Governments expect global fossil fuel production in 2030 to be more than twice the level compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. However, energy accounts for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The growing use of high-carbon fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), which should be reduced and phased out as quickly as possible, seems to be a dead end.

However, the issue of energy production and use is high on the agenda, a sign that the subject has matured to some extent, but also of the underlying geopolitical tensions, particularly since the war in Ukraine. The scale of the public and private investment required, the strong need for legislation and regulation, combined with the major social issues of physical accessibility to energy in many countries and its price almost everywhere on the planet, are raising questions about the levers that need to be activated for the low-carbon transition and the achievement of carbon neutrality. 

Many countries are already moving towards massive electrification of energy use, with energy mix choices varying from country to country, sometimes with associated risks that need to be highlighted or blind spots that need to be revealed.
Several IDDRI teams deal with energy-related issues. Alongside a more specialised team, they seek to investigate the following structuring questions: 

  • How can we regain the political momentum that preceded the Paris Climate Agreement, and agree on an agenda to ensure that governments move forward faster and more decisively, particularly at COPs, to phase out fossil fuels? 
  • How can we involve Europe and its Member States in taking advantage of geopolitical tensions over energy to turn them into a lever for transformation and social justice?
  • How can we overcome the sometimes sterile debates on the choice of energy mixes to tackle the issue of energy demand more effectively, and hence the need for individual and, above all, collective sufficiency in energy use? 
  • How can we ensure that the pressure on biodiversity resulting from decarbonisation solutions that rely on unreasonable land use is better understood?
  • How can we get the world's financial system to move towards low-carbon energies?
  • How can we make good use of the argument of national sovereignty, or the risk of stranded assets? 
  • How can we significantly improve energy sufficiency in the major energy-consuming sectors-buildings, transport and industry?
  • What role can so-called "transition" energies (gas) or emerging energies (hydrogen) play, particularly in developing countries that are discovering such resources in their soil? Is this an unacceptable pitfall, or a moral necessity?  
  • How can we ensure effective planning of energy and climate policies at European, national and local levels?
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