The European fund meant to help countries in the old continent to transit away from fossil fuels will not support natural gas projects, European Union governments announced this Wednesday, ending the speculation about gas being eligible for support or not.
Members of 27 seven countries of the EU endorsed the accord this Wednesday, which had much discussion in the European Parliament last week. The deal won’t support any investments linked to fossil fuels, including natural gas, or nuclear energy.
Although natural gas emits about 50% less CO2 into the atmosphere than coal, it is associated with big leaks of methane, another potent greenhouse gas. Nuclear, on the other hand, is too low carbon, but it has other significant risks.
Nevertheless, natural gas will have its opportunity with funding from a separate source, as many EU countries and lawmakers endorsed the use of natural gas. At the end, the deal was a compensation: natural gas won’t have support from the Transition Fund, in exchange for letting it receive endorsement from the European Regional Development Fund.
As the deal is supposed to support a compromise for leaving fossil fuels, Niklas Nienass, a German lawyer involved in the accord, told to Reuters that “the margin to actually spend money on gas in the ERDF is quite small.”
Recommended to you: BP advances in energy transition: acquires stake at Finite Carbon
Fund will support green technologies and clean industries
In this regard, the Just Transition Fund will go to countries with big reliance on fossil fuels, and that are big polluters. Germany, Poland and Romania will be the biggest beneficiaries of the deal.
The Just Transition Fund will collect around $21,33 billion dollars, or about $17,25 euros; it will have a coronavirus recovery fund, and the capital budget for the EU from 2021-2027. The money will be exercised to support green technologies and industries, as well as retain and realign workers from polluting sectors to a new agenda.
About this matter, Peter Altmaier, German Economy minister said: “We cannot implement the European Green Deal without mitigating the consequences for those most affected by the decarbonization of our economy.”
While Younous Omarjee, President of the Regional Development Commission said: “This agreement brings Europe up to the climate ambitions of its ‘Green Pact’, in line with the Paris Agreement. The exclusion of gas and all fossil fuels is a real victory which will guarantee virtuous investments from an ecological point of view.”