Main takeaways from FEDARENE’s Lunch Debate on the EU’s long-term strategy for the climate

On the 19th of March 2019, FEDARENE hosted its third lunch debate gathering EU officials and FEDARENE board members. The topic addressed was the EU’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy from a regional perspective.

1. EU’s Long-Term Strategy should bring forward cross-sectorial approaches integrating aspects related to energy, environment and climate altogether. This should include a clear recognition of the multiple benefits of such a climate neutral strategy in terms of health, economic growth, social inclusion, poverty alleviation, citizen empowerment, territorial development.

2. Achieving net zero emissions in the EU by 2050 is the only responsible scenario. This scenario should include an objective of 100% Renewable Energy Sources based energy system by 2050.

3. Climate and Energy observatories at regional level should become key partners of EU’s policy making processes as the finesse of their data, the insight into the drivers of the current trends and proximity to local stakeholders make them precious data providers and advisers.

4. Climate action must be mainstreamed and become a permanent component in all policy decisions and processes governing our societies and economies.

5. Multilevel Climate and Energy Dialogue must be established by Member States as required by the Energy Union Governance Regulation in order to develop a pragmatic and effective long-term strategy.

6. The negotiations on EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework and the “Clean Planet for All” strategy are intrinsically connected. The European Heads of State must consider them together if they are to appear credible in their political announcements the objectives they set.

7. Education on climate mitigation & adaption must target all ages and all segments of society with a tailored approach. This is a key driver for change in practices in all sectors (private, business…) and countering rebound effects as well. New business models must be accompanied by new governance models as well as more sustainable behaviours.

8. The benefits of digitalisation don’t reach immediately the territories. While digital solutions can certainly contribute to the sustainable development, their roll out must be carefully assessed taking into account the differences of needs between smaller and larger municipalities and between various segments of population.

9. Support policies for climate, energy & environment measures must be urgently directed at the smaller municipalities otherwise the gap between small and bigger municipalities will continue to increase. Mentoring and peer to peer programmes between local authorities must also be supported.

10. The urgency of climate actions calls for efforts to be steered towards upscaling and replicating already successful energy & environment projects. The Covenant of Mayors showcases a multitude of well documented climate mitigation/adaptation projects and programmes from cities and regions across the EU.

11. Islands are truly test beds for integrated clean energy & environment initiatives both in terms of roll-out of sustainable technologies as well as social innovation.