Cefic Europe Energy Policy

Energy Policy: Energy Prices are the Achilles Heel of Europe's Industry, Cefic President Says

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Squinzi mentioned the special needs and worries of the chemical industry. Competitive pressures and characteristics of the industry should be taken into account when discussion further reducing carbon-based emissions.

  • The chemical industry faces a global competition. It can not rely on only dealing with local customers and has to deal with a growing product share from the emerging markets.
  • Setting new goals could prove very cost intensive for the industry. " As things stand, a potential worst case scenario is several billions of euros per year [covering 12 chemicals benchmarks] in direct and indirect costs to be incurred during 2013-2020, depending on the emissions price."
  • Also energy and feedstock uncertainities already pose a threat to the EU's chemical branch. Further pressure comes from the political aftermath of the nuclear accidents in Fukushima/Japan and the instable situation in several Middel-Eastern and North-African states.

But, Squinzi continued, the chemical industry knew about its responsibilities: "The chemicals industry already has every reason to cut its carbon emissions. It is a big energy user, as I said before, accounting for 12 per cent of EU energy demand and one third of its industrial energy use (energy and feedstock)." The pressure that increasing energy costs put on producers has been one of the driving forces to improve energy efficiency. Squinzi said that during the energy consumption of the chemical indutry has remained more or less stable during the past 20 years, although production outputs rose by about 69 percent.

Strict Energy Policy could Force Europe's Industry to Go Abroad, Causing Back Door Emissions

A lot of this improved efficiency in the chemical industry came from what Squinzi calls "one-offs", steps that annot be repeated or extrapolated into the future - as switching from coal to gas. Nevertheless Cefig tries to meet these challenges, as Squinzi said. He especially mentioned Cefic's CARE+ energy saving programme, co-funded by the European Commission.

Squinzi was also sceptical that, if further restrictions could drive more and more production into countries that don't have the same ambitious goals as the European Union, this could ultimately lead to an overall increase of emissions.