Climate change policy must balance need for competitive energy prices, Cefic leaders say

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Cefic leaders call for EU policy that unlocks low carbon and energy efficient future, promoting competitiveness, innovation, jobs and growth.

Cefic - The European Chemical Industry Council

A policy shift towards reducing EU energy and policy costs is needed to ensure industry stays globally competitive.

Competitively priced energy will be essential if the European Union is to deliver jobs and growth alongside progress in combating climate change, EU chemicals industry group Cefic said today at a business event in Brussels.

Speaking during the European Business Summit in Brussels, Cefic leaders urged policymakers to balance climate policy objectives with the need to close the energy cost gap between Europe and major competing markets. The call echoes findings from the recently released Cefic long-range study on the role of the sector as Europe progresses towards a low-carbon future. Titled "European chemistry for growth: unlocking a competitive, low carbon and energy efficient future," the roadmap concludes that innovation and investment will also be crucial to improving energy efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Cefic board member Tom Crotty, a summit panelist, said: “A policy shift towards reducing EU energy and policy costs is needed to ensure industry stays globally competitive.

“It’s a question of whether policy will continue to be based on pushing up energy prices, or seek instead to make low-carbon energy cheaper and bring focus back to investment that ensures breakthrough products can still be made here at home.”

Published with support from energy consultancy Ecofys, the roadmap explores the chemical industry’s role based on future scenarios during the 2020-2050 timeframe. The paper shows how outcomes could vary according to differing policy targets in Europe and the rest of the world, as well as variations in energy and feedstock costs and the speed of innovation.

The roadmap also explains the role chemical industry technology and products will play to help other sectors improve energy efficiency and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A complete chemicals sector value chain will need to remain in Europe to fulfil future domestic demand for chemicals products, it concludes.

The roadmap supports calls by Cefic for EU policymakers to promote an industrial “virtuous circle” in which innovation and market-driven competition lead to increased investment and competitiveness and, ultimately, lower energy costs. Increases in the cost of energy will risk a vicious circle in which higher prices lead to reduced competitiveness and inhibit the investments needed to realise the long-term benefits of innovation. Many EU-made basic chemicals would become uncompetitive vis-à-vis imports, with serious knock-on effects down the entire value chain.

Crotty concluded: “While policymakers pursue a global climate policy agreement they must keep in mind the reality that the European chemical industry faces an uneven playing field in terms of the global carbon cost.”

See the roadmap at the Cefic website at http://www.cefic.org/energyroadmap

For more information, contact: James Pieper, media relations manager, Cefic, on desk phone +32 (0)2 676 7398 or via e-mail at jpi(at)cefic(dot)be.

Notes to editors:

About Cefic

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, is the Brussels-based organisation representing the European chemicals industry. Created in 1972, it represents 29,000 companies, including SMEs, which produce about 20 per cent of the world’s chemicals. For more information, go to http://www.cefic.org – Cefic’s website.

Ecofys

Cefic commissioned Ecofys to perform analyses and bring forward key conclusions and recommendations from their independent from their independent viewpoint, in close collaboration with the sector.

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James Pieper
Cefic
+33 2 676 7398
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