The European Commission has awarded 26 action grants worth €36.75 million to support climate change mitigation, adaptation and climate governance and information projects covering 22 Member States. The projects demonstrate practical ways of contributing towards the EU climate objectives.
Ahead of the landmark UN climate conference in Paris at the end of this month, the European Commission has awarded action grants to 26 climate change projects from across the EU.
The projects range from peatlands restoration in Latvia to flood prevention in Italy and from sustainable asphalt manufacturing in Spain to reducing emissions from dairy farming in Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark, among many other topics.
Covering 22 Member States, the projects represent a total investment of some €73.9 million, of which the EU will provide €36.75 million in co-funding. Four more projects are to be awarded in 2015, using up the planned annual budget of €44.26 million.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “These projects demonstrate EU support for practical ways to meet our climate objectives. They show that innovative ideas to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change are being put into practice across Europe. Ahead of the Paris summit, the LIFE programme contributes to finding new solutions for a low-carbon, resource-efficient and climate-resilient economy.”
The projects are the first recipients of LIFE Climate Action funding, a new climate-specific funding stream of the LIFE programme. Launched in 2014, the first call for proposals under LIFE Climate Action attracted 189 applications for project co-financing. Descriptions of the selected projects can be found below.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The budget for the LIFE Climate Action sub-programme for 2014-2020 is set at €864 million in current prices. The Commission launches annual calls for LIFE action grants, with the next call expected in the spring of 2016.
LIFE DRB (Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie): LIFE DRB willdemonstrate an innovative patented burner technology, the Double Regenerative Burner, for the first time on industrial scale at the ArcelorMittal site in Ghent, Belgium. This technology allows the pre-heating of blast furnace gas and air in an innovative combustion process within the burner, potentially cutting use of natural gas in the reheating furnace by 90%.
LIFE-Dairyclim (Université de Liège): The project aims to contribute to mitigating climate impacts and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in dairy farming by optimising feeding strategies. These will be tested at pilot farms in Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark, where methane emissions are expected to be reduced by 10%. The project will also highlight the importance of grasslands for dairy farming as a potential carbon sink, and it will produce guidelines to ensure the dissemination and the transferability of its results.
LIFE+ ORGANIKO (Cyprus University of Technology): The project aims to demonstrate the comparative advantages of organic versus conventional farming and products, using indicators of climate change mitigation efficiency and agronomic and environmental quality. It will develop a strategic national plan for mitigating climate change in agriculture through the development of organic farming and its products in the Cypriot economy. Expected results include a 5% reduction in carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.
OPAL-Life (Natural Resources Institute Finland): The project will take a participatory approach to developing and implementing tools and methods to support agricultural and environmental policies that safeguard rural livelihoods and reduce the impact of the agricultural sector on the environment. It will aim to combine sustainable high-yielding crop extensive agriculture and livestock production with reduced GHG emissions.
LIFE Conipher (VICAT): The project aims to demonstrate how a high-performance photovoltaic insulation envelope can be used to retrofit housing stock in order to improve energy efficiency and increase the resilience of buildings to climate change. It will develop the first ready-to-use ‘plug and play’ panels for simple and rapid ‘deep renovations’. The panels, made from 85% recycled material, are expected to reduce primary energy use by 60% and GHG emissions by 75%.
LIFE BEEF CARBON (French Livestock Institute): The project will promote innovative livestock farming systems and associated practices to ensure the technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability of beef farms. The project partners will demonstrate action to mitigate the carbon footprint of beef production in France, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The development of national action plans could lead to an up to 15% reduction of the beef carbon footprint in 10 years.
LIFE CLIMATREE (Institute of Urban Environment and Human Resources): The project aims to contribute to the development of a novel methodology and provide policymakers with an innovative tool for the quantification of carbon storage in permanent tree-crops in the Mediterranean region. The project intends to improve carbon sink accounting in the EU by identifying ways to include tree-crop capacity in the calculations, estimate the socioeconomic benefit of tree crops for carbon storage and provide guidelines to tree crop farmers.
