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

  • New report launch: Call for a new vision for responsible renewable energy with a clear European dimension

    Claude Turmes MEP hosted an event launching both IEEP’s report and a debate on the future of renewable energy in Europe. In the our report IEEP present how a resource efficient energy system might be delivered in a way that minimises impact on biodiversity and the wider environment.

  • A New Vision for Responsible Renewable Energy with a Clear European Dimension

    Renewable energy is key to the decarbonisation of Europe’s energy supply, however, the scale of expansion needed will have significant impacts over a considerable area. This new report suggests how a resource efficient energy system might be delivered in a way that minimises and mitigates impacts on biodiversity and the wider environment.

  • 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.

  • Getting delivery right: the EU 2030 climate and energy targets and the challenge of governance

    The EU’s commitment to GHG reductions of “at least” 40% by 2030 are a useful contribution to international climate negotiations. But does the package of energy targets offered by the European Council at the same time put us on the right track to long-term decarbonisation goals? IEEP’s Martin Nesbit offers a personal perspective on what needs to be done, and how the governance arrangements need to be tightened.

  • The Manual: Chapter 3 - Climate change

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter on EU climate change policy outlines the initial EU programme to stabilise CO2 emissions in the EU with explanations of the directives, decisions and legislation that were employed to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

  • 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.

  • Europe’s Climate and Energy Crossroads – IEEP seminars for MEPs on climate and energy issues

    IEEP has prepared two briefing documents on the climate and energy challenge in Central and Eastern European Member States, and in Southern European Member States. The briefings are background for a seminar we are organising for Members of the European Parliament, the first in a series on Europe’s Climate and Energy Crossroads.

  • Greener Britain: Practical proposals for party manifestos from the environment and conservation sector

    A coalition of the UK’s leading environmental groups, including IEEP, is calling for all political parties to commit to a greener Britain by 2020 by pledging seven major priorities to reform the way we use energy, build communities and protect nature.

  • 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.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • 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.

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