EU Votes $1.11Trillion For Climate Investments 

Yemisi Izuora

The European Union, EU, is voting 1 trillion euros (around $1.11 trillion) for “sustainable investments” across the coming decade.

Brussels released details of its “European Green Deal” back in December, describing it as a “roadmap” to make the bloc’s economy sustainable. One of the deal’s key aims is for the EU to be climate neutral by the year 2050.

A key part of the investment plan, which was revealed Tuesday, is something called the “Just Transition Mechanism.” This will aim to to mobilize at least 100 billion euros between 2021 and 2027 in order “to support workers and citizens of the regions most impacted by the transition.”

Financing for this will come from the EU budget, co-financing from EU member states, and contributions from the European Investment Bank and InvestEU, a major funding program set to run from 2021 to 2027.

Breaking things down further, it’s envisaged that the EU budget will contribute 503 billion euros to the overall investment plan. This will in turn trigger some 114 billion in national co-financing, while InvestEU is expected to leverage approximately 279 billion euros of public and private investments.

The Just Transition Mechanism is expected to deploy around 143 billion euros over the course of 10 years, while roughly 25 billion euros will come from the Innovation and Modernisation funds.

“People are at the core of the European Green Deal, our vision to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The transformation ahead of us is unprecedented,” von der Leyen added. “And it will only work if it is just — and if it works for all. We will support our people and our regions that need to make bigger efforts in this transformation, to make sure that we leave no one behind.”

While von der Leyen is understandably optimistic, others are taking a different stance, highlighting potential divisions within the EU itself.

“If this funding is really meant to promote a green transition, it must only be available to governments that are committed to that transition and have a clear plan to ditch coal,” Sebastian Mang, Greenpeace EU’s climate and energy advisor, said in a statement.

“If they want the cash, the likes of Poland and the Czech Republic will have to prove they are serious about tackling the climate emergency,” Mang added. “For the European Green Deal to be successful, all funding, including from the EU budget, needs to stop supporting fossil fuels, nuclear energy and other destructive industries.”

For its part, the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, described the Just Transition Mechanism as “not clear enough on the need for regional plans to include timelines for the phase out of fossil fuels, including a phase-out date for coal of 2030 or earlier.”

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