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Harald Winkler


PhD - University of Cape Town

MSc in Energy & Resources - UC Berkeley

MA - University of Cape Town

BA (Sociology and Politics) - Wits University


Current research interests

International and national climate and energy policy, economics of climate change  mitigation, equity, sustainabe development, transparency, energy and environmental economics.

Harald’s research has informed energy and climate policy at the national level and multi-lateral negotiations.  Harald led the research work underpinning South Africa’s Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS). From 2010 to 2015, he co-directed a large programme called MAPS – Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios, sharing the LTMS experience with governments, researchers and facilitators in other developing countries. He has written on topics including transparency, equity and comparative analysis of mitigation actions in developing countries.

Prof Winkler is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He is joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Climate Policy from 2017. He serves on several editorial boards of journals and other committees and boards (see below). Harald continues to contribute to the assessments of climate change research by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s. He has been a member of the SA delegation to the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Harald has taught and supervised at postgraduate level since 2000; and he is now a Professor in the University of Cape Town. He is rated as an “internationally acclaimed researcher” (B2) by SA’s National Research Foundation. He has been the Director of the Energy Research Centre since 2013.

Current focus areas include:

  • Implementation of the Paris Agreement, in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development
  • Mitigation action plans and scenarios
  • Nationally determined contributions (NDCs), with particular focus on mitigation, equity and links to sustainable development, building on earlier work on sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMs)
  • Long-term deep decarbonisation pathways, particularly the link to reducing inequality and emissions
  • The two-way interaction between mitigation and socio-economic development: the socio-economic implications of mitigation, and emissions associated with changing development paths
  • Equity and climate change
  • Sustainable energy paths for South Africa, particularly in energy use and supply
  • Shale gas development / fracking in South Africa, particularly implications for greenhouse gas emissions and air quality
  • Financial instruments to support a just transition to a low-carbon economy and society, including carbon pricing, public finance and enabling policies

Previous work experience

Before joining ERC, Harald was an associate with Common Ground Consulting, working on issues of environmental management & policy. Previously he worked as fieldworker with rural communities on land and rural development for the Transvaal Rural Action Committee. He headed the office of the Regional Land Claims Commission for the Eastern Cape and Free State for a year.

Membership of committees, panels and boards

  •  Joint Editor-in-Chief of Climate Policy (from 2017)
  • Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (from 2016)
  • Editorial Boards of international journals Climate Policy (from 2006), Climate and Development (from 2008), Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability (from 2009), Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies (from 2013) and Global Environmental Politics (from 2015).
  • Lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports (from 2004)
  • Member of the South African delegation to the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. From 2004 to 2015
  • International jury member for WWF Earth Hour City Challenge. 2015
  • Board member of the South African Weather Services. 2008–2011.
  • Board member: Sustainable Energy Africa. 2002–2012
  • Member of the City of Cape Town’s Climate Change Think Tank. From 2009.
  • Member of the Methodology Panel of the CDM Executive Board, April 2002–July 2004
  • Member of the Standards Advisory Board of the WWF Carbon Label for CDM projects; 2002 – 2005



Harald Winkler has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals (mostly international), as well as 10 chapters in peer-reviewed books, two books and one edited book.

Spalding-Fecher, R, Joyce, B & Winkler, H 2017. Climate change and hydropower in the Southern African Power Pool and Zambezi River Basin: system-wide impacts and policy implications. Energy Policy 103: 84–97. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.12.009

Winkler, H, Delgado, R, Palma, R, Pereira, A O, Vasquez Baos, T G, Moyo, A, Wills, W & Salazar, A A V 2016 online. Information for a developmental approach to mitigation: linking sectoral and economy-wide models for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and South Africa. Climate and Development. DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2016.1174660.

Altieri, K, Trollip, H, Caetano, T, Hughes, A, Merven, B & Winkler, H 2016 online. Achieving development and mitigation objectives through a decarbonization development pathway in South Africa. Climate Policy. DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1150250.

Winkler, H & Dubash, N 2016. Who determines transformational change in development and climate finance? Climate Policy 16 (6): 783-791. DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2015.1033674

Winkler, H, Boyd, A, Torres Gunfaus, M & Raubenheimer, S 2015. Reconsidering development by reflecting on climate change. International Environmental Agreements 15 (4): 369-385. DOI 10.1007/s10784-015-9304-7.

Betsill, M, Dubash, N K, Paterson, M, Van Asselt, H, Vihma, A & Winkler, H 2015. Building productive links between the UNFCCC and the broader global climate governance landscape. Global Environmental Politics 15(2): 1-18.

Boyd, A, Rennkamp, B, Dane, A & Winkler, H 2014. Current approaches to MRV in South Africa: A scoping study. Climate Policy 14(3): 397-416.

