Over one million people and 100 environmental NGOs across Europe are calling on the European Union to restart its economy by launching the biggest green investment plan the world has ever seen, financed by the bloc’s increased budget and recovery instrument. Tomorrow [Friday], MEPs will decide what they want in the EU’s Recovery Fund and seven-year budget ahead of the European Commission’s much awaited proposal next week.
The European Commission is expected to present a revised long-term EU budget for the period 2021- 2027 to address the economic shock caused by COVID-19. In a moment when the EU faces a recession of historic proportions, the next EU budget and investments to be made in the next 7 years become crucial to tackle both the climate and economic crises. The new briefing published by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe underlines the importance of aligning Europe’s long term strategies to fight the climate crisis with the proposed financial measures.
Frans Timmermans, Vice president of the European Commission for the European Green Deal said that the Commission will only assess the emissions reduction target to 50 – 55% by 2030, during his presentation at the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee.
The European Commission is working on a revision of the next long-term EU budget to address the economic shock caused by COVID-19. Expected are an overall increase for existing instruments, and proposals for new funds and potentially new sources of income.
But the costs of worsening climate change to people and economies will be worryingly high if the EU budget continues investing in carbon-, resource-intensive and environmentally damaging projects. Instead, the recovery programme must aim at climate neutrality to preserve Europeans from more harmful disruptions.
Europe’s energy infrastructure planning must move away from supporting fossil fuels and lay down rules for fully integrating energy efficiency and 100% renewables supply. It has to look at the entire range of energy solutions, on independent and evidence-based assumptions to be aligned with the EU’s climate and energy objectives, and relevant nature legislation, say environmental and climate NGOs in a joint letter sent to the European Commission.
The Member of the European Parliament in charge of the new EU climate law, Jytte Guteland from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), has announced today that she will support an increase of the EU’s 2030 climate target to 65%. In line with the latest science available, this target would allow the EU to contribute to the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Transitioning to climate neutrality requires bold long-term investments in clean energy infrastructure. And public and private investments into energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to ensuring a sustainable economic recovery out of the current crisis. However, a new report shows how little EU countries use existing EU regional development funds for this purpose. With the EU budget best placed to support the sustainable economic recovery, Member States must make climate action a much bigger priority of future EU funds spending.
Austria has shut down its last coal-fired plant in Mellach (Styria) thereby ending its energy generation from coal. This makes Austria the eighth coal-free EU member state.
The Estonian Government decided to allocate 125 million EUR in aid to the state-owned company Eesti Energia for the construction of a shale oil plant. This decision is irresponsible in light of the ongoing pandemic, Estonia’s future and EU’s climate goals.