Key Topics

The EUKI-projects work on the topics of Awareness, Energy, Mobility, Cross-cutting Climate Policy, Buildings and Municipalities, Climate-proof Finance and Sustainable Economy.

This lessons-learned report by EUKI project Cyclurban+ highlights its pilot-cases and possible measures for local authorities. Several examples give evidence that they were successful.

New method proposed for assessing the benefits of road construction

Directing EU Funds towards Climate Neutrality

From the community



New method proposed for assessing the benefits of road construction

by

Zoltán Pogátsa, economist, University Lecturer, Board Member of Clean Air Action Group
András Lukács, geophysicist, President of Clean Air Action Group
Márton Vargha, mathematician, Transport Policy Officer at Clean Air Action Group

Whether it is worth building a new road or widening an existing one should be decided by careful analysis. To this end, EU-funded road investments should be preceded by a cost-benefit analysis. Such analyses are usually based on the European Commission’s pertinent guides. A study by Clean Air Action Group (CAAG) has shown that the use of the current EU guides has led to an unjustifiably great number of new road constructions.


The main problem identified by CAAG concerning the EU guides on cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of road construction is the fact that these guides envisage the inclusion of “time-saving” in the CBA. It is often supposed that if a new road is put into operation then people will save time since they can reach their destination more quickly. Although this might be true for some individual road users, it is not true for society as a whole. Firstly, people all over the world on average spend the same time (about 1.1 hours per day) on travel. Secondly, new roads induce new traffic which did not exist earlier because the new roads make it easier (i.e. less costly) to reach certain destinations, and therefore, more people will take advantage of this opportunity. All this means that on the level of the whole society, no time-saving occurs at all! Since in most CBA, “time saving” constitutes the overwhelming majority (often more than 90%!) of the benefits, there is an enormous bias towards approving the construction of new roads.

Not calculating with the existence of induced demand also leads to wrong assumptions in the CBA concerning road accidents. According to the methodology described in the EU’s CBA guides, the construction of a new motorway reduces the number of personal injury collisions (PICs). This assumption is based on the number of PICs per vehicle-kilometer. However, as mentioned above, the new road will result in more traffic (both on the new road and the roads leading to it), and the increased traffic will lead to more accidents in absolute terms.

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Highway road © CAAG

Since the EU’s CBA guides are not mandatory, cherry-picking by those interested in road building has become widespread. While they prefer to use “time-saving” as a benefit, they often neglect other important provisions. For example, the EU guides explicitly prescribe that when carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of a road project, the possibility of developing alternative modes of transport (e.g. rail) should also be examined. Nevertheless, this wording is often (and in some member states almost always) interpreted as meaning that only the various possible routes of the planned road should be examined and compared.

The EU guides go even further, stating that opportunities to influence demand with appropriate pricing should also be explored. Pricing should incorporate externalities in line with the polluter pays principle. These externalities may include cutting down forests, demolishing buildings, as well as disrupting communities and ecosystems. Real-life CBAs, sadly, hardly ever examine the possibilities of influencing demand.

Most importantly, today, in the age of the global environmental crisis, any investment that would further degrade the environment must be abandoned. This principle should not be overridden by narrow economic interests.

CAAG has sent its study on the CBA of road constructions to the European Commission for consideration.

The full study can be downloaded here.

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Back seat for cars in Bratislava

Climate and Energy Fellowships for Journalists in Europe

Bicycles, buses and trams are all set to play a more prominent role in the future urban landscape of the Slovak capital Bratislava. But the city’s planners have yet to factor in the differing patterns of mobility shown by men and women as journalist Sandra Kirchner experienced herself.

A Database Bears Fruit

EUKI project ‘Directing EU funds towards climate neutrality’ gave recommendations to about 100 representatives of national and local governments, business groups and academics in 8 countries on the climate-friendly spending of 240 billion EUR in total. Through analysing 58 best practices from these countries, the team also formulated policy recommendations on public infrastructure investments that reached over 75 mio. people.

This analysis by EUKI project ClimArchiNet summarises the findings and experience gained in the course of the project and highlights the problems and challenges of sustainable construction in the Slovak Republic. Recommendations and innovative solutions to help the construction sector contribute to the (Slovak) goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 are also given.

Stakeholder dialogue in practice: Just Transition in the European car industry

Just Transition in the Car Industry

From the community



Stakeholder dialogue in practice: Just Transition in the European car industry

by Gloria Koepke and Leah Sinsel, NELA. Next Economy Lab

On May 12, 2022, the conference “Just Transition: Where is the European car industry heading?” was held in Brussels. It was part of the EUKI project “Just Transition in the car industry” and organised by NELA. Next Economy Lab with the support of six partner organisations from Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany. The co-creative conference placed great emphasis on bringing together different stakeholders to enable and facilitate dialogue. Representatives at the conference included various different stakeholder groups: industry, environmental NGOs, academia, trade unions from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as policy makers from the European Commission and Parliament.


