VENICE, ITALY – Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), an international research organization devoted to the evaluation of climate policies, announced the launch of its Venice center today. The Venice center is CPI’s third office, following San Francisco and Berlin; additional offices are planned for Beijing, New Delhi, and Rio de Janeiro. Housed within the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), a leading Italian economics research institute, the CPI office in Venice will collaborate closely with FEEM’s economists and environmental analysts.

CPI, established with funding from George Soros and headquartered in San Francisco, will be primarily devoted to evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of local, national, and global climate policies. Key research questions will be: What effects have climate policies had thus far? And how can they be made more effective? CPI will also serve as a bridge between market participants trying to respond to a shift to a carbon-constrained landscape and the policymakers whose policy decisions govern and create incentives for those market participants. “CPI will study climate policies in order to help governments and international organizations improve them,” said Professor Thomas C. Heller, the founding director of CPI. “We must identify flaws in the implementation of such policies early on if we hope to achieve climate protection goals.”

Prof. Heller, who has been an economist and law professor at Stanford University since 1979, is an expert on international climate control, and global energy use, and the interaction of government and nongovernmental organizations in the developing world.

“CPI measures and explains the gaps between nations’ ambitions for low-carbon growth and their actual performance as well as nations’ potential for low carbon growth and their policy ambitions,” Dr. Barbara Buchner, the director of Venice’s new CPI office, said. “It’s an exciting challenge, and one that we look forward to addressing together with economists, policy makers, business leaders, and financial experts in Italy, Europe, and across the world.”

While CPI aims at establishing itself as a new and important player in the Italian and European landscape, the aspirations of Venice’s CPI office are not only related to the Italian and Mediterranean context but are part of a global organization that has wide ambitions. The CPI office in Venice will be part of creating a global platform in collaboration with FEEM, the International Center for Climate Governance and other partners and will allow Italy to play an increasing role by having a global platform for low carbon growth issues. Amongst others, CPI Venice will make contributions to global issues such as multilateral finance. Finance is a main challenge to ensure a path towards a more sustainable future, representing one of the essential reasons that influence the success of policy implementation. The CPI Venice office will therefore work closely with the finance and business communities to understand how emerging climate policies create and affect markets that allocate investment capital.

Dr. Buchner, an economist who for the last three years worked as a Senior Energy and Environment Analyst at the International Energy Agency and previously was Senior Researcher at FEEM and a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an expert in market-based mechanisms and other policy approaches to GHG mitigation as well as the politics related to climate negotiations.

“CPI and FEEM are complementing each other – FEEM is a world leader in modeling and studies a wide range of environmental, energy and global economic issues and CPI builds bridges between the academic, policy, business and finance communities,” said Prof. Carlo Carraro, President, University of Venice, and Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board, FEEM.

CPI and FEEM are holding a two-day international conference in Venice in order to inaugurate the new CPI office as well as the International Center for Climate Governance, a joint project between FEEM and Fondazione Giorgio Cini. In follow up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the opening event for the centers is dedicated to the role of public and private financing mechanisms for climate change policy.

Venice’s CPI center – The first research topics

Tracking multilateral climate finance. Against the background of financing needs, amongst others the fast track funding as established in the Copenhagen Accord, this stream of research will assess and diagnose multilateral finance, evaluating whether financing practices work and whether they are new and additional. After building up a comprehensive database of available funding sources and practices, ideas around the transparency, accountability and productivity of investments in transnational climate finance will be developed. The overall aim is to develop a clearinghouse of information on climate finance in order to learn the lessons both from success stories and failures related to financing low-carbon growth.

Lessons learned in infrastructure finance.

A variety of existing and emerging financing practices, both public and private, are available in the context of infrastructure finance. Can we learn from these experiences to pave the way for a low-carbon future? The main question is whether and how finance contributes to enforce policies – i.e., the buildup of infrastructure – effectively. The research will build upon some relevant case studies of infrastructure development in the renewable energy sector, both at the national and international levels, and will analyze experiences of financing practices in other areas, in order to understand the main factors influencing successful investments.


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