Policy

Using evidence and analysis to inform energy and climate change policies

Issue

To create effective policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and meet the UK’s energy demand, the government needs to understand:

  • the existing situation – the climate system, energy supply systems and energy use
  • the things we need to change to reduce UK emissions and meet energy demand
  • the possible solutions and how they would work
  • how our policies work in practice

Actions

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) employs a range of analytical specialists (scientists and engineers, economists, statisticians, social researchers, customer insight specialists and operational researchers). We also work with the broader research community to provide the evidence, research and analysis we need to make sure climate change and energy policies are well-informed and based on relevant evidence.

Research – economic, technical, social and trials

We examine the economic, technical and social perspectives of the problems we are working on to make sure we fully understand the issues and how they are playing out in practice. This helps us design and implement technically feasible policies in the most cost-effective way.

For example, by understanding how people and organisations interact with our policies, we can make the policies more effective and efficient. Research trials can help us understand the likely impact of our policies and improve their design before we implement them fully. This work also helps us to develop our knowledge to inform future policy decisions.

Read more about the different types of research we undertake.

Appraisal of policy options

We estimate the impacts of different options to help us make better decisions when developing policies. By bringing together a wide range of analytical experts, we can help identify the options that are most likely to maximise policy benefits and minimise costs. We can also better understand the wider effects of these policy choices.

Find out about impact assessments and the other tools we use to measure the potential impact of our policies.

Monitoring and evaluation

We monitor and evaluate policies to help understand how they are working in practice. We use this information to change policies (where necessary) so they work as effectively as possible, and to inform future policy decisions. It is essential that we assess whether our policies are meeting their objectives and understand why or why not, to improve both current and future policy development and implementation.

Read more about how DECC monitors and evaluates its policies.

Modelling and analytical projections

At DECC we use a range of models to inform our thinking in developing policies. These include models to evaluate alternative policy options and models to produce projections. We publish regular projections that cover energy, emissions and fossil fuel prices.

We use a number of these models to estimate the impacts of our policies and publish the results in the impact assessment for the policy. We have also published the 2050 calculator, which we use to look at long-term pathways and engage the wider public.

We are developing a modelling strategy and plan to publish more models and modelling outputs to allow others to use them and join the debate about the UK’s energy future.

Read more about our modelling projects and access our analytical projections data.

Statistics

We collect statistical data under laws and agreements including:

We also collect a range of non-statutory data from UK energy companies, which we also use to inform energy and climate change policies.

The statistics we collect help to inform the National Accounts produced by the Office for National Statistics.

DECC’s Statistics page has links to all our main statistical series.

Background

Scientific evidence on climate change has led to:

Who we’re working with

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an expert, independent, statutory public body that advises us on climate change issues. It was created to assess:

  • how the UK can best achieve its emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050
  • progress towards the statutory carbon budgets

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