Three years after COP21 and in the aftermath of COP24, a sense of urgency can be felt: the Global Carbon Budget report highlights a +2.7% worldwide increase in greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2018. The commitments made at COP21 are not being met, and yet many are those who’ve increased their ammunitions in this battle, starting with the European Commission.
With the establishment of the European Urban Agenda in 2015 and by ensuring that the EU complies with the UN’s sustainable development objectives, the European Commission has taken a leading role in this offensive against climate change. It deploys significant financial resources by integrating climate action in sectors like cohesion policy, regional development, energy, transport, research and innovation or development policy. The LIFE Programme, launched in 1992, is one of the pillars of EU funding for environment and climate.
The LIFE Programme: the EU’s main financing framework for environment and climate change
With a €3.4 billion budget for 2014-2020 and a co-financing rate of 60% of the total eligible costs, the LIFE programme finances projects that promote the environment and climate. The main objectives of this programme are mitigation and adaptation to climate change and the preservation of the environment. Generally, depending on the calls for proposals, concerned project leaders are research centres, local and regional authorities, state administrations, local authorities, international organisations, companies, universities, etc.
For the next long-term budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposed an increase of 60% for the financing of the LIFE programme, therefore, amounting to €5.45 billion. In addition, the Commission, aiming at using at least 25% of the EU funding for climate objectives, proposed to boost funding in all EU programmes for additional climate actions. An information day on the LIFE programme will be held on Wednesday 10 April 2019 in Paris – La Defense, in order to give a detailed presentation of the LIFE 2014-2020 programming and to better prepare those interested to apply for the 2019 calls for proposals which will be published next April.
Towards a European Finance-Climate Treaty?
The fight for climate change in Europe is becoming even more important lately. Following the recommendations of the French Court of Auditors, Jean Jouzel, a climatologist, and Pierre Larrouturou, an economist, published their draft proposal for a European climate treaty last February. The objective of this treaty is to win the current battle against global warming by creating a European Climate and Biodiversity Fund with an annual budget of €100 billion and by creating a Climate and Biodiversity Bank with legal personality and financial autonomy.
Written by citizens and professionals from legal, financial and administrative fields, and supported by 600 personalities from 12 European countries, a finalised version of the proposal will be ready for submission to the European Parliament in June 2019, after the three planned working days in Brussels, Berlin and Madrid. At the next European summit on March 21st, European leaders will position themselves on this momentum of ecological transition.
The EU’s strong commitment to climate change is undeniable. Substantial financial resources are deployed to achieve the UN’s sustainable development objectives and to comply with the Paris Agreement.
However, the statistics remain alarming and reflect the insufficiency of the EU’s response. The draft proposal of the European Finance-Climate Treaty seems to be an adequate response as it will not only allocate a more substantial envelope but it will also generate nearly 6 million jobs in Europe. The question of whether European leaders share this view, remains to be seen.