Swiss chems prepared to cut carbon emissions by 20% – trade group

26 November 2010 16:02  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Switzerland’s chemical and pharmaceuticals producers are prepared to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, a trade group said on Friday.

Marcel Sennhauser, head of communications for Swiss chemical and pharmaceuticals trade group SGCI, told ICIS that the targeted 20% reduction in emissions compared with a 300% increase in the industry’s production over the same period.

But the producers want cuts they achieve at their plants outside Switzerland to count towards the 20% reduction target, Sennhauser said.

A reduction of emissions abroad was more effective and less costly than the same reduction in Switzerland, where producers had already cut their emissions through voluntary measures, he said.

“Additional emissions reduction in Switzerland are relatively expensive,” Sennhauser said.

Switzerland’s current CO2 legislation, which relies on voluntary industry measures to cut emissions, regulates policies until the end of 2012. Swiss legislators are working on updating and revising the rules for after 2013.

Switzerland’s lower parliamentary house has said it wants to see the country’s emissions cut by 20% by 2020 from 1990 levels.

Sennhauser said lawmakers in the upper house were still working on the issue. New legislation was not likely to come into effect before 2012, he added.

In a position paper, SGCI also urged the Swiss government to reward innovative research by firms through tax incentives and called on the government to accelerate work on free-trade deals with other countries – in particular, a pending deal with Peru.

A key worry for Swiss producers was access to affordable electricity and energy, the group said.

SGCI, for its part, backed an initiative that included the possible construction of new nuclear power capacity, it said.

Switzerland’s chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry accounts for some 5% of the country’s overall energy consumption.

Major chemicals companies with production in Switzerland include Lonza, Syngenta, EMS Chemie, Sika, Clariant, all Swiss, Germany's BASF, and Huntsman of the US, among others.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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