicate that the ambitious DYNAMIX targets require significantly stronger and more effective policy measures than those outlined in the project. Such strong policies will, of course, be much more difficult to implement. It might also be difficult to model their impacts, because they are likely to change core assumptions or key mechanisms of the models: the economic structure, the level of technology, behavioural patterns, etc.

Even though we modelled individual elements of the policy mixes separately, we can draw a couple of conclusions regarding how policies can be combined. The feebate systems in the overarching policy mix could, for example, be combined with sustained and increased spending on R&D, from the metals policy mix, to increase the likelihood that the large potential benefits of a feebate system are realised.
Further benefits can be obtained if the DYNAMIX policy mixes are combined with policies outside the scope of DYNAMIX. Instruments such as R&D spending and feebate systems can result in electrification of cars and other products. This is more likely to increase resource-efficiency and reduce GHG emissions if combined with an energy policy that makes the electricity production more efficient and carbon-lean.