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.
The European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ package of proposals would extend EU-wide carbon pricing from around 22 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions today to over two thirds of EU emissions by 2030, according to an initial analysis by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).
EU Member States recently published their National Recovery and Resilience Plans. These plans will form the basis of the lion’s share of EU spending to implement the European Green Deal, but cities have barely been consulted in drafting these plans.
Agriculture is out of the green list for climate action, risking its access to much needed private capital to support the sector in both its sustainability transition and in responding to the adaptation needs in light of a changing climate.
European tax systems today are neither fair nor green. But a new political grand bargain on tax is now possible that can help boost jobs, fight inequalities and bring Europe’s economy back inside our planetary boundaries. Here’s how.
The growing awareness among governments of the central role of climate change in public policy has led a number of administrations to develop mechanisms for a better understanding of how the public finance system prioritises climate policy outcomes.
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.
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.
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.
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.