Interview article by Will Beacham
BARCELONA (ICIS)--Tougher emissions targets emerging from the COP21 climate change negotiations in Paris will damage the industry in Europe, rather than stimulating innovation, unless they are agreed globally and implemented fairly, according to Petrochemicals Europe, part of Europe’s trade group Cefic.
Imposing tougher targets in Europe but not in other regions will just burden the industry with extra costs and further disadvantage it against global competitors.
COP21 instead should be an opportunity to remove the current regulatory imbalances between the regions and create a fairer framework, executive director, Petrochemicals Europe, Dorothee Arns, said on Friday.
“COP21 needs to deliver a globally binding agreement, which would push reform in other continents and put the European industry on a level playing field with its competitors. Otherwise, topping up the EU’s climate and energy targets would only mean more legislative burden and cost for the operations of Europe´s chemical industry.”
She believes the introduction of tougher targets on its own is not sufficient to stimulate demand and provide growth for the industry.
But if applied fairly, global demand for innovative products would undoubtedly see an increase: “In this case the European chemical industry would benefit from this effect, because climate-friendly solutions such as solar panels, windmill blades, energy-efficient applications and insulation systems are produced with petrochemical components and technologies – a fact which is frequently forgotten.”
Arns points out that as a consequence of unequally imposed energy taxes, Europe’s chemical industry pays at least twice as much for electricity as competing industries outside Europe.
She says it is worthwhile mentioning that the European chemical industry has already reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 54% compared to 1990 levels.
During the same period European production grew by 70% which, she says, clearly indicates the efforts already undertaken by the European industry.
“Therefore, COP21 provides an opportunity to even out imbalances in climate laws and make global competition fairer by creating a level playing field for industries in different countries and regions.”