Cluster 5 – Climate, Energy & Mobility | Towards a climate-neutral Europe

February 16, 2023

The 5th Cluster that is addressing issues of Climate, Energy & Mobility (Towards a climate-neutral Europe) is part of a series of six Clusters that come under the Pillar II of the Horizon Europe programme, named “Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness”. The other 5 Clusters in total are Health, Culture, Civil Security for Society, Digital Industry & Space, Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment. Other clusters that we have already analyzed in our relevant blog articles are Health, Culture, Civil Security for Society, and Digital Industry & Space. If you want to read more general information about the whole structure of the Horizon Europe programme, its components, and aims, click on our relevant blog article.  Find more about Cluster 5 on the European Commission’s page here.

Cluster 5 | Climate, Energy & Mobility

Climate change is present and among its major impacts are the economic losses in the EU related to climate-related extremes. According to the European Environmental Agency that between 1980 and 2020, the weather conditions caused economic losses totaling an estimated 487€ billion in the EU-27 Member States. In the meanwhile, these weather extremes are becoming more common and, without mitigating action, could result in even greater losses in the coming years. Here comes Cluster 5 of the Horizon funding scheme to trigger initiatives under the umbrella of climate issues. 

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Annual economic damage caused by weather and climate-related extreme events in the EU Member States (European Environmental Agency).

The main focus of this cluster is the climate neutrality of the European continent by 2050, which is pointed out strongly by many European Commissioners and local authorities in their key speeches to the public. Becoming climate-neutral means that, by 2050, EU countries will have to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and find ways of compensating for the remaining and unavoidable emissions to reach a net-zero emissions balance.

In a sentence, the main goal of this Cluster can be summarized as follows: “to accelerate the twin green and digital transitions and associated transformation of our economy, industry, and society to achieve climate neutrality in Europe by 2050”. This means that under this Cluster, SMEs and large companies, regardless of industry and technological level, can propose ideas and solutions to address the following challenge areas: better air and water quality, sustainable resource management (circular economy and biodiversity), reduced dependency on fossil fuels, cost-effective climate neutral alternatives for emitting activities, and sustainable transition of the energy and transport sectors. The final goal is to make Europe the first digitally-enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction, and production systems.

All actions under this Cluster have to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement (keeping the global temperature increase well below 2°C), the European Green Deal, the European Economic Recovery Plan, and other EU priorities in the areas of climate, energy, and mobility. Additionally, two Commission priorities named “An economy that works for the people” and “A Europe fit for the digital age”, have also to be addressed in this Cluster by the creation of more green jobs, the acceleration of the economic and social transformation and the faster digitalization. 

In that scope, the European Union along with the European Commission and the European Parliament have decided to dedicate €1,73 billion to projects related to this Cluster of Climate, Energy & Mobility (figures on 20/1/23). 

Energy

The energy sector is pivotal in the goal of climate neutrality. The issue of energy is threefold: it needs to become cleaner and decarbonize at least six times faster, with the greater use of renewable resources, it has to be affordable for societies and be distributed fairly, and last but not least, to be safe. An idea is the use of clean hydrogen that can also play a key role in long-term energy storage and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in particular in sectors that are difficult to decarbonise with existing solutions. 

Mobility

The economic growth before the period of the pandemic led to a growth in passenger transport in Europe causing an increase in domestic transport emissions (between 2013 and 2019). Then emissions decreased by 13.6% between 2019 and 2020, because of a drastic decrease in transport activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to preliminary estimates, emissions increased by 7.7% in 2021, following a rebound effect of the economy. Future expectations talk about an increase in transport emissions in the coming years. If Member States implement the additional measures planned to reduce transport emissions 2030 emissions would reach a level of 6% below 1990 levels. Most planned policies and measures in the transport sector focus on promoting low-carbon fuels or electric cars, as well as encouraging a modal shift to public transport. In other words, the mobility sector addressed under this cluster is critical for the overall goal of climate neutrality. 

The Destinations or impacts of Cluster 5:

Actions under this cluster will support innovative solutions for climate neutrality and environmentally friendly mobility and deliver on the following six expected impacts in the Strategic Plan, through matching destinations in this Work Programme: 

  • Environmental economics, climate-related sectors, and new methodologies will help the transition to a climate-neutral and resilient society and economy.
  • The energy and transport sectors will have to move to a cleaner and climate-neutral profile facilitated by innovative cross-cutting solutions.
  • The energy supply sector has to become more efficient, clean, sustainable, competitive, secure, and competitive through new solutions.
  • Energy has to be accessible for all through a clean energy system and a just transition.
  • New tools, like online platforms and web applications will have to serve the purpose of climate-neutral and environmentally friendly mobility.
  • Transport of people and goods has to be safe, smart, resilient, climate-friendly, user-friendly, and serve everyone’s needs without leaving any social group out. User-centric technologies and services including digital technologies and advanced satellite navigation services have to be used.

The GREENET | The Network of Horizon Europe Cluster 5’s National Contact Points

This network named GREENET is specially created to foster the exchange of information and provide assistance to applicants who want to participate in projects under Cluster 5, Climate, Energy, and Mobility. More specifically, this network consists of 19 partner organisations that act as the National Contact Points in different EU Member States and Associated Countries. This network will help applicants to learn more about Horizon Europe funding opportunities, give them the chance to meet other organisations through matchmaking events, and create international consortiums for collaboration. Read more here.

Some facts & figures | Projects, participants & funding under Climate, Energy & Mobility Cluster of the Horizon Europe

Regarding the funding of the projects under the Cluster Climate, Energy & Mobility, we can see that the Net EU contribution is €1,73 billion, with the total cost reaching €2,3 billion, 296 signed grants in total for 2021 and 2022, and 2,603 organisations participating in them (figures on 20/1/23).

The four top participating countries in terms of the number of participants are in this order: Germany, Spain, Italy, and France. 

The top four participant countries in terms of the NET EU contribution come in this order: Germany, Spain, France, and Italy.

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EU’s financing on Cluster 5, Climate, Energy & Mobility

Cyprus’ financing on Cluster Climate, Energy & Mobility of the Horizon Europe

Concerning the projects funded under this Cluster about Climate, Energy & Mobility, Cyprus is coming in the 17th position in terms of the number of participants (figures on 20/1/23).

The Net EU contribution is €15,44 million, with the total cost reaching €19,91 million, 31 signed grants in total for 2021 and 2022, and 40 organisations participating in them.

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Cyprus’s financing on Cluster 5, Climate, Energy & Mobility

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