This paper provides a survey of the policies and measures that are associated to low carbon societies in the recent literature, both peer-reviewed and “grey”. A first section focuses on carbon pricing, the most common policy measure represented. It starts by analysing the somewhat confusing use made of carbon pricing expertise in policy reports emanating from the French and the British governments, then reviews some modelling results on carbon pricing in a “second best” world, and concludes on the acknowledged limits of this central policy instrument. A second section lists an impressive collection of more focused policy instruments that are advocated in both governmental and non-governmental literature. It insists on the contrast between the high degree of precision of some of these policy proposals, and the absence of scientific assessment of their impacts, either from an environmental or an economic point of view. A third section concludes on the research agenda emerging from this hiatus between the large body of scientific literature devoted to carbon pricing, and the policy relevance of much more focused policy instruments.

This seminar has been jointly organized by FEEM and IEFE, Bocconi University.