Monitoring Energy Policy

Living reference work entry


Policy monitoring has been gaining importance in energy and climate governance. It is currently being heralded as a key solution for coordinating energy governance not only regionally in the emerging Energy Union in the European Union (EU), but also globally in the Paris Agreement on climate change. The core idea is that transparency through monitoring will incentivize actors to adopt policy pathways toward mutually agreed long-term energy and climate policy goals. In addition, monitoring of key indicators (e.g., use of certain kinds of energy), in particular, sectoral contexts, may be a necessary precursor to evaluation and improved regulation. This chapter unpacks the concept of monitoring, reviews the emergence of energy and climate policy monitoring in the EU, and then details experiences with concrete monitoring regimes in different settings related to energy and climate policy, ranging from the United Nations (UN) to the EU, as well as nation states and nongovernmental actors. In so doing, it highlights various strands of emerging research and knowledge on monitoring structures, steering effects and costs, but also the need for further work, especially regarding usage and impact. Issues related to politics, coordination, and resources are likely to challenge monitoring regimes; further investigation should focus on the efficacy of monitoring systems, which many assume, but few have researched.


Policy monitoring Energy policy Climate policy UNFCCC EU Transparency 



We thank the participants of the 2018 UACES Annual Conference in Bath, UK, and especially Dr. Tomas Maltby, for constructive comments. Feedback from the handbook editors has considerably strengthened this chapter. Nils Bruch provided very helpful research assistance. JS acknowledges support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Reference: 03SFK4P0, Consortium ENavi, Kopernikus) and TR from the Horizon 2020 COP21 RIPPLES project (Reference: 730427).


  1. AEA, ECOFYS, Fraunhofer, & ICCS. (2009). Quantification of the effects on greenhouse gas emissions of policies and measures: Final Report (No. ENV.C.1/SER/2007/0019). Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  2. Aldy, J. E. (2017). Policy surveillance in the G-20 fossil fuel subsidies agreement: Lessons for climate policy. Climatic Change, 144(1), 97–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aldy, J. E. (2018). Policy surveillance: Its role in monitoring, reporting, evaluating and learning. In A. Jordan, D. Huitema, H. van Asselt, & J. Forster (Eds.), Governing climate change: Polycentricity in action? (pp. 210–227). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Annecke, W. (2008). Monitoring and evaluation of energy for development: The good, the bad and the questionable in M&E practice. Energy Policy, 36(8), 2839–2845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Asmelash, H. B. (2017). Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in the G20: Progress, challenges, and ways forward. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  6. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria et al. (2015). Development of a global data collection system for maritime transport (No. IMO Doc MEPC 68/4/1). London: International Maritime Organization, MEPC 68th Session.Google Scholar
  7. Ausubel, J. H., & Victor, D. G. (1992). Verification of international environmental agreements. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 17(1), 1–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bisset, R., & Tomlinson, P. (1988). Monitoring and auditing of impacts. In P. Wathern (Ed.), Environmental impact assessment: Theory and practice (pp. 117–128). London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  9. Breitschopf, B., Schlomann, B., Voswinkel, F. & Broc, J. S. (2018). Identifying current knowledge, suggestions and conclusions from existing literature. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  10. Bürgin, A. (2015). National binding renewable energy targets for 2020, but not for 2030 anymore: Why the European Commission developed from a supporter to a brakeman. Journal of European Public Policy, 22(5), 690–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bussmann, W. (2005). Typen und Terminologie von Evaluationsklauseln. LeGes, 16(1), 97–102.Google Scholar
  12. Carrington, D. (2018). Carmakers’ gaming of emissions tests ‘costing drivers billions’. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  13. Climate Change Act. (2008). Retrieved from Accessed 3 May 2019.
