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.

  • Greening taxes and subsidies in the Pacific

    IEEP will share its expertise on environmental taxation and the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies at a forum event on greening taxation and subsidies in the Pacific region during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

  • How well has EU Cohesion Policy supported energy efficiency in buildings?

    IEEP, with Danish consultancy Ramboll, has evaluated the contributions of the 2007-2013 Cohesion Policy programmes to energy efficiency in public and residential buildings.

  • 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.

  • Estimating support for fossil fuel subsidies in the EU-28

    New study by IVM, VITO, IEEP and BIO identifies and quantifies government support to fossil fuels in the EU-28. Significant support is provided through reduced excise taxes, with EU-wide tax expenditures estimated to be between EUR 28 billion and EUR 200 billion depending on the benchmark used.

  • Getting delivery right: the EU 2030 climate and energy targets and the challenge of governance

    The EU’s commitment to GHG reductions of “at least” 40% by 2030 are a useful contribution to international climate negotiations. But does the package of energy targets offered by the European Council at the same time put us on the right track to long-term decarbonisation goals? IEEP’s Martin Nesbit offers a personal perspective on what needs to be done, and how the governance arrangements need to be tightened.

  • The Manual: Chapter 3 - Climate change

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter on EU climate change policy outlines the initial EU programme to stabilise CO2 emissions in the EU with explanations of the directives, decisions and legislation that were employed to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

  • 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.

  • Europe’s Climate and Energy Crossroads – IEEP seminars for MEPs on climate and energy issues

    IEEP has prepared two briefing documents on the climate and energy challenge in Central and Eastern European Member States, and in Southern European Member States. The briefings are background for a seminar we are organising for Members of the European Parliament, the first in a series on Europe’s Climate and Energy Crossroads.

  • The EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets – a triumph of short-termism?

    European leaders have raised the stakes for the Paris talks by agreeing a set of climate and energy targets for 2030. The challenge will be to implement the tortuous detail on energy policy in a way which matches with longer term decarbonisation ambitions.

  • 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.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • 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.

  • Biodiversity proofing of the EU budget

    This study shows how more can be done to firstly avoid and minimize detrimental impacts of EU funding on biodiversity, and secondly to increase biodiversity benefits.

  • IEEP Director debates the potential risks of hydraulic fracturing

    David Baldock, Director of IEEP, along with Prof. Robert Mair of Cambridge University and Prof. Alan Riley of City University, spoke at a debate hosted by the Law Society in London on shale gas hydraulic fracturing on 9 October

  • Systemic approach to adaptation to climate change and renewable energy harnessing (Biomass and Mini-hydro)

    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.