EU policy is central to progress in combating climate change both in Europe and globally. IEEP's 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.
This graph, put together by IEEP, shows that not only has humanity not succeed in reducing emissions following warnings on climate change, the emissions have, in fact, also grown substantially, and we have now emitted as much since 1990 as in all of history before that time.
According to IEEP’s calculations, an additional €381 billion of revenues in “pollution dividends” could be generated to support workers, households, countries and regions affected by the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the publication of this year's country recommendations for the European Semester, this paper identifies priorities and modalities for the reform of the Semester so that it becomes a key instrument for operationalising the SDGs and implementing the European Green Deal at Member State level.
The following analysis looks at the problem areas identified in the latest State of the Environment Report and assesses how well the Green Deal’s policy proposals address the targets and objectives deemed unlikely to be met by 2020.
Despite new and promising announcements by the Trade Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan, the EU is struggling to turn words and good intentions into effective actions when it comes to using trade as a vehicle for sustainability.
The UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September highlighted and confirmed the significant gap between current climate action and the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) cuts needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
A Green Deal that puts nature at the heart of Europe's climate fight is urgently needed – and very well possible.
Following the impressive demonstrations by young people around the world, the issue of intergenerational equity will be at the centre of the UN climate summit in New York.
Ahead of the New York Climate Summit, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and its partners are hosting a side event in New York on September 19-21. As one of the partners, IEEP drafted a background paper on climate justice in the build-up to the event.
The impact of flying on climate has been in the news lately. How big of a problem are aviation emissions and what is being done about them in Europe?
Last week's Council summit failed to reach consensus on climate neutrality. IEEP's Martin Nesbit reflects on the reasons and steps forward in our blog.
The European Commission recently published its evaluation of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change.
A rapidly warming and melting Arctic is an EU interest and this should be reflected in EU climate policies as well as EU climate diplomacy efforts.
Anthropogenic climate change is a product of our patterns of behaviour and the choices we make; whether as consumers or, in the case of farmers, as land managers and producers. This session convened by IEEP at COP24 of the UNFCCC identified the common threads that could help in changing our behaviour and in the transformation of the agricultural sector. Read more and download presentations here.
Following French president Emmanuel Macron’s decision to rethink a carbon tax on vehicle fuel in the face of widespread protests, Celine Charveriat and Emma Watkins consider what lessons policymakers should learn from the gilets jaunes affair.
On 7 December (10:30-14:30), IEEP will be convening a discussion at COP24 of the UNFCCC on the role of agriculture in delivering net zero emissions by 2050. IEEP is collaborating with CCCA, FEEDBACK, AGRICORD, IIED, SNV, Joanneum Reasearch, IFFA, and the FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility to deliver a wider ranging discussion on agriculture’s role in climate action.
Half a degree may not sound that much but it can be a matter of life or death in the context of climate change. This is one of the headline messages of the recent IPCC special report, “Global warming of 1.5 °C”, which is based on the assessment of the latest scientific literature. The report confirms the urgency to act in order to avoid often irreversible consequences for human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development. But what does this mean for agriculture in general and for the EU farming sector in particular? What kind of challenges would the sector face in a 1.5 °C or 2 °C world? And how can the farming sector contribute to keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C?
The IPCC Special Report on 1.5C has confirmed that much more concerted action to combat climate change is required if we are to avoid the worst effects of global warming. The report underscores that solutions are available, but they must be employed without delay.
Although the EU has an aspirational goal of an 80-95% GHG emissions cut for 2050, compared to 1990 levels, currently planned measures and intermediate goals are not in-line even with the low end of this aim. Additionally, the EU would have to over perform if 1.5 degrees were the aim, as developing economies cannot realistically be expected to reduce emissions as quickly.
Current policies are not enough to deliver the Paris Agreement ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Preparation of a European strategy on long-term decarbonisation of the economy is a critical opportunity for a step change. To seize it, we need a strategy which considers the economy as a whole, and draws the lessons for early action and investment in each sector.