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#Greece: The Investment Plan for Europe comes to Greece

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Jyrki Katainen 2European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen is in Athens on 18 April to mark the approval of the first project in Greece to benefit from the Investment Plan for Europe. The industrial company will use the financing for research and development and establishing new product lines in manufacturing.

During his visit, Katainen, who is responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will meet with investors, small-and medium-sized businesses, and local politicians to present the Investment Plan. He will also present the state-of-play of all three pillars of the Investment Plan at the National Parliament. Finally, Katainen will discuss the Investment Plan and how Greece can benefit from the EFSI with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources.

The Commission will soon launch the new European Investment Project Portal for public and private promoters to advertise their projects to potential investors, a kind of matchmaking service between projects and funds. This is something the private sector asked for. So far Greece has sent in the highest number of projects to the Portal.

Jyrki Katainen said: "I am very pleased that the EIB has approved the first Investment Plan project in Greece. The project puts a strong emphasis on research and innovation - R&D being one of the areas where we see that the Investment Plan makes a real difference. Today I will update the government, MPs, and private sector stakeholders on the progress we have made. Greece can benefit enormously from the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Greek SMEs, via banks and financial intermediaries, as well as strategic sectors where innovation might be needed, like the food and tourism industry, can tap into the investment plan opportunities. The EIB office here in Athens is doing great work in offering technical support to help project promoters and local authorities prepare their project proposals."

Climate change

Credible net-zero targets need to include explicit plans for Carbon Dioxide Removals

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Limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as stated in the Paris Agreement and assessed by the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C (2018), will require policy action across two types of mitigation: those resulting in the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and those achieving removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, current governmental commitments to address climate change lack specific plans for mobilizing carbon dioxide removal to achieve the required carbon neutrality – namely a balance between emissions and removals – and collaborative policy frameworks under the Paris Agreement are not yet specific enough on how to measure and fund such mitigation action.

To contribute to understanding of how countries can implement Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and how those efforts can be counted as part of their national commitments to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, the NET-RAPIDO project is launching the report Net-Zero Emissions: the role of Carbon Dioxide Removal in the Paris Agreement.

The authors – Matthias Honegger, Axel Michaelowa and Matthias Poralla from Perspectives Climate Research – present a set of concrete recommendations for credibly including CDR strategies as part of national climate strategies and revised NDCs. These include: the setting of specific CDR targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050; the expansion of research on the consequences of CDR for climate targets, a structured and inclusive debate on its development, and the design of specific incentives for the prioritized CDR technologies.

While the current lack of specific CDR measures may be due to the perception that they are costly or unpopular, together with fear of potential environmental side effects and difficulty in making carbon reduction attractive for industry, the authors find that the Paris Agreement’s provisions for international collaboration can be operationalized to provide a credible way forward. To comprehensively address CDR in the Paris Agreement, using existing instruments, the report suggests the use of cooperation mechanisms between countries to leverage carbon markets and results-based climate finance, and strengthening monitoring, review and verification (MRV) to mobilize CDR domestically and abroad in a transparent and consistent manner.

Examining the Paris Agreement’s definition of mitigation, the authors find that countries’ national climate contribution should be underpinned by transparent CDR deployment strategies, plans and policies. They find that, as with emission reductions measures, most CDR approaches will require effective financial incentives or regulation via government action both at national levels and at the global scale.

Limited acceptance and familiarity among civil society, as well as lacking clarity across international governance spheres relevant to CDR may presently be holding back progress on CDR. Minor adjustments and clarifications regarding pertinent provisions (under the UNCBD, the LC/LP, by UNFAO, IMO, UNEP, and others), may allow unlocking permissible and necessary activities.

Dr Axel Michaelowa, Perspectives’ senior founding partner, said: “Despite their long-term nature, net-zero targets pose tangible and immediate technical policy challenges, which require closer attention. We can learn from past climate policy instruments such as the CDM for building opportunities to address and resolve net zero targets issues for domestic and international implementation and collaboration.”

Matthias Honegger, lead author and Senior Consultant at Perspectives, said: “Society urgently needs to start developing a vision of a net-zero emissions future in order to identify critical steps and deliberately start moving in a direction that would be compatible with achieving the transformation required to get there. He mentioned that the policy planning process needed “an infusion of enthusiasm while defining pragmatic intermediate steps to ensure progress.”

Matthias Poralla, author and Junior Consultant at Perspectives, said: “Concerns over the sustainability and social desirability of negative emissions require early and careful deliberation processes for policy to earnestly and credibly address risks and sustainability concerns thus allowing for viable policy pathways.”

About NET-RAPIDO

NET-RAPIDO is a project implemented between 2018 and 2021 by Mälardalen University, Perspectives Climate Research and Climate Strategies, aiming to research on readiness, policy instrument designs, options for governance and dialogue aims to create a clear understanding of the opportunities, challenges and risks of negative emission technologies (NETs). The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. Find out more here.

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coronavirus

Irish mortgages arrears steady as COVID-19 payment breaks near end

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The number of Irish homeowners in arrears for more than 90 days was steady at 5.6% at the end of June, data showed on Monday (28 September) as repayment breaks aimed at keeping mortgage holders from falling into arrears due to the COVID-19 crisis begin to come to an end, writes Padraic Halpin.

Irish banks provided 89,000 repayment breaks of up to six months since March, 43,000 of which were still in place last month. Just over 41,000 customers were classified as being in arrears over 90 days at the end of June, Monday’s central bank data showed.

Most of the accounts in arrears date back to the financial crisis a decade ago, with 9,591 accounts overdue by between 2 and 5 years, 11,936 in arrears by between 5 and 10 years and 4,701 behind in their payments for more than 10 years.

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coronavirus

France has no plan to order a new coronavirus lockdown: minister

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France’s government has no plan to order a new nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the country, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday (28 September), writes Dominique Vidalon.

Le Maire was speaking at a news conference after a cabinet meeting.

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