EU executive seeks to leverage billions to tackle climate change

Strasbourg, France (dpa) – The European Union’s executive is to unveil plans on Tuesday to leverage billions of euros over the coming years in support of ambitious climate goals that would reduce the bloc’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made climate action a key priority. Last month she unveiled her flagship “European Green Deal,” aimed at adapting the EU economy to achieve climate neutrality.

However, her plan – which will require huge investment – hinges on buy-in from member states, who are locked in a bitter fight over the bloc’s next long-term budget.

The proposal to be unveiled on Tuesday foresees 7.5 billion euros (8.34 billion dollars) in new EU funding from 2021-27, according to a draft seen by dpa.

Further resources would be transferred from existing budget pots, while member states would have to co-finance projects. This amounts to a funding capacity of 30-50 billion euros, the commission projects.

The so-called Just Transition Fund will provide help for regions particularly reliant on pollutant fossil fuels such as coal, peat or shale gas.

Almost 237,000 people work in coal-related activities across the EU, with a further 16,000 in peat extraction and the oil shale industry, according to the commission paper. The funding would help adapt these sectors and retrain workers, among other things.

Two further financing pillars – from an existing EU investment programme and credits issued by the European Investment Bank – would bring overall climate funding to 100 billion euros.

By 2030, the commission wants to mobilize a trillion (1,000 billion) euros in green investment, von der Leyen said in Luxembourg on Monday.

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