A key dimension of the debate about policy innovation is the extent to which new policies achieve significant and lasting effects on the problems they purport to address. However, little is known about such effects. We break new ground by investigating how far current evaluation practices in a policy system with relatively ambitious climate policies – the European Union – identify the most effective (carbon-reducing) policies. We find that a small number of policy instruments are projected to deliver the lion’s share of emission reductions. Setting aside the special case of emissions trading, these instruments are not particularly innovative. If significant practical and political obstacles can be addressed, more (detailed) evaluations could enhance the evidence base and also the political prospects for delivering deeper emissions cuts through to 2050. An evaluation perspective could also offer a very different way to consider policy innovation dynamics.
- climate policy
- European Union