Innovation can help deliver EU competitive climate leadership

As Europe is currently designing its largest ever research and innovation funding programme: Horizon Europe (Euro 100 bn from 2021-27), a new report, “Funding Innovation to Deliver EU Competitive Climate Leadership”, led by Climate Strategy and supported by the European Climate Foundation, reveals that Europe’s current climate-related R&I investments are unfit to meet the net-zero challenge.

In 2017, the European private sector invested EUR 7.2 billion in R&D in climate related sectors while EU R&I funding instruments invested EUR 4.3 billion in climate-related R&I funding. While Europe looks to mainstream climate related innovation across its funding instruments to support the decarbonisation of our economy, EU-based businesses are underinvesting in this zero-emissions future today.

As the EU Commission proposes 25% climate mainstreaming across all of the FP9 instruments for 2021-27; and 35% for Horizon Europe, Europe, the report states that these numbers should increase in the 2021-27 period by a third. This allows innovative technologies, products and businesses the time to scale and deliver the economy-wide decarbonisation provided under optimal 2050 pathways, and to deliver the maximum societal benefits of this transition to European citizens and businesses.

Now is the time to act. If we miss the window to invest in low carbon innovation in the next decade, we will not be able to deploy our zero emissions assets fast enough to reach net-zero by 2050 – or we will need to rely on technologies and products developed elsewhere.

The good news is that climate modelling suggests that 75% of the technology and approaches required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement are already deployed and working, they just need to scale-up more quickly. The remaining 25% of decarbonisation requires new innovation investments in technologies, products, business models and at the societal level to deliver optimal scenarios.

Download the full report here

Download the summary report for policy makers here