Michel den Elzen

Senior Researcher Climate policy analyst
Full name
prof.dr. M.G.J. den Elzen

Michel den Elzen is senior climate policy analyst at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Den Elzen also works part-time as professor of International Climate Policy and Mitigation of Climate Change at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. His research focuses on international climate policy including mitigation action and costs, reduction proposals of the Paris Agreement and Copenhagen Accord, domestic climate and energy policies, the design of climate agreements and long-term mitigation scenarios.
He is a climate policy advisor of the EU delegation of the climate negotiations providing analytical support to the delegation and the European Commission DG CLIMA for the UNFCCC climate negotiations on these topics. He is project leader of “Development and application of global economy-wide climate change modelling capacity to support EU policy preparation” project for DG-CLIMA, including the partnership of seven European research institutes. He is also climate policy advisor for the Dutch delegation, and member of the European Expert groups, supporting the delegations of the European Member states. Under his leadership, the decision-support tool FAIR, to assess the emission and mitigation costs implications of future effort-sharing regimes for meeting the 2 degree climate target, has been developed.
Michel den Elzen is contributing author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (Chapter 4 of WGIII report). He was lead author of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Chapter 13 of WGIII report). He was contributing author of the IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment Reports, and the IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C. He is lead author of the UNEP emissions gap report 2024. He has also been lead author for all of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Emissions Gap reports, which have been published annually since 2010. These reports analyse the climate pledges and current policies of every nation in the world. He is member of the editorial board of the international journal Environmental Science & Policy, and author of more than 100 refereed journal articles, about 130 technical reports and many book sections.

  • 1984-1990: Mathematics (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Work experience
  • 2021-present: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • 2009-present: PBL
  • 2006-2008: MNP
  • 1991-2005: RIVM
  • 1990-1991: Maastricht University, Maastricht
Side activities
  • professor International Climate Policy and Mitigation of Climate Change at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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