2. LIFE Climate Action
2.1 What is LIFE Climate Action?
LIFE Climate Action aims specifically to fulfil the following general objectives as set out in Article 3 of the LIFE programme:
to contribute to the shift towards a resource-efficient, low- carbon and climate-resilient economy;
to improve the development, implementation and enforcement of Union climate policy and legislation;
to act as a catalyst for, and promote, the integration and mainstreaming of climate objectives into other Union policies and public and private sector practice;
to support better climate governance at all levels, including better involvement of civil society, NGOs and local actors.
In October 2014 the European Council9 set the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the EU setting an ambitious economy-wide domestic target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction for 2030, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency targets of at least 27%. The Paris Agreement vindicates the EU's approach. Implementing the 2030 energy and climate framework as agreed by the European Council is a priority in follow up to the Paris Agreement.
Specific approaches are required to increase integration of climate-related objectives into Member State practices, to address uneven and inadequate implementation of climate- related legislation in the Member States, and to vastly improve dissemination and promotion of climate knowledge and the according policy goals.
Projects under this call for proposals should support the implementation of the EU's climate policy and prepare the EU for the climate action challenges in the coming years and decades. The “Framework strategy for a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy”11 and the Commission Communication of 15 December 2011 entitled "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (the "Roadmap 2050") acknowledged that testing new approaches to climate change mitigation would remain essential for moving to a low-carbon economy. Effective uptake of adaptation to climate change, as a cross-cutting Union priority, also needs to be ensured as acknowledged in the Commission Communication "An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change"12. The Resource Efficient Europe flagship initiative supports the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate resilient economy to achieve sustainable growth, providing a long- term framework for actions in many policy areas, including climate change and energy. In addition, improved governance, in particular through awareness raising and stakeholder involvement, is essential to deliver environmental objectives.
Therefore, the sub-programme for Climate Action requires projects to contribute to one of the following three priority areas:
Climate Change Mitigation,
Climate Change Adaptation and
Projects must choose which priority area the project contributes most to and indicate this in the application. It is encouraged, where relevant, for projects to contribute to more than one of those priority areas.13
Synergies with other environmental and climate policies should be a central theme of Climate Action projects; for example, climate change adaptation and biodiversity should be promoted, wherever relevant. The LIFE Regulation and, to a lesser extent, the EU Adaptation Strategy, highlight ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation. As this approach clearly results in synergies and multiple benefits, applicants should determine whether their proposal is geared, from its initial conception and design, towards adaptation to climate change or towards nature conservation, and thus apply for the relevant strand of the LIFE Programme. Examples of this may include proposals concerning peatland restoration, coastal realignment or river floodplain restoration. Projects in urban areas can also promote synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation, in addition to environmental policies. Examples of this may include proposals concerning thermal insulation of buildings, green infrastructure and water savings.
Solutions, methods and approaches developed by projects under the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action should be suitable to be scaled up and supported by private investments, other Union or national funding programmes, as well as financial instruments, where applicable.
With a view to optimising the use of LIFE Programme resources, synergies between actions under the LIFE sub-programme for Environment, in particular to protect biodiversity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures under the LIFE sub-programme for Climate Action, for forests and soil, water scarcity and droughts, as well as management of flood risks, should be fostered.14,15 Projects in one priority area that might undermine environmental or climate objectives in another priority area will not be funded unless this impact is clearly explained and justified in the proposal and the possible alternatives and mitigation and adaptation measures have been correctly planned if appropriate.
The experience of past LIFE programmes has highlighted the need to focus efforts on concrete environmental and climate policy priorities and areas for action. Those thematic priorities should not be exhaustive to allow applicants to submit proposals in other areas and to incorporate new ideas to react to new challenges.16 In line with the general objective of the LIFE Regulation, the project applications are especially encouraged to address specific climate challenges in each of the three priority areas, which are outlined below in the form of EU policy priorities. It should be noted that these priorities may be changed each year.
