Climate Change & Energy

Our Work

EU policy is central to progress in combating climate change both in Europe and globally. The climate programme engages in key contemporary issues, notably international negotiations, the role of bioenergy, strategies for transport, funding and the EU Budget, energy conservation and the challenge of adaptation.

Climate change is a complex problem that requires a coordinated policy response. As such, climate change crops up in all work areas at IEEP, from dealing with issues of environmental governance in relation to international negotiations, or in terms of understanding the links to land use. Together we are able to bring a range of disciplinary perspectives to the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

To reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases causing global temperature increase, well-targeted mitigation measures are essential. IEEP has experience in evaluating the effectiveness of such measures, in particular by examining their national implementation in Member States.

The transport and energy sectors are the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the EU so naturally a lot of our work centres on policies regulating these areas. Regarding transport, we were influential in the development of the recent legislation on limiting the CO2 emissions from cars and we are currently very much involved in the definition of sustainability criteria for biofuels. We have also worked on environmental labelling and consumer information on new cars; the links between climate change, transport and obesity; and the need to reform the existing perverse economic incentives that encourage car use.

The energy sector is key to reducing both CO2 emissions and resource use: bringing down energy consumption through demand management and improved efficiency, well-planned renewable energy technologies, sustainably implemented bioenergy and other emerging mitigation technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

In addition to efforts on mitigation, society must learn to cope with the impacts to which we have already committed ourselves as a result of past emissions. IEEP follows the evolution of policy for adaptation to climate change. Our current work in this area is concerned with improving Europe’s capacity to account for the cost of adaptation and related public spending, filling an important gap in the knowledge base for adaptation policy.

Addressing climate change costs money. IEEP is working to understand how climate change priorities can be reflected in EU spending, in particular how the concept of ‘climate proofing’ can be operationalised in the EU budget.

Climate policy and land use is an area where our work is rapidly expanding. IEEP’s capacity to think across sectoral and environmental policy domains enables us to consider conflicting policy objectives, such as those on bioenergy, soil carbon sequestration, urban planning and the EU’s impacts beyond its borders.

IEEP also has educational charity status. We have experience of training and capacity building on a wide range of topics. Notably, we have been very active in supporting the European Parliament in its role in EU climate policy.

Latest in Climate Change & Energy

  • Moving the debate on sustainable bioenergy to 2030

    On 30th November, the European Commission published a “Winter package” of policy proposals, including for bioenergy in the form of a revised Renewable Energy Directive. Although encouraging to answer the many requests for policy certainty, a number of key questions about the right and most appropriate approach to deliver sustainable bioenergy still remain and need further scrutiny.

  • Land suitability assessments for bioenergy feedstocks in the EU – a review of data sources

    Current data availability is inadequate to undertake a detailed national or European level study of land areas that are underutilised and could be considered available for bioenergy production within the EU.

  • Assessing sustainable biomass availability

    Dr. Ben Allen presented IEEP’s views on the sustainable use of biomass at an international conference in Brussels. Understanding the scale of the resource is a key part of determining appropriate policy intervention and ensuring commercial viability.

  • New report: delivering low carbon transport fuels post 2020

    How should EU policy support the transition to low carbon transport fuels post 2020? A new IEEP led report argues that future policies should be differentiated to tailor support towards specific objectives and technologies that offer the greatest potential for a low carbon future.

  • New report: delivering low carbon transport fuels post 2020

    How should EU policy support the transition to low carbon transport fuels post 2020? A new IEEP led report argues that future policies should be differentiated to tailor support towards specific objectives and technologies that offer the greatest potential for a low carbon future.

  • Conclusion on ILUC in sight

    After five years of discussion, a landmark moment has been reached whereby the indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts of biofuels almost certainly will be addressed in EU law.

  • Building a high value bioeconomy in the UK: opportunities from waste

    The UK is exploring opportunities to develop a high value bioeconomy based initially on waste. IEEP is helping to identify international best practice examples in order to maximise the environmental and economic benefits of this new Government initiative.

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • Space for energy crops – An assessment on the potential contribution of Europe’s energy future

    The overall energy potential that can be produced from growing dedicated energy crops on ‘spare’ land in the EU is low. This new report explores the potential for the additional production of energy crops in Europe on land not already used for food production, forestry, or providing other important services, and assesses some of the challenges associated with increasing output.

  • Press release - Biofuels don’t deliver but bioresources have promise

    Biofuels produced from conventional agricultural crops deliver only limited reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and compete for limited supplies of land.

  • Re-examining EU biofuels policy: A 2030 perspective

    EU biofuel policy must reflect the reality that while biomass in principle can be renewed, the overall quantity sustainably available is finite and must be shared across an emerging bioeconomy.

  • Ministers place biofuels in a policy vacuum

    Energy Ministers today failed to agree reforms to the EU laws that promote the use of biofuels for transport. Current EU legislation is flawed and unfit for the purpose of delivering verifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions from the transport sector.

  • IEEP’s latest reflections on the European Commission’s proposal to mitigate indirect land use change from biofuels – June 2013

    How can we achieve a more sustainable biofuel policy in the EU? What is needed now and what path should policy take beyond 2020? Read the latest IEEP briefing around the ongoing ILUC debate.

  • Biofuels and ILUC – Q&A

    Recurring questions on biofuels and ILUC are addressed in IEEP’s latest report to help build a robust policy to deal with ILUC and other impacts of large scale production of first generation biofuels.

  • Shifting away from conventional biofuels

    The UK has ample potential to use wastes and residues for advanced biofuels and create jobs in this emerging industry – but safeguards are key to ensure this is done in an environmentally sustainable way.

  • Land as an Environmental Resource

    How can we meet the different and often conflicting demands we make on our limited supply of rural land in Europe? A more strategic approach to the way in which land is used is needed than has been the case in the past. This report for DG Environment looks at the data, the challenges and the policy options for Europe.

  • The sustainability of advanced biofuels in the EU

    Using wastes and residues for biofuels has many advantages. But ensuring sustainability and including safeguards in EU legislation are critical issues.

  • Alternative means of reducing CO2 emissions from UK road transport

    Up to 2020 greater use of renewable electricity is the leading alternative to biofuels to reduce the carbon intensity of car and rail transport fuels. To realise this potential requires a mix of responses, including: increasing the decarbonisation of existing transport fuels; improving the energy efficiency of vehicles; and changing the way vehicles are used.

  • Land use mapping for sustainable biofuels

    IEEP and WWF join forces to define criteria and principles to guide the mapping of appropriate land use to ensure sustainable biofuel crops.

Related

Highlights