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Benjamin Görlach

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Benjamin Görlach

MSc (Economics)

Head, Economics and Policy Assessment
Senior Fellow


Benjamin Görlach is an environmental economist and Senior Fellow with Ecologic Institute. He works mostly on economic instruments in environmental policy, on the evaluation of environmental policy instruments and assessment of their impacts, as well as the economic valuation of environmental goods and services. A native speaker of German, he is fluent in English and Dutch and has a working knowledge of French.

In recent years, much of Benjamin Görlach's research focused on the design, implementation and performance of economic instruments in climate policy. In this context, he has authored several reports and articles on the design and implementation of economic instruments for climate mitigation and their role in the climate policy instrument mix. His past and current work includes studies on environmental tax reform and the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies, as well as analyses of different aspects of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and its implementation in Germany. The latter includes the use of benchmarks and auctions to allocate allowances, the issue of carbon leakage and ways of avoiding it, and the legal nature of EU allowances. From 2012 to 2015, Benjamin Görlach coordinated the CECILIA2050 project, a European research project, in which ten partners researched how the European climate policy instrument mix should evolve by 2050 to guide the transformation to a low-carbon economy. Since 2009, Benjamin Görlach has facilitated the ICAP Summer Schools and Masterclasses on Emissions Trading for participants from emerging economies and developing countries. In the 18 editions of these courses staged in Europe, Asia and Latin America, more than 400 participants have received in-depth training on the design and implementation of emissions trading systems.

Since 2013, Benjamin Görlach has been teaching courses on the "Economics of Green Germany" in the Berlin Summer Program of Duke University and, since 2016, in the Berlin Summer Program of the University of Notre Dame. Since 2017, he has also taught a winter course on climate and energy offered by the University of Maryland.

Some of Benjamin's other work includes the future of the European Union and its significance for climate policy and various aspects of the transformation to a green economy, ranging from Green Finance to business-sector initiatives for low-carbon economic development. He also conducts economic assessments of environmental policies - including in the fields of soil protection and adaptation to climate change.

From 2007 to 2009, Benjamin Görlach worked at the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). His work in the economics and statistics divisions included economic analyses to support the further development of the EU ETS. He led an evaluation of the EU ETS and its implementation in Germany, was involved in deriving a benchmark-based system for free allocation of allowances, and conducted analyses of the competitiveness effects of emissions trading in Germany ("carbon leakage").

From October 2002 to July 2007, Benjamin Görlach had worked as an environmental economist with Ecologic Institute. During that time, the main areas of his work were the economic valuation of environmental goods and services, the quantification of costs and benefits of environmental policies, and the use of such methods in impact assessments. Areas of his work included the economic aspects of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) as well as the economics of soil degradation and flood protection. Before joining Ecologic Institute, Benjamin Görlach completed internships at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the economic division of UBA. In addition, he did freelance work for the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI).

From 1997 to 2002, Benjamin Görlach studied economics in Freiburg, Germany, Maastricht, the Netherlands, and Dublin, Ireland. He holds a master’s degree in international economic studies from the University of Maastricht. In 2006, he was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

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