The construction of large infrastructure is considered beyond the scope of the LIFE Programme and will therefore not be supported.
2.2 What are Climate Action projects?
According to the LIFE Regulation, LIFE Climate Change Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation projects must be pilot, demonstration or best practise projects.
Pilot project means projects that apply a technique or method that has not been applied or tested before, or elsewhere, that offers potential environmental or climate advantages compared to current best practice and that can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations. These projects aim to assess the effectiveness of the method, to inform other stakeholders of the results and to encourage them where appropriate to use the techniques and methods successfully tested in the project.
Note that the application of an established solution action/methodology in a particular geographical region where it has not been applied before is not considered to be a "pilot" activity but a "demonstration" activity.
Demonstration project means projects that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches that are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological, socio-economic context, and that could be applied elsewhere in similar circumstances. In order to achieve the required EU added value, they must be designed to demonstrate whether or not the target techniques and methods work in the project's context. A successful demonstration project is available to all potential stakeholders and aims to encourage other stakeholders to use the techniques and methods demonstrated in the project. Demonstration projects may have a higher EU added value if they take place on a national or transnational level, rather than on a local scale.
As regards the demonstration scale, the project should be implemented on a technical scale that allows the evaluation of the technical and economic viability of the proposed pilot on a larger scale. The proposal must justify the choice of scale for the project in the light of the above. In particular, for projects developing decision support systems, planning tools or the like, there has to be a specific project action implementing the tool to demonstrate its technical and economic viability and to enable a comparison with the baseline situation.
Note that the application of an established best practice action/methodology in a particular geographical region where it has not been applied before is considered to be a "best practice" activity.
Best practice projects means projects that apply appropriate, cost-effective and state-of-the-art techniques, methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project. They are available to all potential stakeholders to adopt and illustrate how this can be done.
Information, awareness and dissemination projects aim at supporting communication, dissemination of information and awareness raising in the fields of the sub-programmes for Environment and Climate Action. They must especially serve one or more of the general objectives of the Climate Governance and Information priority area, in accordance with Article 16 of the LIFE regulation. Projects aiming to enhance climate governance and capacity building are strongly encouraged.
All projects need to contribute to the general objectives of the LIFE programme according to Article 1 of the LIFE Regulation. This means that the climate advantages demonstrated by the project need to have a clear intended application and a potential impact towards achieving a low emission and climate resilient society and/or the integration of climate objectives into the public and private sector.
In order to achieve the required EU added value, the monitoring, evaluation and active dissemination of the main project results and/or lessons learnt is an integral part of the project and its follow up.
2.5 Priority area "Climate Governance and Information"
2.5.1 General scope and objectives
LIFE Climate Governance and Information specifically aims at contributing to the development and implementation of EU climate policy and legislation.
The specific objectives of the priority area Climate Governance and Information set out in Article 16 of the LIFE Regulation are in particular:
to promote awareness raising on climate matters, including generating public and stakeholder support of Union policy making in the field of the climate, and to promote knowledge on sustainable development;
to support communication, management, and dissemination of information in the field of the climate and to facilitate knowledge sharing on successful climate solutions and practice, including by developing cooperation platforms among stakeholders and training;
to promote and contribute to more effective compliance with and enforcement of Union climate legislation, in particular by promoting the development and dissemination of best practices and policy approaches;
2.5.2 Link to EU climate policy objectives
Projects under the Climate Governance and Information Priority Area should promote actions contributing to objective of shifting towards a low carbon and resilient economy.
In this context, the development of long term climate strategies and new policy measures, full implementation of climate policy and legislation as well as ensuring a higher uptake of climate friendly technologies is important. These aspects are inextricably linked to achieving, better governance, mainstreaming climate action in other policies as well as promoting knowledge, dissemination of information and stakeholder involvement.
