Energy use, including that of the transport sector, is the main contributor to EU carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We support the development of policies for innovation and improvement in these sectors, striving for sustainable and appropriate solutions to the challenges facing society.
We work to ensure support is properly tailored to deliver the best climate and environmental outcomes from energy policies. We have experience in a wide range of energy policy issues; the examples below give a flavour of our work in this area.
Reducing energy use
According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), approximately 80% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the production and consumption of energy. The decarbonisation of the both the global and EU economies can only be reached with the reduction of energy use and the extensive deployment of renewable energy sources.
Energy use can be reduced through:
Increased energy efficiency, of buildings, appliance and resource use; and
Demand management, including better consumer information and awareness.
Renewable energy technologies and planning
Size matters when it comes to renewable energy technologies, as does the underlying planning process. An IEEP report for the RSPB, Positive planning for offshore wind, highlights the need for sensitive planning for renewable energy installations. Such installations are not a magic solution and care is needed to ensure they benefit rather than harm the environment.
Bioenergy and biofuels
Bioenergy in general, and biofuels in particular, have gained increasing momentum both politically and commercially over recent years. If it is to form a sustainable part of the energy mix of the future, the use of bioenergy must, like any fuel or technology, take account of potential environmental, social and economic side-effects. Currently our work focuses on:
The sustainability of bioenergy policy;
The development of sustainability criteria for biofuels; and
Land use issues.
Carbon capture and storage: public perceptions and appropriate siting of plants
IEEP’s recent work on carbon capture and storage (CCS) has focused on the non-technical barriers to CCS development. In large part this has centred on public perceptions and acceptance of CCS plants, including evaluation of the communication strategies used to inform stakeholders and the wider public of the advantages and risks of CCS, and effective ways to involve them in local decision-making. More on this initiative: www.communicationnearco2.eu
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?
Circular economy policies are proliferating and increasingly linked with other policy areas, including climate change. As seen at COP23, the circular economy can be better exploited to decarbonise the economy.
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.
IEEP will share its expertise on environmental taxation and the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies at a forum event on greening taxation and subsidies in the Pacific region during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New study by IVM, VITO, IEEP and BIO identifies and quantifies government support to fossil fuels in the EU-28. Significant support is provided through reduced excise taxes, with EU-wide tax expenditures estimated to be between EUR 28 billion and EUR 200 billion depending on the benchmark used.
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.
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.
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.
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.
European leaders have raised the stakes for the Paris talks by agreeing a set of climate and energy targets for 2030. The challenge will be to implement the tortuous detail on energy policy in a way which matches with longer term decarbonisation ambitions.
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.