The European Commission (EC) published in November 2018 its communication for a long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy. The aim of this long-term strategy is to present a vision that can lead to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Process-related chemical emissions are mentioned in the Communication as requiring genuine innovation and the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be reduced.

The policies put in place today will have a continued impact after 2030 and will therefore reduce GHG emissions of 60% by 2050. This is, however, not sufficient for the EU to contribute to the Paris Agreement’s goals. The EC proposes a road to a net-zero greenhouse gas economy along seven building blocks, which will require considerable additional investments in the range of € 175 to 290 billion a year to:

  • maximise the benefits from Energy Efficiency including zero emission buildings
  • maximise the deployment of renewables and the use of electricity to fully decarbonize Europe’s energy supply
  • embrace clean, safe and connected mobility
  • achieve a competitive EU industry and the circular economy
  • Develop an adequate smart network infrastructure and inter-connections
  • Reap the full benefits of bio-economy and create essential carbon sinks
  • Tackle remaining CO2 emissions with carbon capture and storage

The Communication highlight a number of ways in which the chemical industry could reduce its emissions including enhancing circular economy, combined with increased use of bio-based material as feedstock; electrification combined with the use of hydrogen as feedstock and CCS. A combination of these options seems to be the most promising approach.