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#Energy - EU funding for priority projects should reflect #2050ClimateObjectives 

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The Commission should update its guidelines to select priority energy projects that are fully in line with its climate policy, said Parliament.

The revision of the TEN-E guidelines, to be proposed by the European Commission later this year, should be consistent with EU energy and climate targets for 2030, its long-term commitment on decarbonisation and the energy-efficiency-first principle, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Friday (10 July) by 548 votes in favour, 100 against, and four abstentions.

In order to ensure that the projects selected for the next PCI (projects of common interest) list are in line with the EU’s climate commitments, MEPs call on the Commission to also propose transitional guidance before the end of 2020. To be granted PCI status, projects must contribute to keep the energy supply affordable, in keeping with the five principles of the Energy Union.

The TEN-E regulation was set up in 2013, before the Paris Agreement was adopted, and several developments have since significantly changed the landscape of energy policy, MEPs recall.

Background

The European Parliament rejected an objection to the 4th PCI list last year, following a debate with the European Commission.

Under the Trans-European Network-Energy (TEN-E) Regulation, adopted in 2013, the Commission identifies the most important PCIs across the EU, so that these projects can benefit from simplified permits and the right to apply for EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility.

Most projects aim at ensuring undisrupted delivery of electricity and gas to all parts of the EU, by closing cross-border gaps in the network and enhancing local storage capacity.

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Southern Europe’s top performers in tackling climate change

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A report published by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that Romania and Greece are amongst the region’s most active EU member states on climate change issues, writes Cristian Gherasim, Bucharest correspondent.

Efforts to increase the use of renewable energy have picked up in Greece, as well as plans to close down coal fueled power plants and continue with the green energy transition.

The economic downturn brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic might also have played a role in setting the agenda for Greece’s efforts to develop alternative means of energy. Greece is seeking to bring much need foreign investors and moving towards green energy might just be the way to do it. Greece is also aiming to position itself as a leader on the issue of climate action and is now currently involved in a development project with the German carmaker Volkswagen, the ECFR report shows.

Another front runner in seeking green technologies is Romania which sees the much discussed European Green Deal as an opportunity to develop its economy and rely more on green energy as investors become more aware of the climate challenge issue.

In Romania as well, there have been lengthy debates about phasing out coal. Past month nation-wide controversy broke out when more than 100 miners in the Jiu Valley in Romania had barricaded themselves underground to protest unpaid wages.

The coal miners’ issue in Romania highlights a real national and European issue. Many country face issues making the transition to green energy with politicians from both sides of the aisle making the case for and against the move.

Then, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans stepped in and said that there's no future for coal in Europe and Romania needs to leave coal behind. Timmermans heads the realization and implementation of the Green Deal and the directives that will ensure climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU.

Bulgaria on the other hand has committed to keep its coal sector for another 20-30 years, the report shows. The S-E European country is trying to catch up with the rest of EU in transitioning to greener alternative energy sources. Yet the report notes a significant shift in its attitude towards green technologies in the past years.

A notable example of an EU member state embracing a conservative approach towards climate strategy can be found in Slovenia.

Slovenia, the report notes, decreased its climate ambitions significantly once the new government took over in January 2020. The new government does not regard the European Green Deal as an economic opportunity for the country.

Unlike Slovenia, Croatia has been considerably more open to the European Green Deal. In Croatia, the EU’s climate efforts have generally had a positive reception from the government, citizens, and media outlets, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has marginalized the issue. Also, the adoption and implementation of key climate-related policies have faced repeated delays, according to the report.

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Climate change

Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans attends Petersberg Climate Dialogue

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Today (7 May), Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans participates in the 12th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an annual high-level political meeting of over 30 ministers from around the world, co-hosted by the German government and the COP26 Presidency. The meeting will start at 14h CEST  today with remarks by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Their speeches will be live-streamed here. This year's Petersberg Dialogue will focus on the preparations for the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. It will address pressing issues such as enhancing countries' climate-resilience and adaptation capacity, scaling up international climate finance, and promoting transparent international carbon market rules. The meeting will be held virtually for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission will publish Executive Vice-President Timmermans' remarks climate finance on Friday here. For more information see here.

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Climate change

LIFE programme: More EU support for climate action

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The EU agreed to fund the LIFE programme with a budget of €5.4 billion. LIFE is the only programme at EU-level solely dedicated to the environment and climate and the programme for 2021-27 is the most ambitious yet. There will be €3.5bn for environmental activities and €1.9bn for climate action. The programme is part of the Green Deal package proposed by the European Commission.

Find out about EU responses to climate change.

Creating a cleaner and more circular economy that re-uses and recycles products is a main priority for the EU and the LIFE programme will have an important role to play. The programme will support the transition to clean energy and will work together with other programmes towards the EU goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. It also aims to protect and improve the quality of the environment and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

The LIFE programme is part of the EU long-term budget and recovery plans, which committed to spending 30% on climate action. The other programmes include the Just Transition Fund to help EU regions to adapt to the green economy, InvestEU which will finance climate projects, and Horizon Europe which will fund EU research and innovation in the climate sector

Read more on EU funding for initiatives to fight climate change:

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