  14. Climate Change Committee. (2018). Reducing UK emissions – 2018 progress report to Parliament. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  15. Contact Committee of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the European Union. (2016). 2016. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  16. Dagnet, Y., van Asselt, H., Cavalheiro, G., Rocha, M. T., Bisiaux, A. & Cogswell, N. (2017). Designing the enhanced transparency framework, part 2: Review under the Paris Agreement. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  17. Dunn, W. N. (2018). Monitoring observed policy outcomes. In W. N. Dunn (Ed.), Public policy analysis (6th ed., pp. 250–319). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. ECCM. (2003). Policy audit of UK climate change policies and programmes: Report to the Sustainable Development Commission. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Centre for Climate Change Management.Google Scholar
  19. Environmental Audit Committee. (2013). Energy subsidies. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  20. European Commission. (2016). Impact assessment accompanying the document ‘Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the governance of the Energy Union (No. SWD (2016) 394 final). Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  21. European Court of Auditors. (2018). Ex-post review of EU legislation: A well-established system, but incomplete (No. 16/2018). Luxembourg: European Union.Google Scholar
  22. European Environment Agency. (2018). EEA database on climate change mitigation policies and measures in Europe. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  23. Eurostat. (2018). Energy statistics – Annual, monthly, & short-term monthly. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  24. Farmer, A. M. (2012). Monitoring and limiting greenhouse gases. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  25. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. (2014). Die Energie der Zukunft: Erster Fortschrittsbericht zur Energiewende. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  26. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. (2018). Monitoring the energy transition. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  27. Feldman, D. L., & Wilt, C. A. (1996). Evaluating the implementation of state-level global climate change programs. Journal of Environment & Development, 5(1), 46–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gençsü, I., & Hino, M. (2015). Raising ambition to reduce international aviation and maritime emissions. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  29. Gençsü, I., McLynn, M., Runkel, M., Trilling, M., van der Burg, L., Worrall, L., … Zerzawy, F. (2017). Phase-out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  30. Gijsen, A., & Lohuis, J. O. (2005). From reference to reality: Methods for explaining emission trends. Environmental Sciences, 2(1), 47–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1981). Effective evaluation. San Francisco: Josey-Bass Limited.Google Scholar
  32. Gupta, J., & Ringius, L. (2001). The EU’s climate leadership: reconciling ambition and reality. International Environmental Agreements, 1(2), 281–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gupta, A., Lövbrand, E., Turnhout, E., & Vijge, M. J. (2012). In pursuit of carbon accountability: The politics of REDD measuring, reporting and verification systems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(6), 726–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Haigh, N. (1996). Climate change policies and politics in the European Community. In T. O’Riordan & J. Jäger (Eds.), Politics of climate change: A European perspective (pp. 155–185). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Harvey, F. (2018). Progress and problems as UN climate change talks end with a deal. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  36. Hildén, M., Jordan, A. J., & Rayner, T. (2014). Climate policy innovation: Developing an evaluation perspective. Environmental Politics, 23(5), 884–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hill, M., & Varone, F. (2017). The public policy process. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Hoerber, T. C. (2013). The origins of energy and environmental policy in Europe: The beginnings of a European environmental conscience. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Howes, T. (2010). The EU’s new renewable energy Directive (2009/28/EC). In S. Oberthür, M. Pallemaerts, & C. Roche Kelly (Eds.), The new climate policies of the European Union: Internal legislation and climate diplomacy (pp. 117–150). Brussels: Brussels University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Hsu, A. (2015). Data transparency: New dynamic at COP-21 in Paris. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  41. Hsu, A., Xu, K., & Moffat, A. (2015). Carbon statistics: China should come clean on emissions. Nature, 523(7559), 158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Huitema, D., Jordan, A. J., Massey, E., Rayner, T., Van Asselt, H., Haug, C., … Stripple, J. (2011). The evaluation of climate policy: Theory and emerging practice in Europe. Policy Sciences, 44(2), 179–198.Google Scholar
