The Y factor for Climate Change abatement – A method to rank options beyond abatement costs

E. J.L. Chappin*, M. Soana, C. E.C. Arensman, F. Swart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


The tools available to translate climate targets into abatement actions are mainly based on costs and technical feasibility. Options for greenhouse gas abatement span all sectors, all countries, and involve a huge variety of technologies. The reasons for abatement to be realized, or not, are diverse and complex. In particular, the political discussion why many affordable options do not materialize is naïve and ad hoc. Here we show the Y factor, an approach for a quick scan of abatement options against a set of prominent abatement barriers. We define 12 factors which capture a broad set of barriers related to 1) costs and financing, 2) multi-actor complexity, 3) physical interdependencies and 4) behaviour. We rank 24 abatement options using an explicit, but coarse scoring for these barriers. We show that all abatement options have implementation barriers, many of which may well drastically impact their implementation beyond what would be expected from their abatement costs. The analysis implies that the relation between abatement costs and the barriers withholding implementation is not straightforward and calls for a deliberate policy debate on prioritization and policy intervention. The Y factor structures such a policy debate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111894
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Adoption barriers
  • Behaviour
  • Climate abatement
  • Climate and energy policy
  • Investments
  • Multi-actor complexity

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