Tyler, E, Boyd, A, Coetzee, K & Winkler, H 2014. A case study of South African mitigation actions. Climate and Development 6 (Special Issue on mitigation actions in five developing countries - Supplement 1): 49-58.

Rogelj, J, den Elzen, M G J, Höhne, N, Fransen, T, Fekete, H, Winkler, H, Schaeffer, R, Sha, F, Riahi, K & Meinshausen, M 2016. Paris Agreement climate proposals need boost to keep warming well below 2°C. Nature 534: 631-639. doi:10.1038/nature18307. Available online at

Winkler, H. 2014. Emerging lessons on designing and implementing mitigation actions in five developing countries. Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2014.892315d.

Winkler, H & Rajamani, L. 2014. CBDR&RC in a regime applicable to all. Climate Policy, 14:1, 102-121, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2013.791184.

Van Vuuren, D, Kriegler, E, O’Neill, B, Ebi, K, Riahi, K, Carter, T, Edmonds, J, Hallegatte, S, Kram, T, Mathur, R and Winkler, H. 2014. A new scenario framework for climate change research: Scenario matrix architecture. Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0906-1.

Coetzee, K & Winkler, H. 2013. The international policy context for mitigation actions. Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2013.867245.

Garibaldi, J, Winkler, H, La Rovere, E, Cadena, A , Palma, R, Sanhueza, J, Tyler, E and Torres Gunfaus, M. 2013. Comparative analysis of five case studies: Commonalities and differences in approaches to mitigation actions in five developing countries, Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2013.812031.

Cohen, B and Winkler, H. 2014. Greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas and coal for electricity generation in South Africa. South African Journal of Science. sajs.2014/20130194.

Kriegler, E, Edmonds, J, Hallegatte, S, Ebi, K, Kram, T, Riahi, K, Winkler, H & Van Vuuren, D. 2014. A new scenario framework for climate change research: The concept of shared climate policy assumptions. Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0971-5.

Ebi, K, Hallegatte, S, Kram, T, Arnell, N, Carter, T, Edmonds, J, Kriegler, E, Mathur, R, O’Neill, B, Riahi, K, Winkler, H, Van Vuuren, D and Zwickel, T. 2014.  A new scenario framework for climate change research: Background, process, and future directions. Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0912-3.

Klinsky, S and Winkler, H. 2014. Equity, sustainable development and climate policy. Climate Policy, 14 (1): 1-7, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2014.859352.

Winkler, H. 2014. International requirements for transparency of mitigation actions. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town.

Tait, L & Winkler, H. 2012. Estimating greenhouse gas emissions associated with achieving universal access to electricity in South Africa. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town

Vorster, V, Winkler, H and Jooste, 2011. Mitigating climate change through carbon pricing: An emerging policy debate in South Africa. Climate and Development 3: 242–258

Winkler, H & Beaumont, J. 2010. Fair and effective multilateralism in the post-Copenhagen climate negotiations. Climate Policy 10: 638–654

Winkler, H 2010. An architecture for long-term climate change: North-South cooperation based on equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. F Biermann, P Pattberg and F Zelli (Eds). Global climate governance beyond 2012: Architecture, agency and adaptation, Cambridge University Press. [Not available for download]

Winkler, H 2010. Taking action on climate change: Long-term mitigation scenarios for South Africa. Cape Town, UCT Press.  [Not available for download]

Winkler, H 2009. Cleaner energy, cooler climate: Developing sustainable energy solutions for South Africa Cape Town, HSRC Press. {Download from HSRC Press]

Winkler, H, Hughes, A & Haw, M. 2009. Technology learning for renewable energy: Implications for South Africa’s long-term mitigation scenarios. Energy Policy 37: 4987–4996.

Winkler, H, Vorster, S & Marquard, A, 2009. Who picks up the remainder? Mitigation in developed and developing countries. Climate Policy 9: 634–651.

Winkler, H & Marquard, A, 2009. Changing development paths:  From an energy-intensive to low-carbon economy in South Africa. Climate and Development 1 (1): 47-65.

Winkler, H & Marquard, A. 2009. Analysis of the economic implications of a carbon tax. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town

Winkler, H, Marquard, A, Tyler, E, Visser, M & Brick, K. 2009. Economics of climate change: Context and concepts related to mitigation

Winkler, H, 2008. Measurable, reportable and verifiable: the keys to mitigation in the Copenhagen deal. Climate Policy 8: 534–547.

Winkler, H, Marquard, A, Manley, J, Davis, S, Trikam, A, den Elzen, M Höhne, N & Witi, J. 2008. Quantifying SD-PAMs: National energy models and international allocation models for climate change mitigation: South African case study. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town.

Winkler, H 2008. Climate change mitigation negotiations, with an emphasis on options for developing countries. An Environment & Energy Group publication. New York, United Nations Development Programme.

