Climate Change & Energy

Our Work

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:

Latest in Energy

  • Moving the debate on sustainable bioenergy to 2030

    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.

  • Assessing sustainable biomass availability

    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.

  • New report: delivering low carbon transport fuels post 2020

    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.

  • New report is out: delivering low carbon transport fuels post 2020

    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.

  • Conclusion on ILUC in sight

    After five years of discussion, a landmark moment has been reached whereby the indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts of biofuels almost certainly will be addressed in EU law.

  • Building a high value bioeconomy in the UK: opportunities from waste

    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.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    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.

  • Space for energy crops – An assessment on the potential contribution of Europe’s energy future

    The overall energy potential that can be produced from growing dedicated energy crops on ‘spare’ land in the EU is low. This new report explores the potential for the additional production of energy crops in Europe on land not already used for food production, forestry, or providing other important services, and assesses some of the challenges associated with increasing output.

  • Press release - Biofuels don’t deliver but bioresources have promise

    Biofuels produced from conventional agricultural crops deliver only limited reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and compete for limited supplies of land.

  • Ministers place biofuels in a policy vacuum

    Energy Ministers today failed to agree reforms to the EU laws that promote the use of biofuels for transport. Current EU legislation is flawed and unfit for the purpose of delivering verifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions from the transport sector.

  • Biofuels and ILUC – Q&A

    Recurring questions on biofuels and ILUC are addressed in IEEP’s latest report to help build a robust policy to deal with ILUC and other impacts of large scale production of first generation biofuels.

  • Shifting away from conventional biofuels

    The UK has ample potential to use wastes and residues for advanced biofuels and create jobs in this emerging industry – but safeguards are key to ensure this is done in an environmentally sustainable way.

  • The sustainability of advanced biofuels in the EU

    Using wastes and residues for biofuels has many advantages. But ensuring sustainability and including safeguards in EU legislation are critical issues.

  • Alternative means of reducing CO2 emissions from UK road transport

    Up to 2020 greater use of renewable electricity is the leading alternative to biofuels to reduce the carbon intensity of car and rail transport fuels. To realise this potential requires a mix of responses, including: increasing the decarbonisation of existing transport fuels; improving the energy efficiency of vehicles; and changing the way vehicles are used.

  • Land use mapping for sustainable biofuels

    IEEP and WWF join forces to define criteria and principles to guide the mapping of appropriate land use to ensure sustainable biofuel crops.

  • Addressing ILUC? The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change

    The European Commission’s proposal on indirect land use change – what’s in it for mitigating emissions? Read IEEP’s latest Biofuel ExChange briefing.

  • Biofuels and Agricultural Commodity Prices: A Review of the Evidence Base

    EU biofuel use will increase the global prices of agricultural commodities, most notably oilseeds and vegetable oils. This requires close attention by policy makers.

  • Mobilising Cereal Straw in the EU to Feed Advanced Biofuel Production

    This IEEP report, commissioned by Novozymes, considers the existing barriers, environmental risks and opportunities and the potential agricultural policy stimuli needed in order to mobilise cereal straw for advanced biofuel production in the EU.

  • Securing Biomass for Energy

    A new IEEP report outlining how to develop a UK bioenergy sector that mitigates environmental risks and promotes win-win situations for renewables deployment and biodiversity.

  • The Interactions between European Policy Drivers for Increasing the Use of Biofuels in Transport

    Ian Skinner and Bettina Kretschmer explain the complex interaction mechanisms between the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive.