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.
Today, the Commission starts putting some flesh on the bones of its plans for EU spending after 2020. Their communication earlier in May set out some broad principles, which we commented on here. Over the next week or so, they will be publishing detailed legislative proposals for the different programmes; and regional affairs Commissioner Corina Crețu set the ball rolling by announcing proposals for cohesion spending.
The Commission has set out its initial proposals for the next “Multi-Annual Financial Framework” – the planning period for the EU budget which sets the priorities for spending, and shares out EU money between programmes and Member States. We’ve been examining what’s at stake for the environment, sustainable development, and Europe’s future.
The final report of an IEEP-led study for the Pacific Community entitled ‘Towards greener taxes and subsidies in Pacific Island Countries and Territories’.
Download the IEEP 2018 calendar to stay up to date with the most important dates for European and international environmental policy.
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?
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.
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 is debating its future development and structures. A new report argues that they have to work for the energy and climate transition.
While the stand-off on agriculture is continuing between developed and developing countries within climate negotiations, there is a growing consensus among experts that agriculture --and more generally the land use sector--needs to rise at the top of UNFCCC agenda.
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?
In November, IEEP will lead three workshops in French Polynesia, Vanuatu and Fiji, looking at how to green taxes and subsidies in various economic sectors.
How climate objectives are mainstreamed into the current EU budget and what should be done in the future?
IEEP and partners produce a suite of 40 case studies on economic instruments from around the EU that address pollution and resource use.
IEEP and Energy Cities are creating a partnership to explore how to bridge the gap between science and citizens on climate change through culture
European climate change engagement must incorporate values-based approaches.
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.