  43. Hyvarinen, J. (1999). The European Community’s Monitoring Mechanism for CO2 and other greenhouse gases: The Kyoto Protocol and other recent developments. Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, 8(2), 191–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Iatridis, M., Tourkolias, C., Jamek, A., Pickl, N., Andersen, J., Kjaer, T., … Struss, B. (2015). Synthesis report on M&V schemes and coordination mechanisms in EU countries. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  45. International Council on Clean Transportation. (2017). From laboratory to road: A 2017 update of official and “real world” fuel consumption and CO2 values for passenger cars in Europe. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  46. International Maritime Organization. (2015). Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  47. Jordan, A. J., & Rayner, T. (2010). The evolution of climate change policy in the EU: An historical overview. In A. J. Jordan, D. Huitema, H. van Asselt, T. Rayner, & F. Berkhout (Eds.), Climate change policy in the European Union: Confronting the dilemmas of mitigation and adaptation? (pp. 52–80). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jordan, A. J., Huitema, D., Van Asselt, H., Rayner, T., & Berkhout, F. (2010). Climate change policy in the European Union: Confronting the dilemmas of mitigation and adaptation? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kanellakis, M., Martinopoulos, G., & Zachariadis, T. (2013). European energy policy – A review. Energy Policy, 62, 1020–1030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Knodt, M. (2018). EU energy policy. In H. Heinelt & S. Münch (Eds.), Handbook of European policies: Interpretive approaches to the EU (pp. 224–240). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Knodt, M., & Ringel, M. (2018). The European Commission as a policy shaper–harder soft governance in the energy union. In J. Ege, M. W. Bauer, & S. Becker (Eds.), The European Commission in turbulent times (pp. 181–206). Baden-Baden: Nomos.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Koplow, D. (2018). Defining and measuring fossil fuel fubsidies. In J. Skovgaard & H. van Asselt (Eds.), The politics of fossil fuel subsidies and their reform (pp. 23–46). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lauber, V. (2017). Germany’s transition to renewable energy. In T. C. Lehmann (Ed.), The geopolitics of global energy: The new cost of plenty (pp. 153–182). London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  54. Leeuw, F. L. (2010). Benefits and costs of evaluation: An essay. Zeitschrift für Evaluation, 9(2), 211–227.Google Scholar
  55. Lehtonen, M. (2015). Indicators: Tools for informing, monitoring or controlling? In A. Jordan & J. Turnpenny (Eds.), The tools of policy formulation: Actors, capacities, venues and effects (pp. 76–99). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  56. Levin, K., Cashore, B., Bernstein, S., & Auld, G. (2012). Overcoming the tragedy of super wicked problems: Constraining our future selves to ameliorate global climate change. Policy Sciences, 45(2), 123–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Menon, S., Karl, J., & Wignaraja, K. (2009). Handbook on planning, monitoring and evaluating for development results. New York: UNDP Evaluation Office.Google Scholar
  58. Mickwitz, P., Aix, F., Beck, S., Carss, D., Ferrand, N., Görg, C., … Kuindersma, W. (2009). Climate policy integration, coherence and governance. Helsinki: Partnership for European Environmental Research.Google Scholar
  59. Mitchell, B. R. (2007). International historical statistics: Europe 1750–2005. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  60. National Audit Office. (2007). Cost-effectiveness analysis in the 2006 climate change programme review. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  61. National Audit Office. (2013). The levy control framework. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  62. National Audit Office. (2017). Hinkley Point C. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  63. Neukirch, M. (2018). Die Energiewende in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1974–2017) –Reform, Revolution, oder Restauration? Sozialpolitik.Ch, 1(1), 1.3.Google Scholar
  64. Niederberger, A. A., & Kimble, M. (2011). MRV under the UN climate regime: Paper tiger or catalyst for continual improvement? Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Management, 1(1), 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Oberthür, S., Hermwille, L., Khandekar, G., Obergassel, W., Rayner, T., Wyns, T., … Melkie, M. (2017). Key concepts, core challenges and governance functions of international climate governance. Project Ripples (COP21: Results and implications for pathways and policies for low emissions European societies). Retrieved from Accessed 3 May 2019.
  66. OECD-DAC. (2002). Glossary of key terms in evaluation and results based management. Paris: DAC Network on Development Evaluation, OECD.Google Scholar
  67. Öko-Institut, Cambridge Economics, AMEC, Harmelink Consulting, & TNO. (2012). Ex-post quantification of the effects and costs of policies and measures (No. CLIMA.A.3/SER/2010/0005). Berlin: Öko-Institut.Google Scholar
  68. Peeters, M. (2006a). Enforcement of the EU greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme. In M. Peeters & K. Deketelaere (Eds.), EU climate change policy: the challenge of new regulatory initiatives (pp. 169–187). Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Peeters, M. (2006b). Inspection and market-based regulation through emissions trading-the striking reliance on self-monitoring, self-reporting and verification. Utrecht Law Review, 2, 177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Rayner, T., Shawoo, Z., Hermwille, L., Obergassel, W., Mersmann, F., Asche, F., … Zamarioli, L. (2018). Evaluating the adequacy of the outcome of COP21 in the context of the development of the broader international climate regime complex. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  71. Ringel, M. (2017). Energy efficiency policy governance in a multi-level administration structure – Evidence from Germany. Energy Efficiency, 10(3), 753–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Ringel, M., & Knodt, M. (2018). The governance of the European Energy Union: Efficiency, effectiveness and acceptance of the Winter Package 2016. Energy Policy, 112, 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Rösch, C., Bräutigam, K., Kopfmüller, J., & Stelzer, V. (2017). Indikatorensystem zur Bewertung des deutschen Energiesystems und der Energiewende. In J. Schippl, A. Grunwald, & O. Renn (Eds.), Die Energiewende verstehen-orientieren-gestalten (pp. 351–370). Baden-Baden: Nomos.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rosenow, J., Forster, D., Kampman, B., Leguijt, C., Pato, Z., Kaar, A., & Eyre, N. (2015). Study evaluating the national policy measures and methodologies to implement Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Study for the European Commission. Retrieved from Accessed 3 May 2019.
