In July, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction to which Cefic responded. Large-scale investments in research and innovation will be needed to meet the EU GHG reduction targets, which requires an industry-minded EU policy, taking into account industrial competitiveness.

The European Council in March 2018 invited the Commission to present, by the first quarter of 2019, a proposal for a Strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction in accordance with the Paris Agreement, taking into account the national energy and climate plans for the period 2021 to 2030. The Commission proposal is expected to be published in November, ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Katowice. It will consist of a Communication accompanied by a Staff Working Document. The Commission also announced its intention to propose an increase of the GHG emissions reduction target for 2030, from -40% to -45%. Such an increase would be justified by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy final objectives, which are higher than the initial Commission proposal.

In its response to the public consultation, Cefic recommended the Commission to base its strategy on the following principles:

  • The EU objective must be to reduce GHG emissions and eventually become carbon neutral, not to decarbonize the economy. Carbon is and will remain an essential building block of our products and high performance materials
  • The EU needs a coherent policy framework
  • Industry and investors need a stable and innovation friendly policy framework
  • Industrial GHG emissions must be tackled globally
  • The EU strategy must be based on solid and transparent assumptions

The consultation aims at collecting views on the technological and socio-economic pathways that should be explored. It will also enable stakeholders to share data and knowledge, including drivers, opportunities and challenges relevant to the strategy. Stakeholders’ contributions from all sectors of the economy and society will be an important input. The EU’s objective is to reduce GHG emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

The EU new long-term strategy should put forward a vision for the mid-century that protects the planet and describes various options towards carbon neutrality. Initial discussions show that to achieve high levels of GHG emission reduction, a range of low-carbon alternatives that are not yet available will be needed, which will require significant investments. For example, the Dechema ambitious GHG reduction scenario includes 672 billion € of CAPEX investments.