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Environmental Defense Fund Europe

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Environmental Defense Fund Europe[edit]

Environmental Defense Fund Europe (EDFE) is a non-profit environmental advocacy group[1]. The organization works to increase the pace and efficiency of efforts to decarbonize the European energy system by influencing climate and energy policy development and implementation at both a European and national level.[2]

It is nonpartisan and often advocates market-based solutions to environmental problems based on sound science[3]. Environmental Defense Fund Europe is the European organization of the US-based Environmental Defense Fund.

In 2016 it established its first legal entity in Europe, based in London, with Baroness Bryony Worthington as Executive Director[4].

Campaign issues[edit]



The Environmental Defense Fund Europe aims to accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions economy, achieve a 45% cut in global methane pollution by 2025[5], and ensure that half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are covered by durable, declining limits achieved with a carbon price by 2030.

The organization also advocates initiatives that encourage clean energy innovation and pushes for the electrification of the transportation sector, updating electricity market regulations, and driving new business models to increase investor confidence.

It also promotes the increased and improved use of carbon pricing to enable ambitious emissions reduction targets to be set and met, focusing on both shipping and aviation.

Oil and gas methane[edit]

Tackling oil and gas methane emissions is one of Environmental Defense Fund Europe’s priorities. Its overall objective is to achieve an EU commitment to address Europe’s fossil fuel consumption footprint on global methane emissions from oil and gas through collaboration with neighbouring and supplier countries.

In 2018, Environmental Defense Fund announced it would be launching a satellite to measure human-made methane emissions, starting with those originating from oil and gas operations.[6] MethaneSAT LLC, an EDF affiliate, will offer a level of precision not previously available to measure global oil and gas related methane emissions via satellite imagery. MethaneSAT will give both countries and companies robust data to spot methane problem areas, identify savings opportunities, and measure their methane reduction progress over time.

Carbon intensity[edit]

Environmental Defense Fund Europe wants to see a shift toward a zero emissions system and unlock savings for citizens. To this end, Environmental Defense Fund Europe, National Grid[7], University of Oxford Department of Computer Science, and WWF joined forces to provide the world's first [[Carbon Intensity]] forecast with a regional breakdown across the UK.[8]

This is a real-time online tool that allows users to see the carbon intensity of electricity in their area in the UK up to three days in advance. Using this information, homes and businesses can adjust their usage patterns to reduce emissions and costs.

Carbon pricing[edit]

Environmental Defense Fund’s climate objective is that by 2030, half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are covered by durable, declining limits achieved with a carbon price.

It is also exploring the impact of placing a price on carbon in sectors not currently covered by the EU’s emissions trading system, such as international shipping, and how carbon pricing can build confidence in setting, meeting, and beating more ambitious climate targets.

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe is monitoring the effectiveness of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and draws on best practice experience from around the world to advocate for greater use of market forces to deliver climate ambition. It is working with others to increase engagement in Europe’s 2050 climate strategy development.

Air Quality[edit]

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe is working with a range of partners and stakeholders – including the Mayor of London, C40, Google and King’s College – to undertake an assessment of London’s air quality. Known as Breathe London, the collaborative project uses a combination of fixed, mobile and wearable sensors to better understand Londoners’ exposure to air pollution. The network is comprised of over 100 sensors attached to lampposts and buildings, including in some of the most polluted and sensitive parts of the city. Additionally, two dedicated Google Street View cars – outfitted with air monitors – are driving across the city to precisely measure pollution concentrations approximately every 1-10 seconds.

The results from the Breathe London collaboration will help inform air quality policy assessment and development, as well as help explain how air quality changes due to traffic, weather and topography. The approach will also be shared with the 96 members of the international C40 Cities network, with the ambition of improving air quality for hundreds of millions of people living in cities around the world.


Electric vehicles[edit]

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe is an advocate for lowering pollution from transport, and encourages the uptake of electric vehicles in the public and private sector in the UK. In 2018 EDFE engaged with the UK Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, hosting a series of stakeholder roundtables and one-to-one meetings, seeking and promoting diverse voices in the field of zero emissions vehicles. It assembled experts from academia, industry, government and global NGOs to discuss key policy asks that could be addressed by the Bill, to boost the uptake of zero emissions vehicles.

