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EU directs 20% of budget to climate change on eve of UN finance meeting

EU has confirms budget for next seven years, directing €180bn towards climate finance, with €15bn to go towards developing countries

Connie Hedegaard speaks alongside Lithuanian environment minister Valentinas Mazuronis (Source: RTCC)

Connie Hedegaard speaks alongside Lithuanian environment minister Valentinas Mazuronis (Source: RTCC)

By Sophie Yeo in Warsaw

20% of the EU’s budget will go towards fighting climate change, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced in Warsaw today. 

This equates to €180 billion on climate spending between 2014 and 2020, which will be used to reduce emissions domestically and help developing countries adapt to climate change—three times what was provided in the previous budget.

Much of this will be spent on domestic projects, helping with the development of climate-smart agriculture, energy efficiency and the transport sector.

Over the next seven years, €15 billion from the EU’s overseas development budget will be ringfenced for climate spending. This is separate from what is provided each year by individual member states. For instance, the UK will provide £3.87bn of international climate aid between 2011 and 2015.

Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw today, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that if the world is successfully going to tackle climate change “one of the things we need is to change is the whole economic paradigm, including the way we construct our budgets.” She added that Europe is the first region to construct its budget in this way.

Finance meeting

Dr Celine Herweijer, partner at consultancy firm PwC says that, with high-level discussions on climate finance taking place tomorrow, other countries may soon announce similar policies.

“The EU finance announcement will hopefully be followed by many others in the coming hours and days. Finance holds the key to unlocking the stalemate we are seeing on the post 2020 agreement,” said Herweijer.

But she added: “Whether we’ll get the scale of movement on finance we need is unlikely. Targets of $60bn-$70bn by 2016 have been mentioned by some of the developing country groupings. Getting there would be a huge outcome.”

This will be the first time that there has been a ministerial dialogue dedicated to climate finance. The purpose of the discussion is to find a way to scale up the finance promised by developed countries to the US$ 100bn they have promised to deliver annually from 2020 to be delivered through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

It comes with high expectations. “Countries have known about this for a long while,” says Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor at E3G. “I get a sense there’s going to be some announcements on a range of different issues associated with finance. Whether that will be enough to placate and temper some of the quite heightened frustration in these negotiations, I don’t know.”

Green Climate Fund

There has been some doubt over whether the GCF will be able to harness the level of funding that was promised at UN climate talks in Cancun in 2010. At a press conference today, UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the Fund an “empty shell” and urged developing nations to fulfill their promise to supply $100bn.

“We need a lot of resources and financial resources is the most important and quickest way [of addressing climate change],” he said.

But speaking today in Warsaw, Manfred Konukiewitz, co-chair of the GCF board, said that the fund was “on track”, and that there was a “good chance” that the fund would be capitalised in 2014.

But while he said that the “window is now open” for countries to make a success out of the GCF “it won’t stay open for an unlimited time.” He stressed that the credibility of the UN climate process depended on successful capitalisation of the fund.

“Looking at the entire year we have the opportunity to really bring the fund to the point where it can mobilise resources and where it can spend money,” he said. “If we miss that opportunity we have a problem because that will certainly not be good for the credibility of this whole process and we don’t know when the next such opportunity will arise.”

Hedegaard said that EU contributions to the GCF remained dependent on the eventual mechanisms contained within the fund, but said that once it was set up, many member states would be ready to contribute.

Related News

Finance ministers set for UN climate talks invite

US climate finance meeting ‘needs to deliver plan’

Hedegaard: EU budget ‘major step’ in climate fight

WWF: EU budget a bad deal for the climate

  • John WB

    Yeo eh, no relation to that trougher Tim Yeo I hope.

    • Yonnie

      Much too pretty

  • Old Goat

    “Fighting climate change”? My God, what a shower of lunatics. We are irretrievably stuck in the Age of Stupid. And the EU are about as stupid as it gets.

  • Ian L. McQueen

    All these proposed actions are perfect examples of assumerism- assuming that it has been proved scientifically that rising CO2 means coming climate disaster and that all they then have to do is propose solutions for a problem…..that does not exist. The fact is that there is no scientifically valid reason for this belief, only highly-promoted outputs from computer “models” that reflect the beliefs of their programmers rather than “covering all bases”. With no reason to believe that reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide gas there is no reason for spending the immense amounts of money being thrown around, supporting an endless string of bureaucrats all devoted to acting on this belief that has no foundation, and so on.

  • Eponymous

    Isn’t GCF just rearranging the deck chairs for another GFC ?

  • Connie the Rastafarian

    If the bulk of other nations haven’t forked up by the end of this meeting then Britain should take its generous offering off the table. (The EU’s offer doesn’t count as that’s just more of Britain’s money).
    There’s only so far a nation can lead by example when no one is following

  • Hildegard Hubdle

    Connie is becoming better versed in the language of spending other people’s money. I applaud her tenacity. Never trust percentages though. They are not real quantities. EU funding is but a microcosm of the giant UN sink.

  • Clyde Israel

    There is no disputing climate change, thus investment in adaptation is good sense, what matter is where the money is spent.
    Limiting carbon emissions is not good sense.

  • GoBeeJay

    Connie Headupherarse needs removing from office and the sooner the UK departs from the EU the better. Mental midget is too kind a description for CH.

  • Freeman Henry

    Does one sense the heavy hand of censorship in what shows up these proceedings ? Is it any wonder the developing world, and the developed world are losing confidence in the whole process ?
    Where is the discipline ?
    The Baroness Ashton needs to be put in charge.

  • judo magyar

    what a horrible waste of money! These people should get off tghe gravy train and do something useful. Idiots!

  • Harri

    So EU will never get out of this depression.
    This is such a scam, actually this is crime against us.

  • Roger

    the world is successfully going to tackle climate change “one of the
    things we need is to change is the whole economic paradigm, including
    the way we construct our budgets.” She added that Europe is the first
    region to construct its budget in this way. – See more at:

  • Roger

    ps, you have a bug in your comment software, thats the reason for the number of pastes that suddenly posted themselves befoore I could put my part of the comment in.