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Theme sites

PBL hosts a number of thematic subsites. These websites are stand-alone sections of the PBL website, presenting information on scientific theme(s) or models, hosted at PBL. For information on policy related subject we refer to the topics.

Biomass, wishes and limitations

Biomass is an indispensable resource for a clean Dutch economy, as it is in many other countries. The organic material is used as a replacement for fossil resources. It thus, for example, reduces resource use and CO2 emissions related to energy. It is, however, all but simple. Not all biomass is equally sustainable. There are limits to the amount of biomass that can be produced without, for instance, harming biodiversity or food supply. What are the advantages and disadvantages of biomass? And where and how could it be best utilised? PBL has made calculations for many of these aspects, listing the pros and cons and showing where the uncertainties lie. Additional information can be found in the explanations that also contain links to background documents with further details.

The Climate Pledge-Act-Review tool

The Climate Pledge-Act-Review tool shows the impact of the emission reduction proposals (pledges) and policies, per country, on greenhouse gas emission projections for 2020. More specifically, the tool shows the effect of:

  • Pledges: national and global greenhouse gas emission projections for 2020, assuming that countries' pledges will be fully achieved;
  • Actions: the impact of the most effective national climate and energy policies, such as carbon taxes, feed-in tariffs, or standards on emission levels of 2020, for 19 major emitting countries and regions.

The projections show total emissions per country, emissions per capita, and emissions per unit of income. The different indicators provide countries with information on how their contribution compares to those of others (Review).

Are global CO2 emissions still rising?

Yes, CO2 emissions are still increasing. In 2012, emissions increased by 1.1% - whereas over the last ten years the annual increase was on average 3%.


The EU FP7 project PATHWAYS is a unique project that explores the possibilities for transitions to a low-carbon, sustainable Europe. The essence of PATHWAYS is that it combines the analysis of different scientific approaches: integrated assessment modelling, transition science research, and participative action research. By combining and coordinating information from these different approaches for selected cases, PATHWAYS aims at providing better policy advice for European, Member State and local policy‐maker.

Nature Outlook 2016

Most EU citizens are worried about nature and biodiversity loss. The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 aims to halt the loss of biodiversity in the European Union by 2020, and to improve the state of species, habitats and ecosystems and the services they provide. For 2015, a mid-term evaluation by the European Commission of the Biodiversity Strategy is planned, as well as a fitness check of current EU nature legislation. To help prepare for the discussion on EU nature policy post 2020, PBL has started work on a Nature Outlook: visions for nature in the EU. In this Outlook, PBL will explore desirable futures for nature in the EU, providing ideas to enrich the Biodiversity Strategy. The Outlook will serve as input for an informal ministers conference in April 2016, during the Dutch EU presidency.

Roads from Rio+20: pathways to achieve global sustainability goals by 2050

Sufficient food for the entire world population while conserving biodiversity. Universal access to modern energy sources while limiting global climate change and air pollution. The report Roads from Rio+20 shows that the potential exists for achieving international sustainability goals on hunger, food production, biodiversity, and energy and climate in the next few decades.


The EDGAR information system is a joint project of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC-IES, Ispra, Italy) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and stores global emission inventories of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from anthropogenic sources including halocarbons and aerosols both on a per country and region basis as well as on a grid.

European Regional Competitiveness Scoreboard

The European regional competitiveness scoreboard offers a powerful tool for analyzing a region’s competitive position and its position in global economic networks using a visualization of actual regional data. It determines the competitors of firms in regions, the position of these firms in interregional and international trade, and positions regions vis-à-vis their competitors. The purpose of this tool is to carefully analyze a region’s economic position such that a regional economic development strategy can be built on a sound analysis of regional assets and technology. It thereby enables (regional) policy makers to use this information to develop an evidence-based scientific regional smart specialization strategy. The tool makes use of the newest data visualization technology to present all different aspects of interregional competitiveness. The use of the tool is largely intuitively although there is a report on the regional competitiveness scoreboard with examples of how to use the tool available in Dutch and in English.


The FAIR model is a tool to analyze environmental and costs implications of climate regimes. The policy decision-support-tool FAIR aims to assess the environmental and abatement costs implications of climate regimes for differentiation of future commitments. The model links long-term climate targets and global reduction objectives with regional emissions allowances and abatement costs, accounting for the used Kyoto Mechanisms.


GEIA is the Global Emissions Inventory Activity. At the PBL-GEIA website the GEIA inventories on NMVOC Compound Groups, Ammonia (NH3) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) reside. These datasets have been constructed in line with the corresponding EDGAR inventories, which have been compiled by TNO and PBL.


The Global Integrated Sustainability MOdel (GISMO) is a modelling framework to analyse developments in Quality of Life in relation to social, economic and environmental changes (the three sustainability domains: People-Planet-Profit). The GISMO model enables analysis of the effects of specific policies on human development, such as poverty, health and education, and the interlinkage with the environment.

GLOBIO3: A global biodiversity model

The GLOBIO3 model uses quantitative relationships between environmental pressure factors and biodiversity, based on state-of-the-art knowledge from literature. By combining the results related to individual pressures, the overall change in biodiversity is calculated in terms of Mean Species Abundance of original species (MSA) and the extent of eco­systems.

The GLOBIO consortium is a collaboration between PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), UNEP GRID-Arendal and UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The consortium started in 2003. The main output of the consortium is the GLOBIO modelling framework, with the aim to support integrated global assessments.

Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication

The PBL Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication offers assistance to employees of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) in mapping and communicating uncertainties in environmental and nature assessments. In the Guidance special attention is paid to the following parts of assessments: problem framing, involvement of stakeholders, selection of indicators, appraisal of knowledge base, mapping and assessment of relevant uncertainties and reporting of uncertainty information.


The History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE) presents not only (gridded) time series for the last 300 years of population and land use, but also various other indicators such as GDP, Value Added, Livestock, Private Consumption, GHG emissions, and Industrial production data.


IMAGE is an ecological-environmental framework that simulates the environmental consequences of human activities worldwide. It represents interactions between society, the biosphere and the climate system to assess sustainability issues like climate change, biodiversity and human well-being. The objective of the version of IMAGE described here (version 2.4 released in 2006) is to explore the long-term dynamics of global change as the result of interacting demographic, technological, economic, social, cultural and political factors.