We cover a range of issues that bring economic analysis into policy making at the national, EU and global level. Our work focuses on different tools to support the transition to a green, resource efficient and circular economy including market-based instruments, cost and benefit assessments, sustainability indicators and environmental accounts.
We also explore the role of nature in the transition to a green economy and are at the forefront of analysis of the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Our research aims to support the integration of environmentally-sound economic signals in decision making, to encourage recognition of the true value of environmental resources and ecosystems.
The ‘green economy’ is one that pursues human progress without exceeding ecological thresholds, that ensures sustainability and simultaneously aims to reduce social disparities. Our work in this area has focused particularly on the policies and tools that are needed to support the transition to a green, resource efficient and circular economy, within the EU and internationally. There is a wide and expanding range of options.
We have examined marked based instruments to support the transition, including the use of environmental taxes and environmental tax reform (ETR), assessed the potential for reforming environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) and explored the setting of incentives that reward environmentally progressive behaviour. Our work also aims to contribute to an improved understanding of the benefits and costs of environmental policy to provide an informed and balanced view to policy makers.
The analysis and assessment of the multiple benefits of nature to people, society and the economy is another focus of the team. Our work on assessing nature's multiple values seeks to support the integration of such values in decision-making and mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services in relevant policy areas (e.g. agriculture, cohesion, water). The Programme has made a substantial contribution to the important international initiative The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
Another area of our work is the development and uptake of indicators of sustainability which take account of environmental and social factors contributing to human well-being, going beyond measures of economic performance such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This runs in parallel with work on environmental-economic and natural capital accounts, exploring the use of such tools in policy. For example we have been supporting the European ‘Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services’ (MAES) process.
This policy paper provides a brief overview of the context and state of play in the area of “measurement to manage”. It also outlines the needs for future action in this area and the potential role of the 7th EAP in improving the availability and use of indicators and accounts in the EU.
New TEEB-inspired regional assessment (published on 31 January) shows that nature and its ecosystem services are of high socio-economic significance for the Nordic countries. In order to be truly sustainable, Nordic economic systems need to build on a more comprehensive appreciation and understanding of the value of natural capital.
The EU has a long-standing commitment to removing or phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS). However, progress has been slow and EHS remain an issue in most EU countries. The Eurozone crisis and stagnating economic performance in many countries provide an opportunity to put new momentum behind this agenda.
Investment in natural capital through the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems has a lot to offer for regional development. A new publication authored by IEEP provides guidance on integrating biodiversity into EU Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 2014-2020.
This new IEEP-authored report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The eyes of the world’s biodiversity community are on Hyderabad as Parties to the Convention tackle the pressing challenges faced in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including mobilising sufficient resources to translate the Plan into concrete action.
The effective utilisation of revenue from market based instruments is a way to achieve both environmental improvements in line with the promotion of a Green Economy, and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Given the existing shortfall in climate finance, the potential to generate revenue through auctioning under the EU-ETS should not be overlooked.
Biochar has the potential to both mitigate greenhouse gases, and to act as an adaptation measure in terms of responding to the impacts of climate change. Based on its compatibility with the appropriate soil properties, it could increase the resilience of soil to erosion.
The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available with a lead article on efforts to reinvigorate EU water policy. Plus CAP reform, nature in the Green Economy, using straw for biofuels, emissions trading revenues ...
Despite some new commitments on Green Economy, oceans, and Sustainable Development Goals, progress on much of the Rio agenda will depend on actions taken by individual countries, blocs (like the EU), companies and civil society networks.
Key agendas for the future were given an airing in Rio, whilst the agreement itself remained timid, not least on the Green Economy. IEEP played an active role in keeping this issue in the Rio bloodstream.
New TEEB study announced at Rio+20 to highlight how conservation and restoration of wetlands can benefit biodiversity and provide cost-effective and sustainable solutions in the context of a Green Economy.
The CAP could, and should, be primarily to assist EU agriculture to become more internationally competitive and sustainable and to achieve this by innovation. It already has many instruments to do this, and the reforms could further assist. However the resources deployed could be far better used.