Draft EU budget earmarks sizable increase in spending to curb climate change

View of the flags of the European Union at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Credit: © European Union 2017 - European Parliament
Julie Mollins
5 May 2018

BONN, Germany (Landscape News) — In a draft budget plan released this week, the European Commission announced the allocation of a quarter of the 2021-2027 European Union (EU) budget to climate adaptation and mitigation.

A total of 320 billion euros ($383 billion) will be directed toward climate, an increase of 114 billion euros, according to a report from Climate Action.

Currently, 206 billion euros, or 20 percent of the EU budget, is being spent to fight climate change through various environmental initiatives to 2020. The proposed budget represents an increase of 5 percent.

French President Emmanuel Macron, an advocate of implementing climate protections, has previously suggested that 40 percent of the EU budget should go towards initiatives supporting a low-carbon economy.

After the draft budget announcement, some environmental groups said a higher amount is needed to meet the goals of the 2015 U.N. Paris Agreement on holding temperature increases in check to prevent global warming, Climate Action reported.

“It is a good sign that the European Commission considers increasing the share of the future budget dedicated to climate action”, said Markus Trilling, policy coordinator at Climate Action Network Europe, adding that so far “the green potential of the EU budget has regrettably been untapped.”

Trilling said that bringing European economies closer to the Paris Agreement, the post-2020 EU budget must spend at least 40 percent on the decarbonization of energy, industry and mobility systems, and ensure not one cent will benefit fossil fuel-related activities and infrastructure.

Critics also said that the increase in spending, which must still be approved by the European Parliament and Council, does not create a carbon neutral economy.

Climate Action story: EU plans to massively increase spending on climate change