Winkler, H 2007. Energy Policies for Sustainable Development in South Africa. Energy for Sustainable Development

Winkler, H & van Es, D 2007. Energy efficiency and the CDM in South Africa: constraints and opportunities, Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 18(1)

Ellis, J, Winkler, H, Corfee-Morlot, J C & Gagnon-Lebrun, F 2007. CDM: Taking stock and looking forward. Energy Policy

Winkler H, Baumert K, Blanchard O, Burch S and Robinson J 2007. What factors influence mitigative capacity? Energy Policy

Winkler H, 2006. Energy policies for sustainable development in South Africa’s residential and electricity sectors PhD thesis

Winkler, H, Brouns, B and Kartha, S, 2006. Future mitigation commitments: differentiating among non-Annex 1 countries. Climate Policy  

Van Es, D, Howells, M and Winkler, H. 2006. A selective assessment of business opportunities in South Africa under the Clean Development Mechanism. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town.

Winkler, H, Borchers, M, Hughes, A, Visagie, E & Heinrich, G 2006. Policies and scenarios for Cape Town's energy future: Options for sustainable city energy development.Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 17 (1): 28-41.  

Winkler H, 2005. Climate change and developing countries, South African Journal of Science.

Mwakasonda, S & Winkler, H 2005. Carbon capture and storage in South Africa. Chapter 6 in. R Bradley, K Baumert and J Pershing (Eds). Growing in the greenhouse: Protecting the climate by putting development first. (Washington DC, World Resources Institute)

Baumert, K & Winkler, H 2005. SD-PAMs and international climate agreements. Chapter 2. R Bradley, K Baumert and J Pershing (Eds). Growing in the greenhouse: Protecting the climate by putting development first. (Washington DC, World Resources Institute)  

Winkler, H 2005. Renewable energy policy in South Africa: Policy options for renewable electricity. Energy Policy  

Winkler, H, Davidson, O, Mwakasonda, S, 2005. Developing institutions for the Clean Development Mechanism: African perspectives. Climate Policy

Spalding-Fecher, R, Winkler, H & Mwakasonda, S 2005. Energy and the World Summit on Sustainable Development: What next? Energy Policy   

Ott, H E, Winkler, H, Brouns, B, Kartha, S, Mace, M, Huq, S, Kameyama, Y, Sari, A P, Pan, J, Sokona, Y, Bhandari, P M, Kassenberg, A, La Rovere, E L & Rahman, A 2004. South-North dialogue on equity in the greenhouse. A proposal for an adequate and equitable global climate agreement (Eschborn, Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit)

Ellis, J, Winkler, H & Corfee-Morlot, J 2004. Taking stock of progress under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (Paris, OECD / IEA)

Turpie, J, Winkler, H & Midgley, G F 2004. Economic impacts of climate change in South Africa: A preliminary assessment of unmitigated damage costs. J Blignaut and M de Wit (eds). Sustainable options: Development lessons from applied environmental economics. Cape Town, University of Cape Town press: chapter 6.

Sathaye, J, Murtishaw, S, Price, L, Lefranc, M, Roy, J, Winkler, H & Spalding-Fecher, R 2004. Multiproject baselines for evaluation of electric power projects. Energy Policy 32 (11): 1303-1317

Winkler, H 2004. National policies and the CDM: Avoiding perverse incentives. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa   

Spalding-Fecher, R, Winkler, H, Dick, A, Jeftha, L & Laitner, J A 2003. Modeling economy-wide impacts of investments in industrial energy efficiency: a South African Case Study. Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Industrial Energy Efficiency (vol. 6), Washington DC, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. pp. 6-219 - 6-230.

Energy for Development Research Centre, 2003. Policies and measures for renewable energy and energy efficiency in South Africa.

Winkler, H, Spalding-Fecher, R, Mwakasonda, S & Davidson, O. 2002. Sustainable development policies and measures. (Washington, WRI)

Winkler, H, Spalding-Fecher, R, Tyani, L & Matibe, K 2002. Cost-benefit analysis of energy-efficiency in urban low cost housing. Development Southern Africa 19 (5): 593-614.

Winkler, H, Spalding-Fecher, R & Tyani, L 2002. Comparing developing countries under potential carbon allocation schemes. Climate Policy 2 (4): 303-318.

Winkler, H & Thorne, S 2002. Baselines for suppressed demand: CDM projects contribution to poverty alleviation. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences 5 (2): 413-429. 

Winkler, H & Mavhungu, J 2002. Potential impacts of electricity industry restructuring on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 13 (2): 43-49.

Winkler, H, Spalding-Fecher, R, Sathaye, J & Price, L 2001. Multi-project baselines for potential Clean Development Mechanism projects in the electricity sector in South Africa. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 12 (4): 449-457.