Auditors: Despite Claims, EU Failed to Meet its Climate Investment Target

Published on: 31 May 2022 10:45 AM
by KnowESG

According to the European Court of Auditors, the European Union failed its target of spending 20% of its pre-2020 budget on combating climate change and inflated its green spending to declare that the goal had been met.

The EU had promised to spend at least 20% of its 2014-2020 budget on climate-related measures, and as per its accounts, it spent exactly that amount, spending €216 billion (the US $232.8 billion) during that period.

ECA member Joelle Elvinger commented, "Not all the reported climate-related spending under the EU budget was relevant to climate action."

The auditors said agriculture subsidies accounted for 80% of the mislabeled "climate" spending. While some initiatives, such as soil carbon storage, made a significant contribution to combating climate change, the auditors found that others had minimal influence on the environment, for example, crop diversification.

The European Commission maintained its judgement that the 20% objective had been met, claiming that their method of tracking EU climate spending was accurate and based on clear assumptions. It agreed to most of the auditors' recommendations, including one to use scientific information to analyse the climatic impact of farm investment.

The EU gives spending a score based on how much it is likely to contribute to solving climate change. This approach, according to the auditors, is "beset with deficiencies," includes considerable approximations, and is unreliable since it does not examine the real impact of the initiatives once the funds have been spent.

The EU's new objective of spending 30% of the EU's 2021-2027 budget and 37% of the bloc's COVID-19 recovery fund on climate action could be jeopardised, according to the auditors, because vulnerabilities in its system of tracking climate spending have not been corrected.

Source: Reuters

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