Piecing together Europe’s climate finance puzzle

(27 Jan 2020) The climate neutrality puzzle is massive. As EU affairs ministers meet in Brussels today (27 January), they should ensure €260 billion are invested annually to lead a fair and just transition away from fossil fuels, campaigners write.

Raphael Hanoteaux is the EU policy officer at CEE Bankwatch Network; Katie Treadwell is the energy policy officer at WWF European Policy Office; Markus Trilling is the finance and subsidies policy coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

European affairs ministers meet on 28 January for decisive discussions about Europe’s finances for 2020 and beyond. The EU will soon have all the necessary jigsaw pieces in place to solve the puzzle of reaching higher climate ambition, but only if the final picture reveals a fossil fuel phase-out and guarantees for the public to have a say in how climate money is spent.

The first piece was laid on 12 December when the European Council committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This implied bringing down all greenhouse gas emissions of the economy close to zero by then.

The second followed two weeks ago when the Commission revealed its €1 trillion investment plan to deliver a Green Deal, which included a proposed €7.5 billion for a Just Transition Fund and a Cohesion Policy with €373 billion for the EU’s coal-dependent and neediest regions, respectively.

Yet the final shape of Cohesion Policy funding up to 2030 is still in the making, with some Member States still pushing for EU funding for fossil fuels. This is a mistake.

As the numbers suggest, the climate neutrality puzzle is massive. The Commission estimates as much as an additional €260 billion annually is needed to build a carbon-neutral economy and lead a fair and just transition away from fossil fuels. To achieve this, all EU funding instruments must align with the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

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, 27 Jan 2020: Piecing together Europe’s climate finance puzzle