Substantial step up in sustainable investments needed across Europe, new EU report finds

Published by Niall Sargent on

July 11th, 2017

A substantial step up in the redirection of financial flows to sustainable investments is needed in order to successfully shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, a new EU report has found.

Published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) this week, the paper also stresses the need for Member States to provide clear information on their investment needs and priorities.

The report – Financing Europe’s low carbon, climate resilient future – estimates that an additional €177 billion will need to be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency every year between 2021 and 2030, a near doubling of current investments.

According to the EEA report, such investments can “fulfil headline climate and energy targets”, while also providing jobs, reducing energy poverty, and increasing energy security.

However, the report found that only a handful of European countries – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, and Germany – have developed concrete investment strategies to date.

“Few European countries have translated their national climate and energy objectives into corresponding investment needs and plans,” the report states.

The report continues: “The study identifies a lack of country-level preparedness and information regarding estimated total investment needs, as well as their current and planned expenditure volumes for climate and energy purposes.”

This introduces “considerable uncertainty” about the scale and nature of the investment challenge faced within the EU in its transition to a low-carbon climate-resilient economy, the report adds.

To improve the situation, the report indicates that member states should develop “climate finance landscapes” linking the likes of government spending and corporate investment.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill

The Irish Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, brought by Independent Donegal deputy Thomas Pringle, aims to make Ireland the first state to ban a state investment vehicle, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, from investing in fossil fuels.

If passed, the Bill will compel the ISIF to divest its assets from fossil fuel companies over a period of five years. The ISIF currently has 131 million ínvested in fossil fuel companies globally.

Speaking in front of a pre-legislative hearing last month, Mr Pringle said that the Bill was brought forward to ensure that “scarce public resources are invested in the technologies, industries and jobs of the future”.

“It’s about shifting policy and investment focus away from the technologies and industries that must be phased out if we are to protect civilisation as we know it,” he added.

Also speaking at the hearing, Kingsmill Bond, a new energy analyst at Think tank Trusted Sources, said that the world is currently undergoing a global and rapid revolutionary shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

He said that there is a “tremendous opportunity” for Ireland to “steal a march” in investing in renewables due to the opportunities for solar, wind, tidal and wave energy on our island.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London