Climate policy mainstreaming means that actors whose main tasks are not directly concerned with mitigation of, or adaptation to, climate change also work to attain these goals. For instance, the EU climate and energy package sets emission reduction targets for several sectors. However, reaching sector-specific targets often requires measures in other sectors as well.
The Europe 2020 strategy put forward by the European Commission sets out a vision for Europe's future. The key guiding principles for the budget reform are the creation of European added-value and the concentration on key priorities as outlined in this Europe 2020 Strategy.
Climate policy mainstreaming has begun at the strategic level by the agreement of the European Council to place energy and climate goals amongst the Europe 2020 strategy's 5 headline targets.
This horizontal strategic signal is the first step, but further mainstreaming of climate change policy (adaptation and mitigation) into the EU budget and financing programmes is crucial for turning policy objectives into actual achievements on the ground.
The future EU budget must very clearly demonstrate that it contributes to the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help meeting the EU "20/20/20" climate and energy targets.
This would also reflect the recent entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which made combating climate change on an international level a specific EU objective.
Today expenditure by the EU budget related to climate change is largely integrated into the various policy areas such as energy, agriculture or transport. It seems appropriate and effective to primarily continue on integrating/mainstreaming climate issues in all major spending categories; however, in order to create a low-carbon and climate resilient society, this would need to take place at a larger scale.
Mainstreaming climate concerns into other policies will continue to be the most effective way to spend the main bulk of the climate finance needed. However, the fact that relevant spending is achieved in various parts of the budget and using different instruments does not facilitate a proper tracking of whether resources are sufficient nor does it create visibility in terms of results and achievements. It is therefore important to find ways to increase visibility, flexibility and coherence of climate-related spending.