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

  • Press release - Shifting away from conventional biofuels

    15 May – A new report produced by IEEP for ActionAid suggests that a sustainable advanced biofuel sector in the UK could not only lead to thousands of new jobs but also help to deliver better greenhouse gas (GHG) savings and improve the overall environmental and social performance of the biofuel sector.

  • 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.

  • How to climate-proof CAP and Cohesion spending

    The Commission has published two key technical guidance documents on climate proofing of Cohesion Policy and CAP expenditure as part of the Adaptation Strategy Package. Guidance builds on work carried out by a consortium led by IEEP.

  • Welcome move on ILUC by the European Parliament’s rapporteur

    IEEP welcomes the progressive draft report by French MEP Corinne Lepage on the European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change (ILUC).

  • Environmental complaint handling and mediation mechanisms at national level

    Gradual harmonisation of Member States’ approaches to handling complaints over environment law breaches could have major benefits for the EU.

  • IEEP at the conference ‘Next MFF: incentives and safeguards for climate friendly investments’

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, presented the final results of the European Commission study ‘Optimal use of EU grants and financial instruments in the next Multiannual Financial Framework to achieve the climate objective’ at a high level conference organised in the European Parliament.

  • IEEP presentation on EU budget and green economy

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, gave a presentation on the role of the 2014-2020 EU Multi-annual Financial Framework to kick start the transition towards a green and low carbon economy at a public hearing in the European Economic and Social Committee.

  • 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.

  • Biodiversity proofing of the EU budget

    This study shows how more can be done to firstly avoid and minimize detrimental impacts of EU funding on biodiversity, and secondly to increase biodiversity benefits.

  • 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.

  • Press release - Mixed news for the EU’s environment from the MFF deal

    8 February - 'There is mixed news for the EU’s environment and the green economy from today’s MFF deal’ says David Baldock, Director of IEEP.

  • Addressing ILUC? The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change

    The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change – what’s in it for mitigating emissions? Read IEEP’s latest Biofuel ExChange briefing.

  • Greener or greyer: what's next for the future EU budget?

    This Policy Brief analyses the outcomes of the Special Summit on the future EU budget, which took place on 22-23 November 2012.

  • The role of bioenergy in Europe's energy future

    IEEP’s review questions the potential contribution of increased use of biomass for heat and electricity generation to reduce emissions.

  • Bioenergy and climate change: hard questions to answer

    We have a policy framework which will drive greater use of bioenergy to 2020 but with no associated guarantee of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, concludes IEEP report.

  • Nature and its role in the transition to a Green Economy

    This new IEEP-authored report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

  • Overdue rethink on biofuels undermined by industry lobby

    The Commission has finally taken half a step towards addressing the indirect land use change (ILUC) from biofuels. David Baldock, Director of IEEP, said, ‘it is very dispiriting to see that after such a long internal debate, the Commission has backed down in the face of intense pressure from the biofuel and farming industry. As a result, a hard fought agreement has been compromised.’

  • Draft ILUC proposal leaked

    The European Commission's draft proposal for a Directive on the indirect land use change (ILUC) from biofuels was leaked to the public in mid-September 2012. This briefing summarises and reacts to these leaked proposals.