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Just Transition Fund

21-04-2021

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus ...

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an amended proposal on the Just Transition Fund (JTF) was published on 28 May 2020. The JTF is set to have a budget of €17.5 billion (€7.5 billion from the core EU budget under the Multiannual Financial Framework and €10 billion from the Next Generation EU instrument, in 2018 prices). Funding will be available to all Member States, while focusing on regions with the biggest transition challenges. The proposed budget for the Just Transition Fund may be complemented with resources from cohesion policy funds and national co financing. The Fund will be part of a Just Transition Mechanism, which also includes resources under InvestEU and a public-sector loan facility. In the European Parliament, the file has been entrusted to the Committee on Regional Development (REGI). A provisional political agreement was reached in trilogue on 9 December 2020. The Parliament is expected to vote on the text of the regulation during its May 2021 plenary session.

EU hydrogen policy: Hydrogen as an energy carrier for a climate-neutral economy

12-04-2021

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying ...

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying on extensive electrification. Research and industrial innovation in hydrogen applications is an EU priority and receives substantial EU funding through the research framework programmes. Hydrogen projects are managed by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership supported by the European Commission. The EU hydrogen strategy, adopted in July 2020, aims to accelerate the development of clean hydrogen. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, established at the same time, is a forum bringing together industry, public authorities and civil society, to coordinate investment. Almost all EU Member States recognise the important role of hydrogen in their national energy and climate plans for the 2021-2030 period. About half have explicit hydrogen-related objectives, focussed primarily on transport and industry. The Council adopted conclusions on the EU hydrogen market in December 2020, with a focus on renewable hydrogen for decarbonisation, recovery and competitiveness. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted an own-initiative report on the EU hydrogen strategy in March 2021. This is an update of a Briefing from February 2021.

Cohesion policy and climate change

22-03-2021

The European Green Deal and the European Union's commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have put climate issues firmly on top of the EU agenda. However, the transition towards climate neutrality will also entail economic and social change. Cohesion policy, which accounts for about one third of the EU budget, can play an important role in tackling this challenge. The European Parliament is due to vote on an own-initiative report on 'cohesion policy and regional environment strategies in the ...

The European Green Deal and the European Union's commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have put climate issues firmly on top of the EU agenda. However, the transition towards climate neutrality will also entail economic and social change. Cohesion policy, which accounts for about one third of the EU budget, can play an important role in tackling this challenge. The European Parliament is due to vote on an own-initiative report on 'cohesion policy and regional environment strategies in the fight against climate change' during its March II plenary session.

Climate action in Czechia: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

The EU binding climate and energy legislation for 2030 requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering the period 2021 to 2030. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment for each NECP. Czechia generates 3.5 % of the EU's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has reduced emissions at a slower pace than the EU average since 2005. With high levels of energy-intensive industry in the Czech economy, the country's emissions intensity is significantly ...

The EU binding climate and energy legislation for 2030 requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering the period 2021 to 2030. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment for each NECP. Czechia generates 3.5 % of the EU's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has reduced emissions at a slower pace than the EU average since 2005. With high levels of energy-intensive industry in the Czech economy, the country's emissions intensity is significantly higher than the EU average, though it is on a downward trend. Energy industries, manufacturing and industrial processes account for 60 % of the Czechia's total emissions. Energy industry emissions have fallen by almost 20 % since 2005, reducing this sector's share of total emissions by 8 %. The Czech economy is heavily reliant on coal and nuclear energy is seen as an essential part of the transition process. Three regions are designated coal regions within the country's RESTART transition programme. Under EU effort-sharing legislation, Czechia was allowed to increase emissions until 2020 and will seek to reduce these emissions by 14 % relative to 2005 by 2030. Czechia achieved a 15 % share of renewable energy sources in 2018. The country's 2030 target of a 22 % share are focused mainly on advanced biofuels, with some solar and wind. Energy efficiency measures centre on building stock, cogeneration and support measures for industry and households.

Climate action in Denmark: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

The EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030 require Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment of each NECP. Denmark submitted its NECP in December 2019. The country accounts for 1.6 % of the EU's net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2005 and 2018, it achieved a net emissions reduction of 23 %, performing better than the EU as a whole. In addition, the carbon intensity ...

The EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030 require Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment of each NECP. Denmark submitted its NECP in December 2019. The country accounts for 1.6 % of the EU's net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2005 and 2018, it achieved a net emissions reduction of 23 %, performing better than the EU as a whole. In addition, the carbon intensity of the Danish economy was below the EU average, and decreased more rapidly. In 2019, the country's emissions were concentrated in three sectors – transport, energy and agriculture – amounting to 69 % of total emissions. Developments in the energy sector were particularly notable and serve to explain two-thirds of the reduction in total emissions accomplished since 2005. Regarding emissions under the Effort-sharing Regulation, the emissions reduction target for Denmark has risen from 20 % for 2020 to 39 % by 2030 (compared to 2005). After reaching the 30 % share of renewables target well in advance of 2020, a 55 % target has been set for 2030. In 2019, the 2020 targets relating to energy efficiency had still not been met, and the level of ambition in those areas for 2030 has been revised downwards.

