BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union risks missing its target of spending 20 percent of its budget on action to tackle climate change, the bloc’s financial watchdog said on Tuesday.
There had been “no significant shift towards climate action” in key areas such as agriculture, rural development and fisheries, the European Court of Auditors said.
The green benchmark for the 28-nation European Union’s current seven-year budget was agreed two years ago after difficult negotiations in Brussels.
The findings will be a blow to the EU’s efforts to be seen as a global leader on climate issues as the world tries to implement the landmark Paris climate pact.
“There is a serious risk that the EU’s target of spending at least one euro in every five on climate action between 2014 and 2020 will not be met,” said report author Phil Wynn Owen.
“Progress has been made, but in key spending areas it is largely business as usual.”
The current level of spending on climate action in 2014-2016 was only 17.6 percent of the budget, meaning that the EU would have to increase spending to 22 percent from 2017 to 2020, it said.
Current estimates by the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, of agricultural spending on climate action “include overestimation and lack sound justification,” the auditor said.
“The Commission has no detailed action plan setting out how it intends to catch up,” it added.
The EU budget for 2017 is agreed at 134.4 billion euros, so a target of 20% would amount to 26.88 billion euros.
At a guess, I would estimate that the UK pays about 10% of the EU budget, so our share would be in the region of £2.3bn.
We normally think of climate action costs in terms of renewable subsidies and research grants. This is a reminder that there are other costs as well.