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Climate Action

Modelling tools for EU analysis

Model-based scenario quantification supports the European Commission in impact assessments and analysis of policy options. For Commission analyses at European Union and Member State level, support for such analysis is provided by regular calls for tender.

A key part of the scenario modelling is the regular production of updated EU and Member State GHG emission reference scenarios under current trends and policies, in consultation with Member State experts. Policy scenario results provide analytical information to support the analysis of environmental, economic and social impacts, e.g. cost-effectiveness analysis and other complex analyses involving multiple objectives.

The current model suite has been used for the EU Reference Scenario 2020, the policy scenarios for Delivering the European Green Deal, the EU Climate Target Plan impact assessment, or the In-depth analysis of the EU Long-Term Strategy.

Aspects covered

The models cover all GHG emissions and removals:

  • Emissions: CO2 emissions from energy and processes (PRIMES), CH4, N2O, fluorinated greenhouse gases (GAINS), CO2 emissions from LULUCF (GLOBIOM-G4M), air pollution SO2, NOx, PM2.5-PM10, ground level ozone, VOC, NH3 (GAINS)
  • Emission reduction and removals: structural changes and technologies in the energy system and industrial processes (PRIMES), technological non-CO2 emission reduction measures (GAINS), changes in land use (GLOBIOM-G4M-CAPRI)
  • Time horizon: 1990 to 2050 (5-year time steps)
  • Geography: individually all EU Member States, and where relevant neighbouring countries.
  • Impacts: on energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry, land use, atmospheric dispersion, health, ecosystems (acidification, eutrophication), macro-economy with multiple sectors, employment and social welfare

Model inter-linkages

 The models are linked with each other in formally-defined ways to ensure consistency in the building of scenarios.


Models in brief


The PRIMES model is an EU energy system model which simulates energy consumption and the energy supply system. It is a partial equilibrium modelling system that simulates an energy market equilibrium in the European Union and each of its Member States. This includes consistent EU carbon price trajectories.

Decision making behaviour is forward looking and grounded in micro economic theory. The model also represents in an explicit and detailed way energy demand, supply and emission abatement technologies, and includes technology vintages.

The core model is complemented by a set of sub-modules, of which the transport sector module and the biomass supply module are described below separately in more detail. Industrial non-energy related CO2 emissions are covered by a sub-module so that total CO2 emissions can be projected. The model proceeds in five year steps and is for the years 2000 to 2015 calibrated to EUROSTAT data.

Developer: E3-Modelling


The PRIMES-TREMOVE Transport Model projects the evolution of demand for passengers and freight transport by transport mode and transport mean. It is essentially a dynamic system of multi-agent choices under several constraints, which are not necessarily binding simultaneously. The model consists of two main modules, the transport demand allocation module and the technology choice and equipment operation module. The two modules interact with each other and are solved simultaneously. Part of the model (e.g. the utility nested tree) was built following the TREMOVE model. Other parts, as for example the component on fuel consumption, follow the COPERT model.

When coupled with the rest of the PRIMES energy system model, interaction of the different energy sectors is taken into account in an iterative way.

Developer: E3-Modelling

PRIMES Biomass Supply

The biomass system model is linked with the PRIMES large scale energy model for Europe and can be either solved as a satellite model through a closed-loop process or as a stand-alone model.

It is an economic supply model that computes the optimal use of biomass/waste resources and investment in secondary and final transformation, so as to meet a given demand of final biomass/waste energy products, projected to the future by the rest of the PRIMES model. The biomass supply model determines the consumer prices of the final biomass/waste products used for energy purposes and also the consumption of other energy products in the production, transportation and processing of the biomass/waste products.

It serves as an interface between the PRIMES model and the GLOBIOM/G4M and the GAINS models.

Developer: E3-Modelling


The GAINS (Greenhouse gas and Air Pollution Information and Simulation) model is an integrated assessment model of air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions and their interactions. GAINS brings together data on economic development, the structure, control potential and costs of emission sources and the formation and dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere.

In addition to the projection and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions at detailed sub-sectorial level, GAINS assesses air pollution impacts on human health from fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone, vegetation damage caused by ground-level ozone, the acidification of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and excess nitrogen deposition of soils.

Model uses include the projection of non-CO2 GHG emissions and where relevant air pollutant emissions for EU scenarios, calibrated to UNFCCC emission data as historical data source.

Developer: IIASA


The Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) is a global recursive dynamic partial equilibrium model integrating the agricultural, bioenergy and forestry sectors with the aim to provide policy analysis on global issues concerning land use competition between the major land-based production sectors. Agricultural and forestry production as well as bioenergy production are modelled in a detailed way accounting for about 20 globally most important crops, a range of livestock production activities, forestry commodities as well as different energy transformation pathways.

GLOBIOM covers the world and provides a disaggregation of the EU into individual countries.

Model uses include the projection of emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). For the forestry sector, emissions and removals as well as biomass supply are projected by the Global Forestry Model (G4M), a geographically explicit agent-based model that assesses afforestation-deforestation-forest management decisions.

Developer: IIASA


CAPRI is an economic partial equilibrium model developed by European Commission research funds. Operational since more than a decade, it supports decision making related to the Common Agricultural Policy and Environmental policy related to agriculture based on sound scientific quantitative analysis.

CAPRI is only viable due to its Pan-European network of researchers which based on an open source approach tender together for projects, develop and maintain the model, apply it for policy impact assessment, write scientific publications and consult clients based on its results.

Model uses include the provision of consistent agricultural activity projections for EU scenarios.

Developer: Eurocare GmbH, JRC, and others


The GEM-E3 (World and Europe) model is an applied general equilibrium model, simultaneously representing the whole world economy, its major regions and all EU Member States, linked through endogenous bilateral trade flows and environmental flows.

GEM-E3 aims at covering the interactions between the economy, the energy system and the environment. It is a comprehensive model of the economy, the productive sectors, consumption, price formation of commodities, labour and capital, investment and dynamic growth. The model is dynamic, recursive over time, driven by accumulation of capital and equipment. Technology progress is explicitly represented in the production function.

Model uses include the provision of Reference scenario macro assumptions. It is updated regularly using the latest revisions of the GTAP database and Eurostat statistics for the EU Member States.

Developer: E3-Modelling, JRC and others


The POLES-JRC model is used to provide the global energy and climate policy context.

POLES-JRC is a global energy model that covers the entire energy balance, from final energy demand, transformation and power production to primary supply and trade of energy commodities across countries and regions. In addition, it represents the evolution of economy-wide GHG emissions: endogenously for the energy industry sectors and through linkage with specialist models for GHG emissions from land-use and agriculture (global version of GLOBIOM-G4M), and air pollution (global version of GAINS).

The model includes a detailed geographical representation, with a total of 39 non-EU regions and countries covering the world; it includes all G20 countries, detailed OECD, and the main non-OECD economies. It operates on a yearly time step, allowing integrating recent developments.

The POLES-JRC model is well suited to evaluate the evolution of energy demand in the main world economies and international markets as well as to assess international climate and energy policies. The POLES-JRC model has participated in numerous research projects and has contributed to peer-reviewed analyses published widely.

POLES-JRC provides fossil fuel price trajectories used as EU import price assumptions in the PRIMES and GEM-E3 models.

Developer: JRC, Enerdata, University of Grenoble (GAEL)