Climate action in Bulgaria: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

EU legislation requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period in order to contribute to the EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030. Each individual final NECP has been assessed by the European Commission. The assessments were published in October 2020. Bulgaria submitted its final NECP in March 2020, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Commission on the draft report. In the1990s, Bulgaria experienced structural economic ...

EU legislation requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period in order to contribute to the EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030. Each individual final NECP has been assessed by the European Commission. The assessments were published in October 2020. Bulgaria submitted its final NECP in March 2020, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Commission on the draft report. In the1990s, Bulgaria experienced structural economic changes relating to its transition to a market-based economy. In 1990, the country accounted for total emissions of 103 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent (MtCO2e) (excluding land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and including international aviation). In 2005, its total GHG emissions decreased by 37 % compared with 1990, while in 2019 they were 44 % below the 1990 level. Bulgaria's NECP identifies several reasons for the reduction in total GHG emissions. These include: structural changes in industry, such as the decline in energy-intensive enterprises, an increased share of hydro and nuclear electricity, implementation of energy efficiency measures in the housing sector, and a shift from solid and liquid fuels to natural gas in energy consumption. However, according to the country report under the 2020 European Semester, Bulgaria is the most GHG-intensive economy in the European Union, and coal is still the main source of energy.

The public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism

21-12-2020

The public sector loan facility is the third pillar of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM), along with the Just Transition Fund and just transition scheme under Invest EU. The facility will consist of a grant and a loan component. With the contribution of €1.525 billion for the grant component from the Union budget and EIB lending of €10 billion from its own resources, the aim is for the public sector loan facility to mobilise between €25 and 30 billion in public investment over the 2021-2027 period ...

The public sector loan facility is the third pillar of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM), along with the Just Transition Fund and just transition scheme under Invest EU. The facility will consist of a grant and a loan component. With the contribution of €1.525 billion for the grant component from the Union budget and EIB lending of €10 billion from its own resources, the aim is for the public sector loan facility to mobilise between €25 and 30 billion in public investment over the 2021-2027 period. Funding will be available to all Member States, while focusing on the regions with the biggest transition challenges. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) have joint responsibility for this file. Their report was adopted at a joint sitting of the two committees on 16 October 2020. Parliament subsequently confirmed the committees' mandate to open trilogue negotiations. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Research for REGI Committee-Climate Spending in EU Cohesion Policy: State of Play and Prospects

21-12-2020

With more than EUR 55 billion in planned investments, Cohesion Policy seeks to make a significant contribution to the EU´s overall climate-related spending target of 20% in the 2014-2020 period. There are concrete achievements in a number of areas such as flood and forest fire protection. However, evidence also suggests that Cohesion Policy is at risk of missing some of its targets, including on energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions. Cohesion policy has also continued to provide ...

With more than EUR 55 billion in planned investments, Cohesion Policy seeks to make a significant contribution to the EU´s overall climate-related spending target of 20% in the 2014-2020 period. There are concrete achievements in a number of areas such as flood and forest fire protection. However, evidence also suggests that Cohesion Policy is at risk of missing some of its targets, including on energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions. Cohesion policy has also continued to provide support to fossil fuels and biomass, which may hinder the EU’s long-term path to climate neutrality. Moreover, the Commission’s current approach to tracking climate-related expenditure in Cohesion Policy has shortcomings. There is a need for a transparent and meaningful methodology, with a stronger focus on performance and results, as repeatedly highlighted by Parliament. The climate spending target is set to increase to at least 30% under the EU’s next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery Instrument (Next Generation EU). In the period 2021-2027, Cohesion Policy is expected to place even more emphasis on climate and environment-related issues in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Climate action: The way ahead [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-12-2020

In a passionate speech delivered recently at Columbia University in New York, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the fight against climate change as the top priority for the 21st century. Furthermore, the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States raises hopes that climate action will now be more coordinated and ambitious. Meanwhile, the European Union is determined to push ahead with its Green Deal in a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions ...

In a passionate speech delivered recently at Columbia University in New York, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the fight against climate change as the top priority for the 21st century. Furthermore, the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States raises hopes that climate action will now be more coordinated and ambitious. Meanwhile, the European Union is determined to push ahead with its Green Deal in a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases while creating jobs in clean industries. The main objectives of the European Green Deal are for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050, to radically reduce other types of pollution, help European companies become world leaders in green products, and offer aid to regions affected by this economic transition. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the Green Deal and climate issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous item from these series, published in March 2020.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders on 10 and 11 December 2020

15-12-2020

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved ...

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved a significant breakthrough in combating climate change, by committing to a binding EU reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 % by 2030. Moreover, the European Council discussed the development, purchase and the EU-wide distribution of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and stressed the need to take forward proposals for a health union. EU leaders also agreed to step up the fight against radicalisation, terrorism and violent extremism.

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