The EU is the crucial player in coordinating and financing national and regional efforts to fight climate change. It supports bottom-up climate action globally but there is much more that can be done in Europe. In an opinion entitled Facilitating access to climate finance for non-state actors, drafted by Cillian Lohan, the EESC identifies the different problems that various groups are facing in getting finance for their climate action projects, and offers possible solutions.
The fight against climate change certainly cannot be won if one hand is providing climate finance, while the other is still promoting climate-damaging activities such as subsidies for fossil-based energy sources. It is crucial to screen all public as well as private investments for climate impact.
As a first step, the EESC is proposing a Climate Finance Forum, bringing together key stakeholders who can identify barriers, work out solutions and point to the most efficient mechanisms for improving the distribution of finance for small scale bottom-up projects. "We must ensure climate financing is understood as a means of making low carbon solutions affordable and accessible to ordinary citizens," explains Mr Lohan.
"Most importantly, we need to ensure that climate finance is used to give citizens choices and options - so that ordinary people can reap the benefits of a low carbon society, and not be forced to pay the costs of the transition" stresses Mr Lohan. The EESC reiterates its call for at least 40% of EU expenditure to contribute to climate objectives and a phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies. (sma)