Projects aiming to enhance climate governance and capacity-building are strongly encouraged. Pure awareness raising activities (like creating a webpage) are not encouraged. If a project develops tools or studies, there must be a specific and concrete action implementing the tool/studies during the implementation of the project.
Projects could develop cooperation platforms and share best practices for more effective compliance, enforcement and mainstreaming, and generate support from the public and stakeholders for the Union's policy-making efforts.25
2.5.3 EU policy priorities for the 2017 call
In particular the following European policy priorities listed below are encouraged:
Development and implementation of national 2030 climate and energy strategies and/or mid-century strategies
In the context of the Energy Union, it is foreseen to streamline and integrate the planning of climate and energy strategies to ensure coherence across policy fields. Furthermore the Paris Agreement invites Parties to prepare mid-century strategies. An important element of preparing such strategies is the development and use of quantitative modelling tools and the implementation of quantitative projections that can inform policy makers and stakeholders. Proposals should include concrete actions for the use and implementation of such tools and strategies developed, for example municipality implementing key activities identified in the climate strategy within the duration of the project. Where appropriate, the development of these strategies can also address the implications of fundamental sectorial transformations, necessary in the longer term to achieve a low carbon economy, with a view of increasing stakeholder and public awareness.
Assessment of the functioning of the EU ETS
Enhanced implementation and development of climate policies also requires transparency and accountability. A solid system for tracking progress through enhanced monitoring and reporting is therefore important, as well as a robust ex-post evaluation of the effects of climate policies. An essential element is the (ex-post) assessment of the functioning of the EU ETS, its impacts and interaction with energy and other policy instruments and the related development of easily accessible information and data. Therefore, projects which build broader and stronger networks of experts and ensure wider dissemination of knowledge on emissions inventories, projections, monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures are needed.
Building capacities, raising awareness among end-users and the equipment distribution chain of fluorinated gases
In relation to (EU) 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases, activities increasing the uptake of training for service personnel of equipment using climate-friendly alternatives (e.g. ammonia, CO2, hydrocarbons, HFOs) are important. Awareness campaigns among end-users and the equipment distribution chain (e.g. wholesalers, supermarkets, large building operators) could promote the training need and facilitate an exchange of best practices. It is especially important to address the existing geographic imbalances in the availability of training. A wider and longer impact could be achieved by train-the-trainer programmes.
Projects enhancing consumers' empowerment to benefit from real-world fuel consumption savings in cars and vans and allow consumers to make informed purchase decisions for cars with low pollutant emissions.
Projects must deliver concrete results for consumers and especially contribute to the collection of robust large-scale data to monitor any remaining gap between WLTP type-approved fuel consumption / CO2 emission values and real-world values experienced by consumers on the road. Projects should have a wide geographical coverage across the EU. More specifically projects could include:
o information campaigns on the introduction of WLTP and RDE tests;
o self-reporting platforms for consumers to report/stimulate and compare their actual fuel consumption (see, for example, the JRC's "Green Driving Tool"26); o support to voluntary approaches for collecting real-world fuel consumption data or for clear identification of low-polluting vehicles;
o large-scale fuel consumption monitoring with on-board measurement devices.
Such project(s) should ideally involve consumer organisations, car driver associations, environmental groups, leasing companies or independent research organisations.
Climate policy monitoring, assessment and ex-post evaluation
Applicants can propose projects building coordination platforms on climate policy monitoring, assessment and ex-post evaluation in order to support the development of cost-effective climate action, both on mitigation and adaptation. Those projects need to have concrete implementation measures.
Best practices and awareness raising activities addressing adaptation needs Projects targeting the development and use of practicable and meaningful adaptation indicators and monitoring systems and the uptake of climate services in adaptation planning at local level ('downscaling of climate impacts'). Moreover, applicants can propose best practice and awareness raising projects focusing on understanding the economic and social impacts as well as costs and effectiveness of adaptation and implementing concrete actions to address such impacts and costs.
