Commission launches European Just Transition Platform for carbon-intensive areas

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EU Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans, Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira, and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson launched on June 29 the European Just Transition Platform (JTP) to help carbon-intensive areas make the transition to scrub vitality sources.

According to the Commission, the Just Transition Platform will assist Member States to attract up their territorial Just Transition Plans and entry funding from the over €150 billion Just Transition Mechanism. This on-line Platform will present technical and advisory help for private and non-private stakeholders in coal and different carbon-intensive areas, with easy accessibility to data on funding alternatives and sources of technical help.

Timmermans famous that many areas have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, particularly the place it’s so troublesome to implement social distancing in coal mines. Work in lots of important industries needed to proceed. “As we rebuild our economies and our societies, we will have to resist falling into the trap of rebuilding old structures. We simply cannot afford paying to go back to business as usual and then paying again to transform. Instead, we should grasp this opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable economy,” Timmermans, reminding that inclusive progress for current and future generations, for cities and rural areas, for coal and carbon-intensive areas is on the coronary heart of the European Green Deal.

“Our Green Deal ambition is to demonstrate a new model for inclusive transformation, which is based on just transition, and then work with our partners in the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Southern Africa, India and Asia who are faced with the same challenges. We want to make sure that no region is left behind,” Timmermans stated. “And frankly, I hope that we can be even more audacious in our aspirations because your regions are not only endowed with natural resources but also with skilled workforce, technicians, engineers and people of great work ethic who get up early. You can be at the forefront of the Green Deal and we want to help you bring this vision into coal and carbon-intensive regions, your regions, have been the backbone of industrial growth in Europe for decades. There is no doubt that the Green Deal is a challenge, but one which also brings new opportunities,” he added.

“Yes, we want to become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050. But we also want to become the world’s industrial powerhouse for innovative clean and circular solutions, which the world so desperately needs,” Timmermans stated. “The Green Deal is our Europe’s new growth strategy and my message to those who work in coal mines, peat bogs, oil shale mines, steel plants, fertilizer plants and other carbon-intensive sectors is that we need your skills to build a new industry. We will protect nature, climate and biodiversity but we will not let Europe become a museum.  Rather, it will be at the forefront of the new world economy, based on innovation and clean energy,” he added.

For her half, Ferreira promised that the EU will depart nobody behind on this wanted shift to a carbon-neutral economic system. That is what cohesion coverage is about. Cohesion coverage works every day to cut back regional disparities – in Europe and in every member state – to speed up convergence and enhance the lives of all Europeans, no matter the place they depart, she stated.

Present devices aren’t sufficient

She reminded that there are some 230,000 Europeans working in coal mines and coal-fired energy stations. Many extra are working within the manufacturing of different fossil-fuels and in carbon-intensive industries, from metal to cement, or chemical compounds. “What will happen to these regions?” she requested. “They were in the last decades the economic backbone of our growth and they need to be supported to seize the new opportunities. This is why we have proposed the creation of the Just Transition Fund and the Just Transition Mechanism,” Ferreira stated.

She pressured that the coronavirus pandemic has made the already painful scenario of those areas much more precarious and much more urgent. This consciousness led us, within the Commission, to extend the quantity endowed to the Just Transition Fund from €7.5 billion to €40 billion. This improve will treble its funding capability, making it higher geared up to take care of the challenges of the transition.

Meanwhile, Simson acknowledged that some EU member states had a head begin rolling out clear vitality sources. Others are extra susceptible. “When it comes to supporting regions, we are not beginning at the beginning. On the energy side of things, the Just Transition Platform will be an extension of work that was already ongoing under the Coal Regions in Transition Platform. Just on a different scale,” the EU Energy Commissioner stated.

She famous that this platform has been a spot the place coal areas might share data and expertise. “Exchange project ideas. It creates bonds and ties between regions across Europe. One good example is the tripartite cooperation between Germany, Poland and Czechia where the border regions of these countries have set a common vision for transition and share and collaborate on what could help their regions prosper, like alternative fuels or tourism,” Simson stated, including that everyone retains their very own tempo for transitioning, however a typical imaginative and prescient of the long run emerges past the borders.

Moreover, Country Teams have been created, similar to those to proceed below the Just Transition Platform, she stated. “But as Frans already said – due to expanding scope, we will call them Just Transition Teams from now on. They act as a meeting point between the Commission and Member States at national, regional and local level, between public and private sector and trade unions to discuss strategy and project development,” Simson stated, including that these groups have created an area for dialogue the place there was none earlier than, between the Commission and the native stakeholders.

“These projects cover so many areas that could support local citizens. From spatial planning, to clean air, or cultural heritage,” Simson stated and added, “All related to moving beyond their coal mining past”.