  75. Russel, D., Turnpenny, J., & Rayner, T. (2013). Reining in the executive? Delegation, evidence, and parliamentary influence on environmental public policy. Environment and Planning. C, Government & Policy, 31(4), 619–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sabel, C. F. (1993). Learning by monitoring: The institutions of economic development. In N. J. Smelser & R. Swedberg (Eds.), The handbook of economic sociology (pp. 137–165). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Schoenefeld, J. J., & Jordan, A. J. (2017). Governing policy evaluation? Towards a new typology. Evaluation, 23(3), 274–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Schoenefeld, J. J., & Jordan, A. J. (2019). Environmental policy evaluation in the EU: Between learning, accountability, and political opportunities? Environmental Politics, 28(2), 365–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Schoenefeld, J. J., Hildén, M., & Jordan, A. J. (2018). The challenges of monitoring national climate policy: Learning lessons from the EU. Climate Policy, 18(1), 118–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schumacher, K., di Nucci, M. R., Görlach, B., Grünig, M., Heldwein, C., Repenning, J., … Ziesing, H. J. (2014). Evaluation as a cornerstone of policies and measures for the Energiewende. In A. Brunnengräber, & M. R. di Nucci (Eds.), Im Hürdenlauf zur Energiewende: Von Transformationen, Reformen und Innovationen (pp. 369–385). Wiesbaden: Springer.Google Scholar
  81. Scott, J., Smith, T., Rehmatulla, N., & Milligan, B. (2017). The promise and limits of private standards in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. Journal of Environmental Law, 29(2), 231–262.Google Scholar
  82. Skovgaard, J., & van Asselt, H. (2018). The politics of fossil fuel subsidies and their reform: An introduction. In J. Skovgaard & H. van Asselt (Eds.), The politics of fossil fuel subsidies and their reform (pp. 3–20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Statistical Office of the United Nations. (1952). World energy supplies in selected years, 1929–1950. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  84. Stefanini, S. (2018). China open to ‘uniform’ climate rules, sidestepping old allies. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  85. Tosun, J. (2012). Environmental monitoring and enforcement in Europe: A review of empirical research. Environmental Policy and Governance, 22(6), 437–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Tourkolias, C., & Iatridis, M. (2016). Policy recommendations on Monitoring & Verification schemes in EU. Retrieved from Accessed 18 January 2019.
  87. UNEP. (2017). The emissions gap report 2017 – A UN environment synthesis report. Nairobi: UNEP.Google Scholar
  88. Vedung, E. (1997). Public policy and program evaluation. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  89. Verschuuren, J., & Floor, F. (2014). Report on the legal implementation of the EU ETS at Member State level. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  90. Waterman, R. W., & Wood, B. D. (1993). Policy monitoring and policy analysis. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 12(4), 685–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wettestad, J. (2000). The complicated development of EU climate policy. In J. Gupta & M. J. Grubb (Eds.), Climate change and European leadership (pp. 25–45). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wettestad, J. (2007). Monitoring and verification. In D. Bodansky, J. Brunnée, & E. Hey (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (pp. 974–994). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Whitley, S., Chen, H., Doukas, A., Gençsü, I., Gerasimchuk, I., Touchette, Y., & Worrall, L. (2018). G7 fossil fuel subsidy scorecard. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  94. Wirths, D., Rosser, C., Horber-Papazian, K., & Mader, L. (2017). Über die gesetzliche Verankerung von Evaluation: Die Verteilung von Evaluationsklauseln und deren Auswirkungen auf kantonaler Ebene. In F. Sager, T. Widmer, & A. Balthasar (Eds.), Evaluation im politischen System der Schweiz (pp. 155–188). Zürich: NZZ Libro.Google Scholar
  95. Wong, E. (2017). China wants to be a climate change watchdog, but can it lead by example? Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  96. Wörlen, C., Rieseberg, S., & Lorenz, R. (2014). A national experiment without evaluation or monitoring and evaluating the Energiewende? Berlin: International Energy Policy and Programme Evaluation Conference.Google Scholar
  97. WWF. (2016). Smart cash for the climate: Maximising auctioning revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  98. WWF-UK. (2017). Grounded: Ten reasons why international offsetting won’t solve Heathrow’s climate change problem. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  99. Yamide, D., & Cogswell, N. (2018). At COP24 in Poland, negotiators must lay down ground rules for the Paris Agreement. Retrieved from Accessed 18 Jan 2019.
  100. Yamin, F., & Depledge, J. (2004). The international climate change regime: a guide to rules, institutions and procedures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Ziesing, H. J. (2014). Monitoring der Energiewende – Ist Deutschland schon auf dem Zielpfad? In A. Brunnengräber & M. R. di Nucci (Eds.), Im Hürdenlauf zur Energiewende: Von Transformationen, Reformen und Innovationen (pp. 353–368). Wiesbaden: Springer.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Political ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations