Europe’s biggest industrial companies are warning that Brussels needs to “walk the talk” of its climate ambitions by enabling a “massive ramp-up” of renewable energy in forthcoming climate legislation, if it expects business to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Some 22 chief executives and 18 European legislators have written an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission president, voicing their concerns that Europe’s energy system is not fit to enable a green transition.
Among those who signed the letter are the bosses of AB Volvo, ArcelorMittal, BASF, Daimler, Iberdrola, Orsted, Thyssenkrupp, Titan Cement, Siemens and Shell.
“Without a stronger European policy focus and increased investments boosting the availability of renewables for industrial use, we not only risk delaying needed greenhouse gas reductions . . . but also our overall credibility,” the letter states.
“We are still far from the needed volumes and capacity in terms of renewable energy to unleash the industrial electrification business case.”
Next week Brussels will unveil proposals for a legislative framework to support its ambition to reach net zero by 2050. They are expected to include an overhaul of the EU’s carbon pricing market, a border tax on polluting imports and stricter rules for car emissions.
However, the industrialists have warned that more needs to be done to develop an EU-wide approach to energy — on everything from granting permits for new renewable developments to coherence in energy investment across the bloc.
They call for legislation that will help to abolish grid bottlenecks, encourage the free flow of energy across borders, and remove barriers to integrating renewable energy into the power used by industry. “Only through the build-up of a truly European framework and by integrating national attempts, will we manage this successfully,” the letter says.
The EU had failed to address these concerns in its updated industrial strategy earlier this year, the letter says. The forthcoming package of legislation was “another chance to set this right. Many companies in the European Union are ready ‘to walk the talk’, so should the European Commission.”
Last month, Martin Brudermüller, chair of BASF, the world’s biggest chemicals company, and Andreas Nauen, chief executive of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the second-largest wind turbine maker, told the Financial Times that China and the US were taking a more pragmatic approach than the EU and moving faster to enable their industries to cut emissions. This would have an impact on competitiveness, they said.