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EU funds research project CircoMod EU for modeling the circular economy to mitigate climate change

Published: 21st March 2022 Last updated: 21st March 2022

With increasing populations and expanding wealth, global material consumption has seen a precipitous increase. These materials are often discarded after use (the so-called linear model). Moreover, the massive use and production of materials are also associated with the extensive use of energy. The emissions from structural materials are often difficult to decarbonise. As such, high levels of material consumption pose a major challenge for meeting climate targets. In this context, the circular economy (CE) has been presented as an alternative to the current linear model.

A circular economic system that aims to reduce primary material use (in addition to energy efficiency and fuel shifts) can address both Greenhous Gas emissions (GHG)s and increase resource efficiency. However, current GHG mitigation models and scenarios that inform climate policymakers do not generally include circular economy (CE) options. They also do not cover the possible synergies of the CE with other societal goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), nor the challenges involved in rearranging value chains and consumer behaviour.

CircoMod: circular economy modelling for climate change mitigation

CircoMod, , addresses these challenges by developing a new generation of advanced models and scenarios that will assess how CE can reduce future GHGs and material use. The project brings together a unique consortium of leading research teams from different disciplines, including industrial ecology and material flow modelling, process-oriented integrated assessment modelling, and macro-economic modelling. It aims for a breakthrough in integrating CE and GHG mitigation assessments by a) developing an analytical framework that maps circular economy strategies to existing influential climate scenarios; b) providing robust and timely CE data in an open repository; and c) improving the representation of the CE in leading models used by European and global institutions, while strengthening links between the models. It will provide input to international assessments such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Resource Panel (IRP).

The EU research fund Horizon Europe has awarded 5 million euros to the project. The consortium consists of twelve partners from different EU countries. Professor Reyer Gerlagh (Tilburg Sustainability Center - TSC) will bring into this project his decades long experience with the General Equilibrium Models to provide better understanding, description, simulation, and assessment of policies on the nexus between the circular economy and climate and environment. Asel Doranova (TSC) will help with building policy dialogues with businesses, policy makers, NGOs and international organizations.     

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

Note to editors

For more information on CircoMod please contact Reyer Gerlagh (R.Gerlagh@tilburguniversity.edu) and Asel Doranova (a.a.doranova@tilburguniversity.edu)