Data Card - Cohesion policies’ role in climate action


On 22nd April is celebrated the International Mother Earth Day established by the United Nations in 2009. Since 1970, on the same day, in the United States of America has been promoted the Earth Day, an event that has become global over the years with the aim to attract the attention of policy makers and public opinion and address civic mobilization on the need to take care of the planet.

2022 also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): in 1972, in Stockholm, the UN Conference on the Human Environment marked the beginning of a global awareness of the interdependence between people, other living species and our Planet. This year the theme of Earth Day is "Invest in our Planet": “This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate. Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods… together, we must Invest In Our Planet” explains the manifesto of the appointment.

On this occasion, OpenCoesione publishes for the first time the focus dedicated to EU cohesion policy interventions relating to the 2014-2020 period to mitigate the effects of climate change and a Data Card that describes some of the projects included in this "policy perimeter". The focus was set up on the basis of Implementing Regulation no. 215/2014 of the European Commission, which defined coefficients for the calculation of the support for the climate change objectives of the European Union for each area of ​​intervention of the European Structural and Investment Funds. This is a simple method to have a first estimate that approximates the contribution to the climate, in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, of the investments made with European funds. To give some examples, a coefficient of 100% is linked to projects that involve the production of energy from renewable sources or the renewal of public infrastructures in terms of energy efficiency, and the same applies to cycle paths; railway infrastructures are instead associated with a coefficient of 40%, which recognizes the ability of the latter to "change" people's modal habits, moving from road or air transport to more efficient modes, such as the train.


The projects the focus are 6,575, for a total value of 13.24 billion euros (data updated as at 31 December 2021) and refer in particular to the ERDF - European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020. This is obviously a partial representation of the contribution of cohesion policy to the mitigation of the effects of global warming due to the simplified methodology and the exclusion of interventions from previous programming periods and those with coverage of national cohesion funds, but - at the same time - it is useful to understand the priority areas of the interventions carried out in Italy with the support of the european cohesion policy in recent years.


Out of the total of the interventions indicated above, 4,922 are classified as contributing 100% to the mitigation of the effects of global warming. The interventions are equally distributed between the regions of the Center-North (3,183) and the South (3,029). Over half of the interventions (3635, equal to 55.3%) foresee the carrying out of public works. Over 81.5% of the projects envisage funding of less than one million euros.