EU Commission for Climate Action calls for 20% budget spend on climate-related intiatives

| July 13, 2011

The EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is calling for a 3x raise in ‘climate-related’ spending for the next EU budget.

In a post on the EurActiv website, Hedegaard points out that the current budget only allocates around 5%-7% to climate-related projects such as wind turbines, improving grid connections, and making cities more climate friendly, but that a recent survey shows that nearly nine out of ten Europeans are in favour of spending more.

“While keeping the overall budget for 2014-20 stable in real terms, our proposal suggests boosting the share of climate-related spending to at least 20% of the total EU budget,” Hedegaard wrote. “Although the benefits of the transition to a low-carbon society – such as reduced energy bills, improved energy security, cleaner cities, better health and new jobs – will clearly outweigh the costs, substantial up-front investments are needed to get going. Also, the transition requires changes in all major economic sectors.

“To succeed we therefore have to integrate – or mainstream – climate aspects across the whole spectrum of policies and sectors, from energy, transport and industry to agriculture, regional development, research, innovation and external action. This way we can maximise synergies between climate action and other European policies and ensure that the EU budget delivers real value for money.

“With the current budget proposal we are taking important steps to do just that. Instead of parking climate spending in some distant corner of the budget, we are moving it into the big spending areas.”

Part of her argument is that current budgets now carry environmental conditions. For example, she proposes that 30% of direct payments to farmers now “be conditioned on environmentally sound and climate-friendly practices” – such as limited emissions from manure and lessening the use of fertillisers.

Another proposal calls for “transitional and competitiveness regions – the ones with GDP over 75% of the European average” to spend at least 20% of investment on energy efficiency and renewable technologies.

Additionally, Hedegaard also highlights increases in spending in key areas, including raising the budget for research and innovation from 54 billion euro to 84 billion euro, and increasing the budget for specific small-scale climate projects from around 300 million euro today to 800 million euro.

original post: The EU budget: lean and green | EurActiv.

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