Le laboratoire d’idées de la reconstruction écologique et républicaine


    Road to Net Zero

    Bridging the green investment gap

    • Benefits from the climate transition will be only unlocked if public expenditure across Europe doubles to €510 billion a year, Institut Rousseau research finds.
    • Economists say ongoing reform of EU fiscal rules should exclude investments in decarbonisation, such as clean transportation and building renovation.

    A new Institut Rousseau study, involving more than 150 experts, researchers and volunteers from 20+ organisations across Europe, including economists, engineers and public policy experts from across Europe, reveals that €40 trillion investment is needed to put Europe on the path to climate neutrality, while keeping Europe in the global race for competitiveness, in line with the EU’s strategic autonomy agenda.

    The study assesses both public and private investments (and extra-investments, compared to a baseline scenario extending current trends and policies) needed for the EU to meet its climate targets.

    Seven major countries are studied in detail: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. These countries represent approximately three-quarters of EU-27 GDP and domestic emissions.

    The research team analysed 37 decarbonisation levers and 70+ public policies. All modelling outputs (emissions reductions, public and private investments and extra-investments) are computed both at the country scale (for each of the 7 countries) and at the EU-27 scale.

    Couverture du rapport complet de Janvier 2024

    Full report

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    Couverture du résumé exécutif de Janvier 2024

    Executive summary

    Download the executive summary of the report.

    Couverture de l'annexe méthodologique de Janvier 2024

    Methodological annex

    Download the methodological annex.


    ‘This study provides an unprecedented level of detail on the overall extra investments required, particularly in the public sector. The numbers may seem significant, but investing in the green transition is a savvy financial move—coming in at a fraction of what EU governments shelled out for Covid-19 recovery and fossil fuel subsidies’. ‘We face a straightforward choice. We can miss transition targets, and pave the way for a very uncertain future. We'll keep spending twice the required transition money on fossil fuel imports. Or, we can be responsible planners, which would create hundreds of thousands of local jobs, improve our sovereignty and trade balance, and improve the purchasing power of most Europeans in the short term’

    ‘It’s time for European governments to put their money where their mouth is and prioritise public investment to meet the green transition. This study for the first time puts a clear number, not only an estimate on the extra investment needed for the green transition. It clearly shows that we need to increase and redirect current investment across Europe or we will fall far short of our climate targets’.

    The green transition is the winning ticket for Europe. Institut Rousseau's study sheds light on the public spending cost of this ticket, while also emphasizing that a large portion of the money is out there already and can be diverted from inefficient uses such as fossil fuel subsidies. Given what Europe's people and businesses stand to gain, it is clear what the right answer is to the difficult strategic choice of allocating public finance.

    Unlocking investments in the net-zero transition is a strategic decision for Europe, not a financial burden. Not only will it prevent long-term costs resulting from inaction, but it will also enhance our economic security by reducing our reliance on gas and oil imports and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs through the re-industrialisation of the economy. Europe has recently completed a mandate focused on adopting the world's largest series of net-zero laws. It is now time to turn these laws into reality through a solid investment agenda

    In the face of a mounting climate crisis, rising geopolitical tensions, and deindustrialisation, Europe stands on the precipice of self-inflicted economic wounds. Unnecessary budget cuts weaken the very foundation of our economies and mean governments have less means to invest towards a stronger and more resilient economy. Worse still, budget cuts don't guarantee debt reduction, as they slow growth and contribute to underinvestments towards costly preventable future crises. Instead making the necessary public investments will allow us to build towards a prosperous future within planetary limits