Asking the right questions

Since change is inevitable in the European automotive industry due to environmental regulations, international competition and technological shifts, many questions arise. How can we create new pathways for the automotive industry within the context of sustainable mobility in Europe? How to foster a Just Transition in one of our most symbolic industries? How to best manage the conflicting needs, priorities, and expectations of stakeholders? How to ensure that this transition is fair for the workers and regions directly affected? How can we account for the disparities between Eastern and Western Europe? And finally: How to enable Eastern European stakeholders to actively shape the transition?

Woman on a stage (Sarah Mewes) giving a presentation on the Just Transition in the European car industry project.

Sarah Mewes (NELA) is presenting the findings of the country reports on the topic of a Just Transition in the European Car Industry. Photo: Just Transition in the Car Industry

What problems do we need to address first, and how?

The conference opened with keynote speeches and then moved into an interactive, co-creative format. The first keynote speaker Frank Siebern-Thomas from the European Commission’s DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion stressed the need for policy to realise the potential of transition while addressing the risks through labour market policies, re-skilling, investment and mitigating regressive effects. Benjamin Denis, senior policy advisor at the European trade union IndustriALL, gave the second keynote. He particularly emphasised the importance of social dialogue in accelerating the emissions reduction in the EU.

Afterwards, transformation expert Janna Aljets provided critical commentary on the keynotes, with a particular focus on climate and global justice. “What kind of economy can we not only afford but which economy can bring wellbeing without destroying our common basis of life? How do we understand an economy that is not based on the over-exploitation of resources and people, especially in the Global South?”

Two men in the foreground discuss a topic. The man on the right gestures. In the back, pairs of men and women are also engaged in discussions.

Discussing some main issues in the field of a Just Transition in the European car industry. Photo: Just Transition in the Car Industry

Finding solutions – co-creatively

The new insights, controversies and open questions served as the basis for co-creative workshops on four topics: Stakeholder participation and social dialogue, Electrification, Reskilling and Just Transition in the Central and Eastern European car industry. In the workshops diverse stakeholder groups came together to identify key questions that urgently need to be answered together. Through lively, face-to-face discussions, the co-creative format of the workshops enabled an understanding of various perspectives on the transition. We used deep listening exercises to familiarise participants with conflicting positions of other stakeholders and enable the development of initial solutions.

A blurred woman on the right corner (moderator Jacki Davis) is speaking to Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg during the panel discussion.

Sigrid de Vries, Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, Balázs Bábel, Jacki Davis (left to right), Photo: Just Transition in the Car Industry

At last, the conference concluded with a multi-stakeholder panel discussion. Panelists were Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (MEP Greens/EFA), Tommaso Pardi (Director GERPISA, Research Group on the Automobile Industry and its Employees), Sigrid de Vries (Secretary General CLEPA, European Association of Automotive Suppliers) and Balázs Bábel (Vice-President VASAS, Hungarian Metalworkers’ Federation).


Summary

Sometimes it is not easy to engage in dialogue, especially when it is almost inevitable to be confronted with conflicting views and positions of various stakeholders. However, this conference chose to jump straight into the deep end and acknowledge opposing positions, different values and lived experiences. The numerous positive feedbacks from the participants showed once again that dialogue is worthwhile. Stakeholder participation and social dialogue is crucial for a Just Transition. When well facilitated, it creates ownership of change among all people and regions affected. Listening to views beyond our own allows us to come together and join forces for a sustainable future for all.


Videos

man sitting Károly György

Interview with Károly György on the impact of a Just Transition on regions in Hungary


Monika Benedekova

Interview with Monika Benedekova on Just Transition in collective bargaining agreements


Michal Hrubý

Interview with Michal Hrubý on the opportunities and risks of electrification in the Czech Republic


Frank Siebern-Thomas

Interview with Frank Siebern-Thomas on the triple dividend of a green transition

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Where Do EU Funds Go?

The EUKI project “Directing EU Funds Towards Climate Neutrality” operates an interactive database listing only project examples from CEE that practice efficient climate protection. Already, more than 25 entries show where money is being invested that is advancing the energy transition. Already in the first ten months, the project has reached 56 million interested parties as well as acting politicians in 8 target countries. Through the growing transparency, EU funds can be distributed more efficiently and directed to climate-effective projects.

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Strategy document / outputs of the ClimArchi.Net project Czech Republic

ClimArchiNet – Climate Architects Network

A summary of the main findings and recommendations of the Project Expert Group for architects, professional chambers, public procurers and state administration. For more information about the Czech project activities visit the Sustainable Architecture Information Platform.

ClimArchiTrip – Sustainable Architecture in Austria

ClimArchiNet – Climate Architects Network

The ClimArchiNet EUKI project is coming to an end. On a final study tour, participants had the chance to discover sustainable architecture in Vienna.

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Allocating EU Funds in CEE: A webinar

Directing EU Funds towards Climate Neutrality

EUKI project “Directing EU Funds towards Climate Neutrality” organised a Web Seminar about recommendations on money expenditures from a climate perspective. Examples were presented by every country representative.