Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.
Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Key investments in measures and actions on climate change and environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery
Key investments in climate action and a climate-friendly economy were defined as central pillars of the Austrian federal government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package aimed at helping to overcome the corona crisis. Following the government’s conference, an anouncment was made that one billion euros in support will be provided for climate action each year in 2021 and 2022. This measure is planned as a supplement to priorities that have already been budgeted. Additional investments are already set to begin in 2020. In any case, the total package for the period until 2022 will amount to EUR 2.14 billion. In addition, funds totalling EUR 75 million will be provided for environmental measures for bodies of water.
- Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
- Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
- Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.
1.Climate mitigation measures
Building sectorRecoveryRefurbishment offensive
The funds in the area of thermal rehabilitation, for the boiler replacement initiative, and for the decarbonisation of district and local heating will also be increased considerably. At EUR 750 million, the resources budgeted for these purposes make up a significant portion of the package, and particular emphasis will be placed on lower-income households in the switch to clean heating in order to give them access as well. In the next two years, a renovation offensive will also be launched in Austria. Related legal barriers in housing and tenancy law will also be eliminated.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryRedesignExpansion of renewable energies / "1 million roofs"
Emphasis will continue to be placed on the expansion of renewable energy, with the goal of generating 100 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. In order to achieve this target, one million roofs that produce solar electricity are to be built in Austria. An additional EUR 260 million will be made available for this purpose in the next two years. In addition, the legal framework for a nationwide expansion will undergo expert review in 2020 as part of the Renewables Expansion Act, which is expected to result in another surge in investment. Austria already has the third highest share of renewable electricity among all 30 member countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The further expansion of renewable energy in the electricity and natural gas segments represents an important cornerstone for a climate-neutral energy system and is an essential driver for a green economic programme.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)RedesignClimate-friendly technologies for the future:
The economic stimulus package will also provide financing for research and innovation in the field of climate action and future technologies, which play a key role in the path towards climate neutrality. This will also include battery research, for example. The exit from fossil fuels in the mobility sector is a central priority in the fight against the climate crisis. Innovative research in the field of vehicle technologies can contribute to reducing greenhouse gases. At the same time, innovative companies strengthen Austria as an economic region, which in turn secures jobs in the country. Austria´s goal is that everyone in the country can be mobile in an environmentally friendly manner and with low emissions – and that mobility remains affordable and convenient in the process.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Household sectorRedesignValue-added tax relief
A VAT tax relfief in the amount of EUR 100 million for repairs is intended to help combat the “throwaway society” and support relevant services. This measure supports services and corresponding employment as well as the circular economy. The aim is to create incentives to have appliances repaired rather than thrown away, and at the same time to stimulate companies in the repair sector through a reduced VAT rate. As defined by EU law, this covers small repair services, such as bicycles, shoes and tailoring.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Sustainable transportationResponseRecoveryRedesignSubstantial investments will also be made in public transport.
In connection with the bailout of the national airline - Austrian Airlines, it was announced that EUR 240 million have been secured for the financing of an Austria-wide ticket for all forms of public transport that will cost three euros a day. At the same time, the federal government will invest an additional EUR 300 million in public transport as a climate-friendly form of mobility. These are additional funds that had not yet been budgeted in the Medium-term Budgeting Framework Act. This money will primarily go to the expansion of infrastructure. An annual subsidy of EUR 10 million will also be provided for night trains starting in 2024.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Building sectorResponseRecoveryRenovation of buildings/schools
This measure focuses on the renovation of the building substance and adaptation measures to improve the school functions, but also includes the construction of new buildings. Here, ecological criteria/sustainable school construction should be the main focus.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Industry sectorResponseRecoveryRedesignInvestment allowance
An investment allowance will place particular emphasis on climate action investments: In future, 14 per cent of investments will flow back to companies in the form of a tax credit. Along with digitalisation and healthcare investments, environmental investments will be specifically promoted for six months starting in September 2020. This will make climate-friendly investments such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and investments in reducing air pollutants and other forms of pollution particularly attractive for companies. In addition, environmentally harmful investments are explicitly excluded.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Finance
OthersResponseRecoveryRedesignMunicipal Investment Program for Municipalities
(Municipal Investment Act ): This extended version of the program of 2017/2018, municipalities can receive a subsidy for investments from the COVID-19 crisis management fund. Newly added to the list of eligible projects are climate action and ecological measures. A total of €1 billion is available.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Finance
Sustainable transportationRedesignPromotion of active mobility
Mobility forms, such as active mobility, with a low risk of infection gain importance. Additional funds for active mobility will be provided. The klimaaktiv mobil fund will be increased from EUR 4.4 to 21.4 Million to improve infrastructure in cities with more than 30.000 inhabitants. Another goal is to almost double bike traffic from 7 to 13 % by 2025. With July 1st EUR 40 Million will be provided for the expansion of bike infrastructure.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Sustainable transportationRedesignPromotion of zero-emission modes of transport
E-Mobility provides a viable solution in cases where public transport or active mobility are not feasible at the moment. The Austrian government has recently increased subsidies for buyers of such vehicles and the necessary charging infrastructure. Financial aid has been increased as a contribution to the economic management of the Corona crisis. On July 1st the bonus system within the "E-Mobilitätsoffensive 2019-2020" was extended in cooperation with the importers of car and two-wheeled vehicles and sports retail. An additional amount of EUR 26 Million will be provided for E-Mobility. Regulatory obstacles in the implementation and expansion of charging-solutions in the area of housing law will also be removed through the “Right to Plug” initiative.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryAdditional Funding for District Heating
The environmental Fund got additional budget for 2020 and 2021 for high efficient biomass district heating and use of industrial heat. With this additional budget of annually 20 Mio. € and the cofinancing of the regions and the EAFRD we expect additional projects for about EUR 250 Million per year. This should boost the investments, mainly in remote rural areas.ContactFederal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
2.Other environmental measures
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureRedesignForestry Package
The announcement of the economic stimulus measures also included a forestry package in the amount of EUR 350 million. This set of measures was developed together with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism and is intended to provide essential measures and research projects for the establishment of more climate-fit forests. One key component in this regard are biodiversity measures, which among other things will support the diversity of our forests through the expansion of the network of natural forest reserves.ContactFederal Federal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Agricutlure, Forestry and Tourism Ministry of Agricutlure, Forestry and Tourism
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureRecoveryBiodiversity measures
Austria is part of the EU’s ambitious biodiversity strategy. Protected areas are to be established for at least 30 per cent of the land and sea in Europe by 2030, with strict protection for a third of these areas. The programme for this strategy also defines stricter protection for the remaining primary and old-growth forests in the EU and a new legal framework for nature restoration. In addition, the use of chemical pesticides is to be cut in half and organic farming is to be used on a quarter of agricultural land. Furthermore, the Austrian federal government plans to create a biodiversity fund for the implementation of the biodiversity strategy defined in the government programme.ContactFederal Federal Ministry of Climate Change, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Agricutlure, Forestry and Tourism Ministry of Agricutlure, Forestry and Tourism
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