Climate action in the European Union is a diverse challenge. The financing of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI ) therefore also covers a wide range of sectors. Altogether, the EUKI finances climate action projects in eight core areas.
The EU has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 emission levels. This will represent a significant contribution to the
Paris Climate Agreement and the objectives of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to below 1.5 degrees. These ambitious plans can only be achieved through a comprehensive climate policy – in other words, climate strategies and solutions that go beyond the borders of nations, industries and specific fields of knowledge.
This is precisely what EUKI’s climate policy projects focus on: They bring political decision-makers, scientists and practitioners to the same table. Some projects create networks between stakeholders from EU member states and those in Brussels during this process. Others focus on spreading existing successful climate policies in EU member states and other countries. The EUKI projects show that civil society stakeholders in the member states can drive climate change mitigation with great commitment and at the same time contribute to cohesion between EU countries. Find more projects on climate policy in our overview.
The EU wants to become a trailblazer in generating renewable energy. Its aim is to produce at least 32 percent of the energy for heating, electricity and transport from renewable energy sources by 2030 and to increase energy efficiency by at least 32.5 percent. As the burning of oil, coal, lignite, natural gas and peat for energy causes approximately three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, the energy transition is an important and necessary step towards achieving the European climate targets.
EUKI aims to support energy transition above all in the economically weaker countries of Central and Southern Europe, as well as Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Many EUKI energy sector projects are located in these regions. They network energy sector stakeholders, communicate the advantages of an energy transition and use practical examples to show how important clean energy is for the climate, environment and health. Find more projects on energy in our overview.
Buildings and Municipalities
Both internationally and nationally agreed climate targets have to be implemented at the local level. The key stakeholders in this process are the municipalities. They are responsible for almost 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – and urban centres will continue to grow in the future. Existing buildings alone are responsible for 40 percent of the energy consumption and 36 percent of the emissions in the EU. However, municipalities and cities are also laboratories for innovation, where new climate change mitigation ideas and technologies are developed and tested.
The EUKI projects bring together the cities and municipalities working on the solutions of tomorrow in areas such as energy management, roof greening and solar panel installation. Find more projects on buildings and municipalities in our overview.
The transport sector accounts for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, of which approximately three-quarters come from road traffic. The need for action is particularly great here, because although CO2 emissions in all other sectors in the EU have been reduced in comparison to the levels of 1990, they have in fact risen when it comes to road traffic. Another factor on the densely populated European continent are the airborne pollutants and noise caused primarily by urban car traffic that are having an adverse effect on the population’s health.
In order to expedite the urgently required transition in the European transport sector, EUKI is supporting stakeholders who focus on sustainable mobility. These are cities and municipalities that encourage cycling, and civil society organisations that seek to be involved in the development of national climate strategies for the transport sector. Find more projects on mobility in our overview.
Agriculture, Soils and Forestry
Ten percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. It therefore contributes substantially to climate change and is at the same time directly affected by the consequences. The EU’s policies aim to reduce emissions from agricultural production and align it more closely to climate change. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays a decisive role in this together with its stipulations for more environmental protection and nature conservation. The role of soil as a major carbon reservoir is inextricably linked with agriculture. When organic soils are drained, enormous quantities of greenhouse gases are released. Forests are another major carbon reservoir needed to achieve a long-term balance between emissions and reductions in Europe.
The EUKI projects in this area connect research institutions, governments, non-governmental organisations and farmers to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and experience, and support the piloting of successful approaches. Find more projects on agriculture, soils and forestry in our overview.
Many EUKI projects have set themselves the goal to spread information on climate change and encourage people of all ages, particularly children and young people, to actively participate in climate action. The projects highlight very practical approaches, such as ways in which school children can become involved in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in their direct environment. At the same time, young adults are gaining qualifications that will open up professional opportunities in the new industries that will evolve around the energy transition. In addition, European journalists are also being provided with detailed information on the framework conditions and prospects in other EU member states. The media have a key role to play in raising awareness for the challenges and opportunities of climate change among the general public in the EU. Find more projects on awareness in our overview.
Successful climate change mitigation requires forward-looking financial policies. If governments provide sufficient funds for climate action, use them effectively and ensure that national and EU budgets are compatible with climate policy objectives, they will create a foundation for reducing global warming and achieving the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement. Investments in protecting the climate from the private and financial sectors play a central role in climate financing. It is up to the state to structure the framework conditions in such a way that green investment becomes more attractive than investments that harm the climate and environment. The right strategies allow politics and economies to act hand in hand to provide the necessary funding to promote renewable energy, energy-efficient technologies and other climate investments.
This is where the EUKI projects come in: They conduct baseline studies and requirement analyses, and develop plans for investments in the necessary technologies and solutions. They advise political decision-makers on how the EU financial framework is being more closely aligned to the goal of climate change mitigation and also promote the use of successful financing models such as those of energy cooperatives. Find more projects on climate-alignes finance in our overview.
Climate change mitigation can only be effective with more sustainable economies. In the case of the industrial sector this means more efficient manufacturing processes, switching to cleaner sources of energy and the careful and sustainable use of resources and raw materials. Climate action is a good business investment that pays off. It allows companies to save costs, for example, through efficient energy management, strengthen their competitiveness and at the same time improve their corporate image.
The EUKI projects raise awareness among companies – be it hotels, car manufacturers or hospitals – regarding the opportunities presented by sustainable economic activity. By developing and providing useful tools and enhancing the qualifications of staff, they ensure that the involved partners also benefit from the projects in the long term. The partners additionally function as multipliers, by implementing best practices and providing a positive and successful example for others to follow. Find more projects on sustainable economy in our overview.
Our illustration shows all 64 EUKI projects to date. In the annual Call for Project Ideas, non-governmental organisations, public administrations, non-profit companies, universities, research and educational institutions can submit project outlines. In addition, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) funds selected projects and studies through tenders.
Each project was assigned to the topic area that forms the core of the project’s work. A number of EUKI projects also work in other topic areas or overlap with other topics.
European Climate Initiative (EUKI) – Project Financing Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH