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EU needs to double investment to meet climate goals — report

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Members of the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion hold an Earth Day rally on April 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.

PARIS, France — The European Union needs to double targeted investment to meet its 2030 climate goal, a consortium of research organizations said on Tuesday, warning that the pace of Europe’s related action must accelerate.

Delivering on the 2030 objective is pivotal for the EU’s ability to achieve an ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and end its contribution to global warming.

There are “promising signs of progress” in decarbonising electricity generation and industry, and deploying clean technology, said the European Climate Neutrality Observatory (ECNO), which tracks the EU’s headway towards carbon neutrality.

But “progress is currently still too slow overall”, it said in a report.

The group warned that a lack of climate financing is slowing down the transition.

“Without a turn-around on finance and realising the necessary investments, the transition could fail,” said a summary for policymakers.

The report draws on data from 2022, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed the EU into an energy crisis.

That year, the EU recorded an investment shortfall of 406 billion euros ($435 billion) for the energy, building and transport sectors alone compared to what is needed to meet the 2030 climate target, researchers found.

The EU has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

To align with its climate goal, annual investments in those sectors need to double to 800 billion euros.

“That is the next challenge for the EU Commission: a long-term investment plan for how it will address the investment gap,” said report co-author Clara Calipel, of the Institute for Climate Economics.

The analysis compared investment needs with what was spent by households, companies and governments in the 27 EU member states in 2022.

The same year, fossil fuel subsidies tripled from 2021 levels to reach 190 billion euros, as governments sought to support households and companies facing hiked energy prices.

Fossil fuel subsidies need to be progressively phased out and redirected towards financing the transition, including through helping households renovate their home, install a heat pump and switch to an electric car, Calipel said.

Picking up the pace of climate action also means accelerating the roll out of renewable energy and the phase out of coal, oil and gas.

To deliver on the 2030 climate goal, the share of renewable electricity must grow 1.4 times faster while the bloc’s fossil fuel phaseout must speed up by 1.8 times, with gas phaseout lagging behind, the report said.

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