Incentivise behavioural change at local or (cross-)regional level, mainstream emission reduction and resource efficiency actions
Projects can address the following issues:
o Creating local, regional and cross-regional actions for enhancing and maintaining carbon storage potential of soils;
o Encouraging climate action in communities where land-based emissions are (or will be) the main share of economy-wide emissions in the coming years and promote the results broadly;
o Improving the understanding of economic and social benefits of climate change mitigation actions, for example, closed circle economic aspects, local value chains for agricultural products, feeding strategies, job creation in local communities, etc.
As an overarching goal, successful projects should demonstrate new and innovative climate measures that possibly could later on also be replicated in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy. To this end they should strive not only to be replicable at larger scale, but also identify cost-effective mitigation outcomes that are easy to monitor (in terms of compliance and climate performance) or provide the tools to improve such monitoring.
2.5.4 How to prepare a LIFE Climate project proposal?
Logical steps to conceive a project proposal
1. Identify the problem the proposal aims to address in form B.2
Applicants must demonstrate a solid understanding of the problem targeted by describing it and quantifying it in a complete and convincing way in the project proposal (to the extent that this is reasonably possible, depending also on the nature and subject of the project). The description of the problem should include information on the root causes of the problem, the severity and extent of the problem in the specific context targeted. Applicants should describe how the problem specifically affects the stakeholders of the projects. Please note that the evaluation will be based only on the information provided in the document, therefore it is utterly important to provide a clear and comprehensive description of the problem that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, it will be not possible to assess the rationale of the project and the logic of the activities.
Once identified the problem, applicants should check whether the problem targeted is clearly related to EU climate legislation and policy. It is advisable to check in the database on the LIFE website to see whether similar projects have been undertaken in the same field. Applicants could identify potential links, build on existing knowledge and use lessons learnt or solutions from past or/and ongoing project i.e. where a thematic database or platform of knowledge may have already been developed through LIFE projects, therefore the applicants should use/build on them instead of creating new ones.
Applicants should present a clear and complete analysis of the current situation (the baseline) in terms of climate/environmental and social challenges of their specific context. The description of the situation before the project intervention serves to indicate the starting point of the project. The baseline helps to demonstrate the logical links between the identified problems, their causes, the activities and expected results.
The baseline is also instrumental to assess expected impacts and to monitor the project's progress. In this regard, the baseline description should include quantitative and qualitative data, for example results of a survey indicating the level of awareness of civil servants about floods risks etc.
The baseline should include clear and specific information of past and ongoing projects in the same field led or not by the applicants. In particular, the proposal should indicate what has been achieved by past and/or ongoing interventions and what the added value of the proposal is compared to existing or/and past projects.
In case some information is not available or it is outdated, the applicants can use preparatory actions to complete or/and update the baseline. However, key data – at least qualitative data – should be provided to demonstrate the need and rationale of the project. The source of all baseline data should be provided.
Example of problems to be addressed by projects:
- Insufficient awareness among the inhabitants of region YY of risks of floods of the river XX.
- Technological barriers to the development of cost-efficient waste-heat recovery system.
2. Define what is to be achieved will achieve (expected results)
Expected results to be achieved need to be clear, specific and measurable. The simple implementation of, e.g., a communication campaign without achieving anything specific and measurable in relation to the identified problem cannot be considered to be a project objective and a positive result of a project are, for example, changes on attitudes and behaviours.
Example of expected results:
- Increased awareness among citizens of region YY of floods mitigation practices for the river XX.
- Reduce technological barriers to the development of cost-efficient waste-heat recovery system.
3. Define who will be targeted by the project
Applicants have to reflect carefully on the choice of target audience(s) with respect to the project objectives. The relevance of the target audience(s) for addressing the problem identified as well as the size of this audience are crucial aspects in the design of the strategy and need to be clearly explained. Projects focused only at local level risk obtaining a low score for this aspect unless they can prove that they represent high EU added value.
Example of target audiences for projects:
- The citizens living close to the river, the meteorological service, the local authorities.
