The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222 million from the EU budget to support Europe’s transition to more sustainable and low-carbon future under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The EU funding will mobilise additional investments leading to a total of €379 million going towards 139 new projects in 20 Member States.
Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “In its 25th year, the LIFE programme continues to invest in innovative projects with high added value for people, businesses and nature. I am delighted to see that the programme transforms close-to-market technologies into new, green business.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete added: “The historic Paris Agreement on climate change has added wind to the sails of already accelerating climate-smart investments. With these projects, we use limited public finance in a catalytic way: we unlock private finance to protect the environment, fight climate change and provide cleaner energy to our citizens. These kinds of investments are of critical importance if we are to move from aspirations to action.”
Financing a circular and low-carbon future
€181.9 million will go to projects in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information.
In line with the European Commission’s circular economy package, projects will help Member States in their transition to a more circular economy. Project examples include: testing an Italian prototype that could cost-effectively convert petrol cars into hybrid vehicles, creating bio-based products from wastewater sludge in the Netherlands, and applying a new biological treatment to remove pesticides and nitrates from water in southern Spain. Other projects will support the implementation of the Action Plan for Nature, in particular the management of Nature 2000 sites. Species protection is another focus, such as in the Slovenian cross-border project to help the survival of a highly endangered Alpine lynx species.
In the area of climate action, the EU will invest €40.2 million to support climate change adaptation, mitigation and governance and information projects. Selected projects support the EU’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. LIFE funding will also help improve the resilience of one of Europe’s busiest waterways, the Scheldt Estuary in Belgium, develop tools to forecast desert dust storms, and counteract the heat island effect in cities.
- 59 LIFE Environment & Resource Efficiency projects will mobilise €134.6 million, of which the EU will provide €73.0 million. These projects cover actions in five thematic areas: air, environment and health, resource efficiency, waste, and water. The 15 resource efficiency projects alone will mobilise €37.9 million to help in Europe’s transition to a more circular economy.
- 39 LIFE Nature & Biodiversity projects support the implementation of the Action Plan for Nature, the Birds and Habitats Directives and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. They have a total budget of €135.5 million, of which the EU will contribute €90.9 million.
- 14 LIFE Environmental Governance and Information projects will raise awareness on environmental matters. They have a total budget of €30.2 million, of which the EU will contribute €18 million.
- 12 LIFE Climate Change Adaptation projects will mobilise €42.6 million, of which the EU will provide €20.6 million. These action grants are awarded to projects in six thematic areas: ecosystem-based adaptation, health and wellbeing, mountain/island areas adaptation focusing on the agriculture sector, urban adaptation/planning, vulnerability assessments/adaptation strategies, and water (including flood management, coastal areas and desertification).
- 9 LIFE Climate Change Mitigation projects have a total budget of €25.7 million, of which the EU will contribute €13.6 million. These action grants are awarded to best practice, pilot and demonstration projects in three thematic areas: industry, greenhouse gas accounting/reporting, and land use/forestry/agriculture.
- 6 LIFE Climate Governance and Information projects will improve governance and raise awareness of climate change. They have a total budget of €10.4 million, of which the EU will contribute €6 million.
Source: European Commission