EU leaders slash climate budgets by tens of billions to cover coronavirus recovery package. European Union leaders are set to slash tens of billions of euros from funds aimed at preventing catastrophic climate breakdown, after agreeing on a coronavirus recovery package after almost five days of difficult talks. The proposal earmarked 30 per cent of both the EU budget and the coronavirus recovery fund for climate protection, and said all spending must comply with a principle to “do no harm” to EU green goals. But it slashed the size of the EU’s Just Transition Fund, its flagship pot of money to help wean countries off fossil fuels, and watered down the climate ambitions required for countries to access the money. Under the plans, the fund will now receive a combined €17.5bn from the budget and recovery fund – down from the €37.5bn set aside in a previous proposal. To access the money, countries previously needed to have a national target for cutting emissions. Under the new plans, they must commit to the EU’s goal to become “climate neutral” by 2050 – a condition expected to allow Poland to access the fund without pledging to hit net-zero emissions itself.
Independent 21st July 2020 read more »
Following four nights of negotiations, the European Union (EU) has agreed its biggest joint borrowing plan ever recorded, pledging €750bn to a coronavirus recovery package, but green groups have expressed concerns that focus and accountability on green spending have “taken a battering”. Concerns have been expressed by green groups for a perceived lack of accountability as to how nations should be spending in alignment with the EU’s Green Deal, which features an ambition to become the first carbon-neutral continent. A total of 30% of the recovery package has been ringfenced for spending on green and digital transitions. Spending will be guided by a new sustainable finance taxonomy, which will also encourage private investment into technologies that will contribute to at least one of six environmental metrics and objectives set out by the EU, including climate change mitigation. “EU expenditure should be consistent with Paris Agreement objectives and the “do no harm” principle of the European Green Deal. An effective methodology for monitoring climate-spending and its performance, including reporting and relevant measures in case of insufficient progress, should ensure that the next MFF as a whole contributes to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Commission shall report annually on climate expenditure. In order to address the social and economic consequences of the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and the Union’s new 2030 climate target, a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, will be created.”
Edie 21st July 2020 read more »
Greta Thunberg has accused EU politicians of failing to acknowledge the scale of the climate crisis and said its €750bn Covid-19 recovery plan does not do enough to tackle the issue. The climate campaigner said the package of measures agreed by EU leaders proved that politicians were still not treating climate change as an emergency. “They are still denying the fact and ignoring the fact that we are facing a climate emergency, and the climate crisis has still not once been treated as a crisis,” Thunberg told the Guardian. “As long as the climate crisis is not being treated as a crisis, the changes that are necessary will not happen.” EU leaders reached agreement on the recovery fund in the early hours of Tuesday and pledged that 30% of the package would go towards climate policies, but few details were given.
Guardian 21st July 2020 read more »
The macroeconomic value of the EU’s €750bn Recovery Fund lies somewhere between modest and trivial. Part of it is reshuffling money that would have been spent anyway. The rest is spread thin over many years.
Telegraph 21st July 2020 read more »
Will EU countries agree on which ‘green’ projects are best suited to propelling them out of this economic slump? In setting up a level playing field for green finance, the EU put together a common rulebook, known as the taxonomy, which tells investors whether or not their money is tied up in a sustainable project. The taxonomy has proved divisive. Central and Eastern European countries wanted natural gas labelled as a ‘transition’ fuel, while France and the UK have pushed for nuclear to be classed as a ‘green’ technology. Both those asks have been opposed by countries that think renewable power should be the only tech that gets a green label or insist that atom-smashing is too politically toxic or expensive to include. The EU’s new executive branch, the Commission, has bet big on climate policy and agreed to kick the nuclear issue into the long grass in order to secure a compromise. Its in-house experts will now make a decision, away from the pressure of political talks. According to the Commission’s note on the taxonomy, although “nuclear energy is generally acknowledged as a low-carbon energy source, opinions differ notably on the potential environmental impacts”. Experts at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) and of its Institute for Energy and Transport in Belgium will now assess nuclear against a ‘do no significant harm’ principle. Its findings are not expected before the end of 2020.
Engineering & Technology 21st July 2020 read more »
At the end of a five-day special meeting of the European Council, EU leaders reached agreement today to jointly borrow EUR750 billion (USD862 billion) to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The EU’s recovery fund, to be composed of EUR390 billion in grants and EUR360 billion in loans, will be attached to a new EUR1.074 trillion seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This brings the total financial package to EUR1.82 trillion. Under the heading Security and defence, the plan includes support for the decommissioning of the following nuclear power plants: EUR490 million to Ignalina in Lithuania in 2021-2027 with an EU contribution rate of 86%; EUR50 million to Bohunice in Slovakia in 2021-2025 (50%); and EUR57 million to Kozloduy in Bulgaria for 2021-2027 (50%). In addition, EUR448 million has been allocated for nuclear safety and the decommissioning of the EU’s own installations.
World Nuclear News 21st July 2020 read more »