LIFE FoResMit (The Research Centre for Agrobiology and Pedology of Florence): The project aims to restore degraded coniferous forests in peri-urban areas in Italy and Greece. The project will define guidelines for good silviculture practice, including innovative thinning treatments, to improve ecological stability and enhance forests’ resilience, resistance and climate change mitigation potential.
LIFE Restore (Nature Conservation Agency): LIFE Restore aims to promote the sustainable management and re-use of degraded peatlands in Latvia. The project will define a methodology for accounting GHG emissions from managed wetlands in Latvia and develop a decision-support tool to optimise the impacts of restoration on biodiversity, economic growth, and long-term climate change mitigation. It will also provide an inventory and a database of degraded peatlands in Latvia and will provide support to policymakers. Project actions are expected to directly reduce CO2 emissions by some 2 227 metric tonnes per year.
LIFE_FERTILIFE (SISTEMAS AVANZADOS ENERGÉTICOS): The project aims to develop a prototype to capture CO2 emissions from a ceramics factory and re-use them to carbonate water for irrigating crops. It will demonstrate the feasibility of ‘carbonic fertigation’ technology for citrus crops in the Valencia region. By capturing and re-using 30-50% of the factory’s CO2 emissions, the project is expected to reduce soil respiration values by 5-10%, helping to limit the decomposition of organic matter in the soil.
LIFE BATTLE-CO2 (Fundación CARTIF): The project will demonstrate the incorporation of biomass as an alternative fuel in asphalt mix manufacturing. It will develop a new plant configuration, establishing a completely fossil fuel-free manufacturing process and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. The asphalt mixes will be tested by running a real-scale demonstration in a road construction site. The project will also develop Product Category Rules in order to obtain the first Environmental Product Declaration for Asphalt. In addition, the ash from biomass combustion will be tested as a soil stabiliser.
LIFE METHAmorphosis (FCC AQUALIA): The goal of the project is industrial-scale demonstration of two innovative waste treatment systems for obtaining low-cost biomethane to power vehicles. One system will process urban waste effluents and the other agricultural slurry. The systems are expected to reduce process energy demand by up to 70% and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. The commercial potential of the waste-derived biomethane will be tested in the automotive sector.
LIFE Blue Natura (Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Andalusia): The project aims to quantify the carbon deposits and sequestration rates of marsh and seagrass meadows in Andalusia (blue carbon). The information will enable an approximate evaluation of the environmental services provided by these habitats, inform restoration projects, and help develop policies for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
LIFE DEMOWAVE (Quantum Innovative S.L.): The project aims to demonstrate the viability of two wave energy converters for electricity generation on high-energy coasts. Two 25 Kw prototypes will be installed on the coast of Galicia. The project will assess their socio-economic viability and transferability potential and highlight their environmental benefits, including reductions in carbon footprint and pollutants compared to other technologies.
EffiSludge for LIFE (Scandinavian Biogas Fuels AB): The project aims to contribute to a more resource-efficient and sustainable pulp and paper industry, by saving energy during wastewater treatment and by substantially increasing the biogas potential from wastewater generated within the industry. The project will introduce an innovative process at a demonstration plant, by modifying the aerobic bio-treatment process to increase the production of usable waste effluents. Electricity consumption during aerobic wastewater treatment is expected to be reduced by at least 50% per unit of wastewater.
LIFE AgroClimaWater (Spyridis A. - Koutalou V. G.P. HYETOS): The project aims to prepare the agricultural sector to adapt to climate change. It will do this by developing an agricultural climate change adaptation strategy and introducing water management adaptation strategies to selected farmers’ organisations. It will focus on olive, citrus and peach orchards in two areas in Crete (Greece) and one area in Basilicata (Italy). Farmers will be provided with a methodology to adapt cultivation practices in order to achieve the highest possible yields despite low or erratic water availability.
LIFE ADAPT2CLIMA (National Observatory of Athens): The project aims to build a solid knowledge base on climate change and its impacts on the agricultural sector in three Mediterranean islands as well reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to climate change risks. It will facilitate the development of adaptation strategies for Mediterranean island agriculture by demonstrating an innovative decision-support tool in Crete, Sicily and Cyprus. The tool simulates the impacts of climate change on crop production and the effectiveness of selected adaptation options. Using the tool, the project will develop water management adaptation strategies in partnership with farmers’ organisations. Their implementation is expected to cut water consumption by at least 30% per participating farm.
