European Union funding contributes to achieving Europe's climate goals. The EU has shown its commitment to the fight against climate change by incorporating spending on climate action into its whole budget. It is thought to be the first region in the world to do so.
Climate action is a key priority for the EU. To respond to challenges and investment needs related to climate change, the EU has agreed that at least 20% of its budget for 2014-2020 – as much as €180 billion − should be spent on climate change-related action.
To achieve this increase, mitigation and adaptation actions will be integrated into all major EU spending programmes, in particular cohesion policy, regional development, energy, transport, research and innovation and the Common Agricultural Policy. The EU’s development policy will also contribute to achieving the 20% overall commitment, with an estimated €1.7bn in 2014-2015 and €14bn over the years 2014-2020 for climate spending in developing countries. For further details, see An EU budget for low-carbon growth.
This budget marks a major step forward in transforming Europe into a clean and competitive low-carbon economy and in helping developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The progress towards reaching the 20% objective will be monitored on an annual basis by measuring the performance of the EU programmes in the framework of the budgetary procedures. Member States have an obligation to report on climate spending under the five European Structural and Investment Funds according to an established methodology.
The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Since its creation in 1992, it has co-financed more than 4 000 projects, contributing more than €3.1 billion to environment and climate protection in Europe.
To reflect the importance of climate-related action, the LIFE Programme 2014-2020 includes a dedicated sub-programme for climate action. This will provide €864 million of co-financing between 2014 and 2020 to develop and implement innovative ways to respond to climate challenges. This amounts to a tripling of the climate action budget compared to the LIFE+ programme in 2007-2013.
This funding will complement investments made in climate activities through the EU budget by addressing the specific needs of climate projects and by piloting or testing new technologies.
LIFE Climate Action will support public authorities, NGOs and private actors, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in implementing small-scale low-carbon and adaptation technologies and new approaches and methodologies.
The sub-programme will also have the opportunity to fund more projects by leveraging private finance through loans and guarantees via local banks. It will also support capacity-building, as well as awareness-raising actions involving stakeholders to help improve implementation of climate legislation.