Michel den Elzen is senior climate policy analyst at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. 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.
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, and he developed, together with IPCC lead author Dr. Niklas Höhne, the table in the IPCC AR4 report that is the basis for the reduction range of -25% to -40% below 1990 levels by 2020. He is lead author of the UNEP emissions gap report 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 for two Chapters on ‘Pre-2020 trend and progress towards the 2020 pledges’ and ‘The emissions gap, 2030 trends and ambition”. 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 (Free University, Amsterdam)


  • 2009-present: PBL
  • 2006-2008: MNP
  • 1991-2005: RIVM
  • 1990-1991: Maastricht University, Maastricht