The challenges of monitoring national climate policy: learning lessons from the EU

Jonas J. Schoenefeld, Mikael Hildén, Andrew J. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


One of the most central and novel features of the new climate governance architecture emerging from the 2015 Paris Agreement is the transparency framework committing countries to provide, inter alia, regular progress reports on national pledges to address climate change. Many countries will rely on public policies to turn their pledges into action. This article focuses on the EU’s experience with monitoring national climate policies in order to understand the challenges that are likely to arise as the Paris Agreement is implemented around the world. To do so, the research employs – for the first time – comparative empirical data submitted by states to the EU’s monitoring system. Our findings reveal how the EU’s predominantly technical interpretation of four international reporting quality criteria – an approach borrowed from reporting on GHG fluxes – has constrained knowledge production and stymied debate on the performance of individual climate policies. Key obstacles to more in-depth reporting include not only political concerns over reporting burdens and costs, but also struggles over who determines the nature of climate policy monitoring, the perceived usefulness of reporting information, and the political control that policy
knowledge inevitably generates. Given the post-Paris drive to achieve greater
transparency, the EU’s experience offers a sobering reminder of the political and
technical challenges associated with climate policy monitoring, challenges that are likely to bedevil the Paris Agreement for decades to come.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-128
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Climate policy
  • EU
  • Monitoring Mechanism
  • policy evaluation
  • policy monitoring

Cite this