Towards a climate-neutral economy: K4I Forum Virtual Debate highlights the importance of R&I in the green transition

On June 11, Knowledge4Innovation hosted a virtual debate on the role that R&I will play in the green transition with a particular focus on how it can help accelerate the move towards a climate-neutral economy.

The key speakers were Artur Runge-Metzger the Director of DG Climate Action, and Hans Arne Frøystein, Chairperson of EURAMET . The event was hosted by MEP was Maria da Graça Carvalho, Chair of the K4I Forum. 

Mr. Runge-Metzger began by laying the framework for the initiative – the agenda of the European Green Deal. He underlined that the Green Deal was engineered to guide each emission-heavy sector of the European economy through deep and fundamental transformation. However, this resource-strenuous effort is challenging in the context of a significantly weakened economy, and the recovery efforts that need to be done in the post pandemic crisis.

Much will depend on the agreement on the Recovery Fund budget, worth 750 Bln euro. It is tailored around three pillars: adapting, investing, and strengthening. The largest part of economic support resulting from the plan will come from its first pillar, and mainly from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, providing large-scale COVID-19 recovery aid. The proposed budget for investment would allow to upgrade production in certain sectors, through direct support to private investors, or even regions and municipalities. A part of the funds will also be distributed to existing and well-established EU programs, such as Horizon Europe. 

Mr. Arne Frøystein stressed the importance of metrology as a field, and its contribution to the development of the Green Deal. He explained how metrology is a backbone for industry and trade, which addresses Europe’s key societal challenges, from clean and renewable energy to a secure and healthy society. 

All in all, this virtual debate provided an outline of the goals of Next Generation EU, a comprehensive response to a multifaceted crisis. The key players in the success of the programme remain researchers and innovators, given that insight-based solutions are essential to move the European Union into quick and large-scale rebuilding, modernization, and autonomy.