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Benjamin Görlach


Benjamin Görlach

MSc (Economics)

Head, Economics and Policy Assessment
Senior Fellow


Benjamin Görlach is an environmental economist and Senior Fellow with Ecologic Institute. Most of his work centres on economic instruments in environmental policy and climate mitigation, but also on broader issues of transitioning to a sustainable, climate-neutral economy. At the Ecologic Institute, he coordinates the economics team and is a member of the institute's steering group. A native speaker of German, he is fluent in English and Dutch, has a working knowledge of French and a basic knowledge of Spanish.

One main area of Benjamin Görlach's work concerns the design, implementation and performance of economic instruments in climate policy. He 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. Next to environmental tax reform and the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies, Benjamin analysed various aspects of the EU Emissions Trading System and its implementation. This includes the use of auctions to allocate allowances and auctioning revenues, the issue of carbon leakage and ways of avoiding it, the legal nature of EU allowances, and the options for linking emissions trading systems. More broadly, Benjamin Görlach works on EU climate policy governance that is capable of delivering the necessary transformation to a climate-neutral economy, and on the role of carbon pricing in this transformation. In this context, from 2012 to 2015, Benjamin coordinated the CECILIA2050 FP7 project, and since 2021 coordinates the Horizon 2020 project 4I-TRACTION, which develops policy pathways towards climate neutrality in the EU. In addition, he contributes to the work on EU governance in the BMBF-funded project ARIADNE.

For more than a decade, Benjamin Görlach has also been engaged in training and capacity building for emissions trading. Since 2009, Benjamin Görlach has facilitated the ICAP Summer Schools and Masterclasses on Emissions Trading for participants from emerging economies and developing countries. In 20 editions of these courses staged in Europe, Asia and Latin America, close to 500 participants have received in-depth training on the design and implementation of emissions trading systems. In addition, Benjamin Görlach is involved in capacity building for emissions trading, both in the German bilateral cooperation and in the EU-China exchange on Emissions Trading.

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 and business-sector initiatives for low-carbon economic development to drivers of a deep decarbonisation of heavy industries. 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, and the quantification of costs and benefits of environmental policies. Areas of his work included economic analysis of the EU Water Framework Directive 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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