German chemicals warn EU commission about 30% climate target

26 May 2010 20:25  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s chemical industry on Wednesday warned the EU commission against moves to unilaterally raise the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target to 30% by 2020, up from the current 20%.

A 30% reduction of GHG emissions below 1990 levels, would – in the absence of a global climate accord – harm Europe’s industry, said Frankfurt-based chemical industry trade group VCI.

The group was reacting to an “invitation” earlier on Wednesday by the commission to “an informed debate” on the impact of a move to a 30% EU GHG emissions reduction target.

EU commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard said whether to increase the target for 2020 from 20% to 30% was a political decision for EU leaders to make.

VCI general manager Utz Tillman said his group was particularly critical of the commission’s conclusion that climate protection had become easier and cheaper in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis.

Europe’s economy is just about to begin a slow recovery, but setbacks cannot be ruled out,” said Tillmann.

“It would be irresponsible in this situation to burden industry with additional costs for climate protection,” he said.

Tillman also said he was worried that the commission could use the prospect of higher revenues from emissions trading to persuade EU member states to accept a 30% target.

Also, the commission did not recognise the true extent of “carbon leakage” – that is, the relocation of production from the EU to countries with lower carbon emission standards, he said.

Emissions generated in those countries would be far higher than the reductions Europe would achieve with a higher target, Tillman said.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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