Life SEC Adapt (Sviluppo Marche SpA): The main objective of the project is to increase the climate resilience of municipalities in Italy (Marche) and Croatia (Jadranska Hrvatska) and help them prevent and adapt to climate change impacts by mainstreaming and integrating climate objectives into their local policies and practices through the adhesion to the ‘Mayors Adapt’ initiative. The ultimate objective is to adopt and upgrade the model of Sustainable Energy Communities in order to improve climate governance.
LIFE DERRIS (UNIPOL GRUPPO FINANZIARIO): The project aims to transfer knowledge on risk assessment and risk management for catastrophic weather events from insurance companies to public administrations and SMEs in order to help create ‘resilient companies’. It will disseminate evaluation tools and skills for risk prevention developed by the insurance industry among public administration bodies and SMEs in Turin and implement innovative forms of public-private governance for dealing with climate catastrophes.
LIFE IRIS (ERVET SpA): The LIFE IRIS project aims to support enterprises in the Emilia-Romagna region, particularly SMEs, in their efforts to become more resilient to extreme weather events. It will also test the effectiveness of adaptation measures applied through a cluster approach (by industrial sector and supply chain) and foster the diffusion of financial tools aiming to reward resilient enterprises or sectors.
LIFE HEROTILE (Industrie Cotto Possagno S.p.A.): The project aims to design and produce two types of roof tiles (Marseille and Portuguese roof tiles, covering more than 60% of pitched roofs in Europe) with a shape characterised by higher air permeability through the overlap of the tiles and improved energy performance through under-tile ventilation. The new tiles will be tested on real-scale buildings with seven different roof types located in different Mediterranean regions. The project aims to demonstrate that the tiles can help save up to 50% of the energy for cooling buildings and reduce cooling-related GHG emissions by 10%.
LIFE PRIMES (Regional Civil Protection Agency - Emilia-Romagna): The project aims to build active resilient communities by engaging them in early warning and flood risk prevention measures. The project will encourage collaboration between civil protection authorities and civil society, raising awareness on adaptation to climate change and on the impact of risk alert patterns. It will standardise regional risk management and flood prevention procedures and set up an online information platform. More than 600 local adaptation action plans will be developed over three years by citizens involved in the project.
LIFE URBAN-ADAPT (Gemeente Rotterdam): The project will demonstrate an innovative, participatory approach to the large-scale implementation of urban adaptation strategies and related measures in order bolster acceptance among the public and stakeholders. The project will increase the water retention capacities within an urban area and restore ecosystems and develop green and blue infrastructure to increase the climate resilience of two districts of Rotterdam (ZoHo and Nieuwe Maas).
LIFERADOMKLIMA-PL (Gmina (Municipality) Radom): The project will make Radom, a city of some 220 000 people in central Poland, more resilient to climate change. To control local flood risks, the city will build ‘green/blue infrastructure’ for managing extreme weather events, including multi-use storm water retention areas. The project will also produce a climate change vulnerability assessment for Radom.
LIFE ADAPTAMED (Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Andalusia): The project aims to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on key ecosystem services in three representative Mediterranean national protected areas of socio-economic importance: the Doñana wetlands, the high mountain range of Sierra Nevada, and the sub-desert coastal area, Cabo de Gata. The project will use an ecosystem approach to develop, implement, monitor, evaluate and disseminate adaptive management measures focusing on soil retention, pollination, pastures, temperature regulation, water provision, forest fire prevention and desertification. As a result, the project expects to increase the resilience of the socio-ecosystems concerned and protect their key ecosystem services from climate change.
LIFE Clim'Foot (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie (ADEME)): The project aims to support the implementation of public policies that give public and private organisations incentives to reduce their carbon emissions. It will launch a European network around the concept of the Carbon Footprint of Organisations, provide tools to harmonise carbon footprint calculations, train policymakers and end-users, test proposed methodologies for calculating and reducing carbon footprints with different organisations and match investors with organisations looking for funding to reduce their carbon footprint. The project involves public and private entities from Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary and Italy.