The Y-factor for Climate Abatement

The Y-factor visualizes the complexity of climate change abatement. There is a wide variety of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, spread throughout all sectors of the economy. Abatement options are typically presented in terms of the abatement costs and abatement potential, in a so-called marginal abatement cost curve (MACC). The abatement potential represent the emissions that can be avoided (ton CO2) with this abatement measure. The abatement costs represent the costs needed to reduce reduce a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions (Euro/ton CO2).

But there is more to it than Euro's and tons. Although costs important, low-cost options are not necessarily easy to realize. Many other factors also play a role. Understanding why some abatement measures are adopted and others is a complicated matter. Lot's of different things appear to play a role for lot's of abatement options - an understanding of a wide variety of complex interacting systems including the technologies and infrastructures, the behavior of many stakeholders rules, local conditions and rules and regulations is necessary.

This interactive tool, the Y-factor visualizes a variety of factors influencing why abatement options are or are not realized. Popular carbon abatement options are scored on 12 factors, spread across 4 categories: 1) costs and financials, 2) multi-actor complexity, 3) physical interdependencies, and 4) behaviour. General Y-factor scores have been developed for these 24 carbon abatement options, but where local conditions dominate such values we focused on the Netherlands as a region. The Y-factor may help to prioritize between a very diverse set of abatement options, to know where policy is needed and feed the debate on what kind of policy would be needed where and when.

The tool below allows you to interact with the Y-factor. You can

  • View the Y-factor curve, a bar chart with the Y-factor scores for all abatement options
  • Adjust weights of the factors to explore the robustness of the Y-curve, considering how important you think each of the 12 factors are and toggle between a full or category view.
  • Select the abatement options, view details on their scoring, and update their scoring to your local conditions.
  • Compare the Y-factor curve to the marginal abatement cost curve.

Use the information icons next to the item's headers for more information.

This work has been developed at TU Delft. For more information: contact Emile Chappin. See also this open access scientific article. Don't hesitate to reach out in case you'd like to discuss the ins and outs of the Y-factor, or in case you'd like to make your own (regional) curve.

Y-Factor Curve


Adjust weights and level of detail





The Y-Factor with marginal abatement costs and potentials