The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7 million from the EU budget to support Europe’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6 million to be invested into 144 new projects in 23 Member States.
The support comes from the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. €323.5 million that will go to projects in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity and environmental governance and information.
According to Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, “I am delighted to see that this year again our LIFE programme will support many innovative projects to address our common environmental challenges. LIFE-funded projects use relatively little funding and with simple ideas to create profitable green businesses that deliver on the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said now is the time for promises to be delivered. “With the Paris Agreement entering into force, we must now focus on delivering on our promises. These projects will create the right conditions to promote innovative solutions and spread best practices in reducing emission and adapting to climate change across the European Union. In this way they support the EU’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
According to the EU Commission, the projects illustrate its ongoing commitment to its flagship circular economy package. A significant number of awards are granted to help Member States best make the transition to a more circular economy.
Examples of recognized projects in 2016 include the new energy-saving hydrogen-electric garbage trucks in Belgium, technologies for reducing the health risks of sludge in wastewater pioneered in Italy and a project to help Greek municipalities, such as Olympia, increase recycling rates.
In the field of climate action, the investment will support climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation and climate governance and information projects totalling €75.1 million.
Selected projects support the EU’s target to reduce GHG emissions by at least 40 % by 2030, contributing to the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Some examples of 2015 projects include restoration and carbon storage in peatlands in five EU countries (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), demonstration of the production of low-emission cement and concrete products in France, enhancing the climate resilience of vineyards in Germany and implementing adaptation measures in urban areas in Cyprus.