Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on December 17 stressing the vitality of building climate-resilient societies in line with the forthcoming EU adaptation strategy.

The resolution on adaptation to climate change will provide input on a new adaptation strategy, expected from the Commission in 2021 as part of the European Green Deal, and was approved with 550 votes to 80 and 59 abstentions, the European Parliament said in a press release.

In order to minimise the adverse impact of climate change, the resolution called for a renewed focus on adaptation, the Parliament said, adding that the new strategy must include binding and quantifiable goals both at EU and member state level to ensure that EU countries are on track to meet the adaptation goals in the Paris Agreement. It must also show EU global leadership in building global climate resilience and promote EU science, services, technologies and practices for adaptation.

As the adverse impacts of climate change will disproportionately affect some regions as well as poor and disadvantaged groups, the resolution stressed that the EU must be ready for climate “refugees”, and that the human rights of populations under threat from the effects of climate change must be protected.

In the resolution, MEPs urged member states to develop prevention and rapid response plans for climate disasters such as heatwaves, floods, and droughts, and include mechanisms for cross-border action and solidarity.

MEPs also called for increased funding at global, EU, national, and regional levels, and for public and private investments in adaptation. The new 30% climate-related spending target for EU funds should contribute to both climate mitigation and adaptation, they say, recalling that the cost of inaction would be far greater.

The resolution also underlined that only climate-proofed infrastructure should receive EU funding. The Commission must also ensure that costs arising from a failure to take adaptation measures are not passed on to citizens and enforce the “polluter pays” principle, making the polluter take responsibility for adaptation, MEPs said.

As climate change is currently the third driver of biodiversity loss worldwide, the resolution calls for greater coherence between adaptation and biodiversity conservation efforts. It also stresses the need to ensure and promote healthy and resilient seas and oceans as they play a vital role in adapting to climate change.

Deal to invest in climate projects

Meanwhile, a provisional deal on the EU programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) to boost EU action in 2021-2027 was agreed with member states.

On December 17, Parliament’s negotiating team agreed with member states on a provisional deal on LIFE+, the only programme at EU-level solely dedicated to the environment and climate. The deal will allow the Commission to start preparing to implement the programme.

“When we look at what has been achieved by LIFE so far, it is clear that a bigger budget can help us achieve even more in the future,” said rapporteur Nils Torvalds, an MEP from Finland. “Although I would have preferred an even bigger budget for LIFE, I am very pleased that we have reached a new level of commitment towards nature and climate, so the programme can continue to test ideas and showcase future green solutions. LIFE can now mobilise additional funding for actions on nature, climate and energy much better,” he added.

The total budget allocated for LIFE in the compromise on the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework is €5.4 billion (current prices), of which €3.5 billion will go to environmental activities. According to the European Parliament €1.9 billion will go to climate action; 61% of the total budget must be climate-related. The programme will contribute to mainstreaming climate actions and to achieving the overall target of at least 30% of the EU budget expenditure supporting climate objectives.

The programme aims to contribute to the shift towards a clean, circular, energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, including through the transition to clean energy, to protect and improve the quality of the environment and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

When granting funds, the Commission should prioritise projects that have a clear cross border European interest and the highest potential of being successfully replicated and taken up by the public or private sector or of mobilising the largest investments. LIFE will also promote the use of green public procurement, MEPs said.

LIFE will support many biodiversity projects and contribute to spending 7.5% of the annual EU budget on biodiversity objectives from 2024 and 10% in 2026 and 2027.



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