Start of Project 09/2018
End of Project 02/2022

There is a need for regulatory compliance with nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and greenhouse gas inventory processes to ensure an effective international climate policy. The COMPLIANCE project investigates which systematic and country-specific factors influence compliance with national climate targets. On the basis of theoretical, empirical, and experimental findings, the project supports the development of new ideas about compliance and enforcement mechanisms and generates advice for policy-makers.

Learn more

Update on the Project's Progress

COMPLIANCE has produced a string of insights: One is that international climate policy experts differ markedly in their assessment of how credible countries’ compliance with national climate targets is (see Figure). This is the result of a survey among hundreds of climate scientists and negotiators. Despite this skepticism, COMPLIANCE also found reasons for optimism. For example, the European Effort Sharing Decision induced emission re­ductions at the firm level and appears to have moved countries with no stringent targets towards greater reductions. In fact, at least within the EU, mis­reporting of installation-level GHG emissions appears limited. And the project’s experimental research shows that having credible parties in the negotiation induces more cooperation all around. In addition, the scope of the Enhanced Transparency Framework to enhance compliance is still not exhausted, e.g. through ‘meritorious competition’. COMPLIANCE has kept up with the rapidly evolving discourse of using Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms as a compliance tool. According to COMPLIANCE’s surveys, this enjoys support among experts from OECD countries.  Yet, current EU proposals suffer from a credibility gap of their own, due to a lack of feasibility. Based on structural modeling, COMPLIANCE proposes an alternative that is simpler, yet effective. 


Dannenberg, A., and Gallier, C. (2019), The Choice of Institutions to Solve Cooperation Problems: A Survey of Experimental Research, ZEW Discussion Paper Nr. 19-021, Mannheim.

Gavard, C., and Kirat, D. (2020), Short-Term Impacts of Carbon Offsetting on Emissions Trading Schemes: Empirical Insights from the EU Experience, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 20-058, Mannheim.

Barrett, S., and Dannenberg, A. (2021). The decision to link trade agreements to the supply of global public goods.

Chlond, B., Gavard, C., and Jeuck, L. (2021), Supporting Residential Energy Conservation Under Constrained Public Budget: Cost-Effectiveness and Redistribution Analysis of Public Financial Schemes in France, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 21-056, Mannheim.

Goeschl, T., Oestreich, M., and Solda, A. (2021). Compliance and Truthfulness: Leveraging Peer Information with Competitive Audit Mechanisms. Available at SSRN 3978789.