In addition to carrying out cost analyses, the overall environmental effectiveness of climate change policies, including low-carbon and carbon-free energy technologies investments, must be assessed. The JRC contributes to the EC Flagship Initiatives Resource-efficient Europe and An integrated industrial policy for the globalisation era by analysing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction policies and their sustainability.
Sustainability of biofuels
EU directives promote the use of renewable energies in the EU Member States. One difficulty is to calculate precisely the GHG emissions from indirect land use change , for instance when crops grown for food are diverted to those for biofuels.
To address this issue, the JRC assesses the performance of fuel alternatives through its Well-to-Wheels (WTW) analysis carried out in collaboration with the European Council for Automotive Research and the oil companies' European association, CONCAWE. The WTW analysis aims to estimate the GHG emissions, energy efficiency and industrial costs of all conventional and alternative automotive fuels and powertrains in Europe.
The JRC uses economic models and historical trends of cropland expansion in order to map regional changes in land and calculate resulting global GHG emissions. In addition, the JRC developed a guidance document for assessing carbon stock changes in soils and above- and belowground biomass due to the cultivation of biofuel crops.
The JRC also assesses renewable energies outside Europe, for instance in Africa, focusing on knowledge transfer to promote their use.
Renewable energies in Africa
Sustainable Energy Action Plans at local level
Cities are major contributors to GHG emissions, being responsible for 75% of carbon dioxide emissions. The Covenant of Mayors is a European movement involving local and regional authorities that voluntarily commit to increasing energy efficiency and to using renewable energy sources in their territories. Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union objective of reducing CO2 by 20% by 2020.
The JRC provides scientific and technical support to the initiative by:
- Developing a step-by-step methodological guidebook for the elaboration of Sustainable Energy Action Plans
- Evaluating the submitted Sustainable Energy Action Plans and providing feedback to the signatories
- Monitoring the implementation of the Covenant of Mayors
- Providing a technical helpdesk
POLES (Prospective Outlook for the Long term Energy System) model