European countries have developed a wide range of policies to encourage climate mitigation through land use “sinks”; but as the land use sector is brought fully into the EU’s climate targets, policies will need to be more ambitious, and more focused on results.
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The European Parliament’s first reading opinion on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, moves some steps forward in the debate on sustainable use of biomass for energy in Europe. However, the devil is in the (considerable) detail set out in the adopted text.
There is mounting interest in biomass to provide heat, power and, transport fuels but also as a basis for alternative products for replacing plastics, and other fossil fuel derived commodities. How can the bioeconomy and the bioenergy sector evolve to deliver sustainable, coordinated and efficient use of resources?
This briefing is intended as the first in a series explaining policy instruments available and the opportunities for soil protection as part of the iSQAPER research project.
If caring for the planet starts from the ground, then caring for the planet starts with farmers, foresters and all others who manage and use the EU’s soils. It follows that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as a major driver of the decisions made by Europe’s 12 million farmers, is critical to securing responsible, long term management of our soils and related ecosystem services.
Europe needs to ratchet up its climate goals to deliver climate mitigation targets. At the UNFCCC's COP 23, IEEP will lead two side events looking at the role of land use and the agricultural sector in delivering this ambition. What will net zero emissions for agriculture look like, what policies are important in delivering Europe’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) goals? What is the role of agricultural policy?
A joint Ecologic, IEEP and Milieu study for DG Environment assesses the current status of EU policies and their ability to protect and improve soil status, the opportunities offered by national and regional policy action and additional policy needs.
There is an emerging realisation that soil, and linked land use and management challenges, are fundamental to achieve sustainable development including in the areas of fighting against hunger, protecting life on land, moving to more responsible consumption and production, ensuring clean water and sanitation and addressing climate change. Addressing soil protection issues is fundamentally interconnected with our ability to deliver multiple societal needs, and the time to act is now.
Ensuring the carbon sustainability of bioenergy requires a new approach in EU policy. This IEEP report spells out a different pathway to the one proposed by the European Commission in the recently released “winter package”.
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.
Understanding the consequences of increased biomass demand for energy on the environment is central to the development of future policy on renewable energy in Europe. This study seeks to help answer this need by modelling different levels of biomass demand for energy and the consequences for land use and forest based industries.
Improving the resource efficient use of wood through cascading the resource from one use to another, requires action throughout the wood flow. Current efforts focus on recovering and re-using waste wood but more could be done with the production and utilisation of wood processing residues and improving the balancing between the material and energy use of wood.
Defining effective and workable sustainability criteria is one of the critical steps in decarbonising Europe’s energy sector. They must provide the necessary safeguards for the use of bioresources in Europe, as well as the policy and investment certainty required for sustainable deployment.
Promoting the cascading use of wood through policy is one approach to improve resource efficiency and increase the overall availability of wood for use in a variety of sectors.
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.
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.
Waste resources have the potential to provide a core component of developing bio-economies across the globe. A new IEEP report reviews how waste has been incorporated into existing bio-economy strategies, and the conditions that have enabled this.
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.
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.
IEEP’s review questions the potential contribution of increased use of biomass for heat and electricity generation to reduce emissions.