- The producers and users of the waste heat recovery system.
4. Identify and describe the actions
All actions must be necessary to achieve the expected results and appropriate to address the problem. They must be adapted to the target audience identified. Applicants should design a clear strategy linking the individual actions in order to achieve the defined objective (applicants could apply the logical framework method). Proposals should provide a clear description of activities, presenting what will be done, by whom, by when who will do it, when it will be done (beginning, duration, completion), where it will be done and who will benefit from the activity.
For projects designed to increase awareness or understanding among the target audience, applicants have to demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of current communication techniques and explain the choice and pertinence of the communication mix retained for the project. The elaboration of a detailed communication strategy/plan as a preparatory action for such projects is also considered to be a necessity, and the key elements of such a strategy should already be presented in the project proposal.
Moreover, proposals should include a 'put into practice' component in the project. Project should not only be limited to developing tools and methodologies but they should also include a realistic strategy with concrete activities enabling uptake and effective use of these tools by the relevant actors during the duration of the project and possibly after the project ends.
Applicants are invited to involve relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project to facilitate synergies, multiplying effects and uptake of project results. This may include national or local authorities in charge of the implementation of relevant issues, e.g. Ministry of Environment department in charge of National Floods management plan etc.
5. Define indicators for monitoring the expected results of the project
These indicators should be closely linked to the objectives of the project, providing relevant information of what is expected to be achieved by the project. They should inform on the impacts on the state of environment/climate, whenever possible, as well as the impacts on the attitude and practices of the target audience. The project impact is measured in comparison with the baseline situation identified before the start of the project. Therefore applicants should clearly present the baseline data. Indicators measuring progress of the project (completion of tasks/outputs) are not sufficient to assess the impacts of project. In the proposal, applicants have to explain the appropriateness of the impact monitoring indicators selected and the impact monitoring regime (e.g. frequency) retained.
Example of impact indicators:
- % change in level of awareness compared to baseline measured by surveys
Applicants are encouraged to develop a set of specific impact indicators that are most appropriate to their project to be added to the mandatory LIFE performance indicator table. Even if the contribution of the project to the achievement of these indicators is only indirect or partial, such indicators provide an indication of the level of ambition and capacity to contribute to a remedy of the identified problem.
6. Define a realistic strategy to assure that project results will be maintained or improved and actions will continue beyond the project duration. It is advised to plan actions to ensure funding of such activities after the project ends.
7. Include substantive actions to replicate the approach/results of the projects in similar contexts in other regions, countries, sectors
Replication activities should go beyond dissemination of results and networking. In this context, identify and set up relevant contacts, build up a replication action plan including assessment of possible adaptations needed and funding opportunities, conduct specific actions to concretely put the techniques/approaches developed in the project into practice elsewhere.
Some lessons from past calls for proposals
Applicants are invited to pay particular attention to and reflect upon the following recurring reasons for such proposals failing in the past:
Poor identification and description/presentation of the environmental problem targeted and related awareness and governance issues, with limited or no background information and data. Poor description of the current (baseline) situation in the target area;
Lack or incomplete description of the value added of the project compared to ongoing or past projects led in the same field;
Lack of an implementation component including actions to ensure the effective use of developed tools/methodologies by relevant actors;
Poor identification and description of the target audience of the project;
Inappropriate target audience with respect to the problem targeted;
Actions not responding to the needs of the identified target audience;
No coherent strategy linking individual actions to achieve the defined objective and address the identified problem;
Poor or incomplete identification and involvement of relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project;
Lack of a realistic strategy/action plan including concrete actions, beyond dissemination of results and networking, to ensure replication of the approach/tools in other contexts (other regions, countries, sectors);
No quantification or poor/limited quantification of expected results;
Indicators not specific/relevant to measure outputs or expected results;
Inadequate monitoring activities and monitoring indicators for monitoring the project's impact and results;
Low value for money.