The EU bank boosts investments that help counter the impact of global warming, building on the recommendations of the independent evaluation of its support for climate adaptation

The European Investment Bank is boosting its commitment to climate adaptation, the EU bank’s leadership said.

The Bank’s Management Committee accepted the recommendations made in an independent evaluation and noted that they have been addressed in the EIB’s new Climate Adaptation Plan, published in October 2021, just ahead of COP26.

“We recognise the importance of strengthening the EIB’s contribution to support adaptation investment, the Management Committee said.

The EIB Evaluation function’s report on EIB support for climate change adaptation covers the period 2015 to 2020. The evaluation explores the challenges and opportunities faced by the Bank and lays out a series of recommendations for the EIB to step up its support for climate change adaptation.

The independent evaluation of the EIB’s support to climate change adaptation found that the Bank’s relatively low level of support to adaptation does not mirror the vision of the EIB as the EU climate bank. The evaluation concludes that to increase support for climate change adaptation requires changes in the EIB’s business model, including investment in staff, engagement with clients to develop adaptation projects and access to concessional finance or grants.

The majority of EIB climate action has contributed to climate mitigation. Mitigation addresses the causes of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of mitigation investments are windfarms, solar panels, and, low-carbon modes of transport.

Adaptation deals with the consequences of climate change by reducing vulnerability and exposure to the risks associated with climate change, including variable and extreme climate events, such as floods, storms, droughts and heatwaves. Examples of adaptation investments are flood defence infrastructure and climate research.

Between 2015 and 2020, around 10% of EIB operations included an element of support for climate change adaptation. These adaptation components amounted to €6.9 billion. The support dedicated to climate change adaptation represented an average of 20% of the EIB financing for these operations.

The evaluation recommendations call for the EIB to:

  • decide on its level of ambition to support climate change adaptation
  • provide more advisory services and technical support to clients to develop adaptation projects
  • increase the number of skilled staff to work on climate change adaptation
  • develop how it measures its contributions to adaptation outcomes

 Climate change evaluation explores challenges and opportunities

The EIB’s first dedicated Climate Adaptation Plan increases investment and technical support to protect projects from the impact of more extreme weather and to increase the climate resilience of existing and new infrastructure.

It lays out ambitious goals and new areas of focus to ensure that the European Investment Bank fulfils its commitments under the EIB Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 and that the investments have a high impact.

The Adaptation Plan responds to all of the evaluation recommendations:

  • it sets a level of ambition for adaptation that will increase the share of adaptation financing to 15% of its climate action finance by 2025
  • it describes how it intends to build its adaptation expertise, including a proposal for strengthened advisory services, and
  • it will measure the results of adaptation finance through a series of new indicators.

The European Investment Bank is one of the world’s largest financiers of climate action. Between 2012 and 2020, the EIB provided €197 billion of finance supporting over €670 billion of investment in projects that protect the environment, reduce emissions and help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.