Local authorities should double their investments to reach the national emissions goal, however the current yearly endowment system does not offer enough clarity on their ability to invest. A multi-year endowment fund should allow them to anticipate their expenses, therefore to invest securely in structuring climate policies.
- local authorities have significant leverage to contribute to the national greenhouse gas emissions goal
- they currently have very little clarity on their ability to invest and engineer on environmentally sound projects
- the revised NECP should go with proper funding of local authorities to carry it out and reach the goals
Local authorities have significant leverage to contribute to the national greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal, and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For instance, they can develop local renewable energy, boost public transport and cycling, isolate public buildings, and support organic farming on their land. A large part of the Climate and Resilience Law relies on local authorities (zero net artificialisation objective, vegetarian meals in canteens, limiting car usage, etc.) without suitable financing.
The Institute for Climate Economics states that local authorities should double their current level of investment to achieve carbon neutrality, going from 6,5 million EUR invested each year in environmentally sound projects to 12 million EUR.
However, they currently have very little clarity on their actual ability to invest in these fields, as their endowments are renewed yearly, their access to credit is limited, and they mostly rely on calls for projects to finance delimited policies. Each year, the national finance law determines investment endowments provided by the State to local authorities (DSIL, DETR).
A multi-year endowment fund would allow local authorities to anticipate their ability to invest in and conduct structuring policies to transform their territory and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The attribution of such a fund could be determined by the impacts of local policies on climate and the environment, and:
- aim at the main emissions sources, such as transport, agriculture and nutrition, energy, land artificialization.
- ensure it funds both investment and engineering, allowing local authorities to hire experts to carry out and monitor the projects.
- encourage the formation of local agents on the impacts of projects on climate and the environment.
No national climate strategy can reach its goals without proper funding of the ones that will carry it out, therefore local authorities must be assisted and incentivized to put climate at the center of their policies.