Our work on mitigation mainly focuses on the energy, transport and land use sectors. Determining the effectiveness of climate change mitigation policies requires the ability to think across sectors – climate change does not respect geographical or policy borders. IEEP’s multidisciplinary nature and range of policy expertise ensures our analysis and recommendations are realistic, sustainable and do not conflict with other environmental objectives.
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.
Implementation of mitigation legislation in EU Member States
IEEP undertook a review, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, of the prospects for implementation of the 2009 EU climate and energy or CARE package in the 27 EU Member States. The study looked at the likely timing and form of transposition, as well as the likely effectiveness of the policies and the ability of Member States to reach the goals outlined in the package, such as non-ETS (EU Emissions Trading System) measures and progress on renewable energy.
The EU Emissions Trading System
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of EU climate change mitigation policy. We have reviewed its implementation in Member States and identified best practice. IEEP co-authored a report Business Action on Climate Change - Where Next after Emissions Trading? evaluating the policies to help business take action on climate change, specifying recommendations for simplifying and strengthening the policy framework. We have analysed the issues arising in linking the EU ETS to other emissions trading schemes. For VROM (the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment) we addressed the key issues in the review of the EU ETS monitoring and reporting guidelines in preparation for the Commission review of the Directive in 2006.
Carbon capture and storage
‘Catching’ the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by power plants and storing them deep underground has the potential to reduce the quantity of CO2 emitted in the production of energy-using fossil fuels. But carbon capture and storage (CCS) is still a very new technology, and its true effectiveness and safety are not yet proven. IEEP has a portfolio of past work examining the non-technical barriers to CCS development, and we are involved with work on the public acceptance of CCS. This includes evaluation of the strategies used to communicate the advantages and risks of CCS to stakeholders and the wider public, and effective ways to involve them in local decision-making.
In a recently publicly published book chapter, Jean-Pierre Schweitzer and IEEP’s Susanna Gionfra brought together evidence of how nature-based education, utilizing green infrastructure and protected areas, presents an opportunity to mitigate the impacts of environmental and socio-economic challenges faced by urban citizens.
Leading up to IEEP's Think 2030 conference, experts express their views on Europe's most pressing sustainability issues in the Think 2030 blog series, Pathways to 2030.
The second edition of Pathways to 2030 features Johanna Nyman, Policy Analyst for IEEP, who discusses the urgent need of climate change and ecosystem degradation to be considered as security risks to international peace and security.
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.
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.
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?
With the Brexit process being formally started, it is time to consider the importance that sharing experience has for the development of concepts and principles in environmental policy says Nigel Haigh, former director of IEEP. Read more in his article here.
In a study for the European Parliament’s REGI Committee, IEEP examined the experience of climate mainstreaming in Cohesion Policy in the current and previous programming periods and identified the implications of the Paris Agreement in order to offer recommendations for future climate mainstreaming in the post-2020 Cohesion Policy.
In the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement, the sixth largest economy of the world, California, signed an agreement with China to fight climate change. While non-binding, such cooperation represents a “trickle-up” approach to global climate change governance and is part of a wave of initiatives from non-state actors including civil society, the private sector and local authorities.
New IEEP report finds the agriculture sector can significantly contribute to the EU’s climate commitments by reducing its non-CO2 emissions. It also finds these contributions can be delivered cost efficiently with environmental co-benefits without impacting production.
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.
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.