#DYK: climate action 
is supported with 
major EU investments 
in the regions

1. Why track climate action?

To reach the EU agreed climate and energy targets by 2020, the European Commission committed itself to  support climate action with a target of investing at least 20% of the EU budget 2014-2020. That political commitment is part of a wider effort to mainstream climate action and contribute to the efforts to mitigate climate breakdown and adapt our natural and human built environment and economy to the expected impact of global heating. 
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund were seen from the beginning as important contributors to the overall EU tracking target given the scope of their objectives and the scale of their total budgets.  Cohesion policy funding is delivering  more than EUR 55 billion in EU budget investment in climate action in the 2014-2020 period
The financial tracking is the first step in delivering results.  In addition to specific thematic concentration targets (input), climate relevant thematic objectives with "investment priorities" were included in the relevant legislation to lead to the definition of specific interventions (actions with outputs) and policy objectives (with policy result indicators) relevant for climate actions. 

2. How do we track financial inputs in cohesion policy? 

EU countries provide information on the support for climate change objectives (financial input) using a methodology based on the categorisation of investment action under each of the cohesion policy funds. The methodology consist of assigning a specific "climate weighting" to the financial support provided under the funds at a level which reflects the contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. Three weighting are assigned as follows (with ERDF examples of the investment categories):
  • 100% - in cases where the support makes a significant climate contribution (i.e. sustainable energy, climate related risk prevention, climate related RTDI, ...) 
  • 40% - in case of a moderate contribution (clean urban transport, rail, intermodal and other public transport, ...)
  • 0% - in cases where the support does not contribute or where the contribution is insignificant (most codes).
In the case of the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund weightings, they are attached to "intervention fields" in the categorisation information system; for the European Social Fund the "ESF secondary theme" is used.

3. An overview of climate actions planned and progress

In the chart first chart below shows by year the total planned overall EU budget contribution from each of the cohesion policy funds in the period 2014-2020 (re/programming).  The figure of more than EUR 55 billion allocated to climate action represent the planned EU investments after the application of the 100%-40%-0% weightings. 
Charts 3.2 and 3.3 shows the reported progress in project selection (blue bars) and actual expenditure by selected projects (yellow bars). 
TIPS: click on "view source data" for a full screen view and to link and download the API enabled dataset; use the filter menu to see progress by fund, country and over time.

3.1 Cohesion policy planned EU budget amounts

3.2 Climate tracking implementation - timeseries

3.3 Climate tracking implementation - by Fund 

4. Which are the main ERDF/CF climate relevant investment? 

For the ERDF and Cohesion fund the most important intervention field by financial allocations (after applying the weightings) are presented in the chart below.

Filtering by fund you can see that energy efficiency in public building and housing stock are the biggest climate investment categories for the ERDF while for the Cohesion fund the biggest priorities are climate related risk adaptation and prevention and various rail investments.
Filtering by country you can see that priorities differ. In Germany support to energy efficiency in public buildings is the biggest investment category; in Poland it is clean urban transport (ERDF and Cohesion fund combined); while in Spain the largest investment is in energy efficiency in the housing stock. 
(NB: the chart shows the top 10 fields - drag the bar up to see other fields; 34 codes in total of 123 codes are considered to have a climate relevance and present in the dataset.)

5. ... and what about the investments by Country?  

Yes, you can also access the country aggregate plans and progress, right down to specific programmes by intervention field.  Below you can use the country filter to view other countries and make comparisons of their overall progress  over time by using the year filter. It really is a detailed tracking process! 

The provision allowing a 40% weighting to zero-weighted ERDF and CF intervention fields used in Thematic Objective 4: Low carbon economy  and Thematic Objective 5: Climate change and risk prevention is not included in the calculations made in this story or in the underlying data. That leads to a minor understatement in this story.

6. What about practical examples?  

Would like to see some real life examples of the investments that have already been carried out? Then go no further than these short videos!!

7. Further resources and reading

ESIF and Cohesion policy 
For more news on ESI Funds open data follow @RegioEvaluation or check out #ESIFOpenData on twitter.
Find more #ESIFOpenData stories here.
Rev. 2019/05 - REGIO/B2 - J WALSH