INVEST IN HASTE, REPENT AT LEISURE

To decarbonize an entire economy is not unlike the mammoth task above: it requires a definite starting point and a step-by-step approach to make seemingly insurmountable challenges manageable. It is for this reason that the EU has set its Member States' targets on climate action for 2020, to be followed by targets for 2030 and 2050. This will be challenging enough for Member States, but what about for those states in the Western Balkans that will most likely join the challenge partway through the meal. Without serious preparations these countries will most certainly find it impossible to digest such a vast task, and it will cost the region's and EU's taxpayers enormous amounts of additional money to set them back on the right track, if indeed it can be done at all.

Given the imperative to assist the countries of the region to orientate towards the EU's 2020, 2030 and 2050 targets, this report recommends that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs):

1. Stop funding new fossil fuel projects in prospective Member States, especially coal and rapidly increase the share of energy savings, energy efficiency and sustainable renewables in their portfolios.

2. Make residential energy efficiency and energy savings the number one priority in the region.

3. Adopt a zero tolerance approach to indicators of corruption or breaches of environmental standards for all projects.

4. Support the diversification of renewables and de-emphasize support for damaging hydropower projects especially those built as energy export vehicles.

5. Prepare funds and programmes to assist the countries of the region who wish to meet 20% energy efficiency targets, especially in instances which will help tackle energy poverty.

6. Prepare funds and programmes to assist the countries of the region to tackle the alarmingly high technical and commercial losses in the region's energy systems.

7. Greatly simplify project disclosure for funds and intermediaries so that it is clearer which money ends up where.

To read the full report, please click here