We have an active Climate Parliament Group in the European Parliament with members from all major party groups, and we are building a regional network of legislators to promote the transition to a low carbon economy. Our main focus is on reallocating funds within the €120 billion EU budget to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
While climate and energy have in recent years become a major political priority for the European Union, less than 2% of the budget is devoted to the transition to a low carbon economy. Our group of committed MEPs in the European Parliament have been working on some exciting initiatives in the fields of climate change and renewable energy, and have recently notched up some notable successes.
Our MEPs successfully campaigned for the EU to step up its commitment to cross-border electricity interconnectors, vital for developing regional renewable energy resources. Thanks to their efforts, at least €2.9 billion from the Connecting Europe Facility budget line has been reserved for electricity links instead of gas pipelines.
In a separate initiative, Climate Parliament MEPs also secured increases in EU research spending on developing alternatives to fossil fuels. Our MEPs obtained a guarantee that at least 85% of the EU's €5.2 billion research budget would be dedicated to renewables, energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage and market uptake – and also ensured that the need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels was included in the final text.
Finally, Climate Parliament MEPs have tabled an amendment with the European Parliament's budget committee that could secure an extra €550 million per year in European Investment Bank (EIB) loans to non-EU countries for climate mitigation and adaptation. Our group of MEPs has already succeeded in ensuring that the European Parliament Foreign Affairs committee requests an extra €250 million per year in climate lending outside the EU, and is now pushing hard to convince the EIB to step up its commitment to climate finance.
The Roadmap 2050 report produced for the European Climate Foundation by the McKinsey group and others has shown that the EU could achieve its target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 while actually saving money on its energy bills.
In all the scenarios the study examined, it found that the transition can be achieved most cheaply and easily with the construction of a Europe-wide grid to enable renewable energy sources to be shared across the region.