29th Sep 2023

Auditors: 'No sign' of enough funds to hit 2030 climate targets

  • The EU auditors warn that vague information in member states' climate plans provide 'little indication' that 2030 ambitious targets will translate into sufficient action (Photo: Andreas Gücklhorn)
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Auditors warned on Monday (26 June) that EU member states' climate plans lack crucial information regarding investment requirements and funding sources necessary to achieve the EU's climate and energy targets for 2030.

The EU has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. And the recently-updated REPowerEU plan, in turn, aims to achieve 40 percent of renewable energy share by the end of the decade.

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EU auditors noted these proposals, which further raise targets for 2030, require an increase in financing, which is currently not detectable.

EU countries agreed to spend at least 20 percent of their 2014-2020 EU budget on climate action — and later they decided that for the 2021-2027 EU budget at least 30 percent (about €87bn) should be used to finance the green transition.

But to reach the 2030 targets, the investment required has been estimated at around €1 trillion per year. Therefore, a significant portion of the necessary investment will need to be sourced from national and private funds.

"The private sector needs certainty and clarity. The fact that the targets are moving every year doesn't really help," a senior auditor told journalists during a press conference.

The EU auditors warned that vague information in member states' National Energy and Climate Plans provide "little indication" that these ambitious targets will translate into sufficient action.

"There is no information that sufficient financing will be made available to reach the 2030 targets, in particular from the private sector," reads the auditors' report.

Meanwhile, the auditors observed that the EU's achievement of its 2020 climate and energy targets was influenced, in part, by "external factors" such as the Covid-19 pandemic's lockdowns, which played a role in reducing emissions.

They noted that certain EU countries did not meet expectations in terms of their contributions and resorted to alternative methods — including emissions allocations or renewable energy shares from other member states that had surpassed their own targets.

Belgium, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia, for example, did not meet their 2020 renewable targets based on their own efforts.

In their report, EU auditors said the "lack of transparency" in these flexibilities used by member states to reach a target makes it difficult for citizens and stakeholders to determine if these measures actually improve cost-effectiveness in achieving the targets.

"We need more transparency on the performance of the EU and its member states on their climate and energy actions," said Joëlle Elvinger, the EU Court of Auditors member in charge of the report.

EU auditors, meanwhile, also invite the bloc to better count its share of global emissions, including those stemming from trade and international aviation and shipping.

The lack of ambition of EU member states towards the 2030 energy efficiency target was also raised by EU auditors, who point out that the previous target for 2020 was already difficult to achieve.

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