In August 2019 Environmental Defense Fund Europe’s response to a Government consultation, which focused on electric vehicles, was positively referenced in a report by the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee on technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reductions targets.[9]

EDFE’s recommendations were also taken up in a government report concerning the UK Treasury’s review of vehicle taxation.


The Environmental Defense Fund Europe advocates for a comprehensive global policy framework to enable shipping to meet and exceed its long-term emissions target (a reduction in total annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008), including interim targets or budgets; the creation of an independent scientific and technical body; and the introduction of carbon pricing and targeted recycling of revenues.

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe is exploring, through collaborative research, which alternative fuels may be most promising for the shipping industry and how these may be developed at the quantity and quality required for the sector. It released a report ‘Sailing on Solar’ in April 2019 which set out how the shipping sector could drive development across the world through the build out of alternative fuels for shipping [10]


Environmental Defense Fund has been working on solutions to address international aviation’s environmental impacts for more than two decades. The organization’s approach to international aviation focuses on market-based measures, stronger efficiency improvements and alternative fuels.

It engages on CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) to ensure robust rules for accountability and environmental integrity and prevent double counting of emissions offsets used by airlines[11]. It is also fighting for proper carbon accounting of biofuel-related emissions.

In aviation the organization works with five other NGOs, including WWF, under the umbrella of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), which is the accredited civil society observer in the ICAO.

Fourth Wave of Environmentalism[edit]

The Environmental Defense Fund Europe is a supporter of the Fourth Wave of environmental innovation, which is a megatrend in environmental protection and advocacy involving diverse groups of people and empowered by scientific and technological, civic and policy innovation.[12]

The trend differs from the past, since technology is now the key to make environmental problems actionable. The focus is no longer on the problem, but on the solution and people. Innovation is empowering people to take action.

The Fourth Wave of environmental innovation builds on the previous waves, supercharging our ability to use legal and market forces to overcome climate challenges.

• The First Wave of environmentalism protects our lands: it began with the circa 1890 conservation movement of John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Gifford Pinchot, which started the process of preserving America’s natural heritage. • The Second Wave of environmentalism uses the law to protect people and nature: it began with the 1960s antipollution efforts of grassroots activists which broadened the focus to protecting nature and people from environmental harm. • The Third Wave of environmentalism harnesses business and markets: it began in 1986, introduced by Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp in a 1986 Wall Street Journal op-ed[13]. This approach focused not only on addressing the immediate causes of an unhealthy environment, but on solving underlying problems. Krupp wrote “recognise that, behind the waste dumps and dams and power plants and pesticides that threaten major environmental harm, there are nearly always legitimate social needs – and that long-term solutions lie in finding alternative ways to meet those underlying needs. Otherwise, we are treating only symptoms; the problems will surface again and again. Answer the underlying needs, and you have a lasting cure.” • The Fourth Wave of environmental innovation empowers everyone. It is much more complex: on the one hand, a more actively engaged business sector that internalises and assumes responsibility for environmental progress. On the other, there is the emergence of the environmental justice movement and increasingly diverse and local activism powered by the grassroots. Innovation, people, and policy are crucially important elements of the Fourth Wave story.


In the UK Environmental Defense Fund Europe is working in partnership with National Grid, University of Oxford Department of Computer Science and WWF UK, to develop the world's first Carbon Intensity forecast with a regional breakdown (see above).

It is also involved with Breathe London to bring hyperlocal air pollution mapping to London with the goal of informing policies that reduce air pollution, with more cities in Continental Europe set to follow suit. In collaboration with the Swedish government, it also ran a project to design a sustainable fishing system that could be replicated across Europe.

Building on methane research conducted in North America, the organization has also helped launch a series of international methane studies, under the auspices of the UN Environment, to conduct the research necessary to estimate methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry supply chains, and to publish those results in peer-reviewed journals. The studies are being coordinated by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), a UN-sponsored partnership bringing together governments and civil society to address short-lived climate pollutants, with support from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a CEO-led coalition of 13 oil and gas companies[14]. Methane experts from the Environmental Defense Fund, including the organization’s Chief Scientist, chair the group’s scientific work and are responsible for coordinating field studies with academic and research institutions around the world.


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