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Brussels, Belgium
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Climate Lobbying Overview: BusinessEurope has predominantly opposed EU climate policy ambition since 2015, and, despite some increased positive communication concerning the transition of the energy mix in 2020-22, appears to continue to lobby against various aspects of increased climate policy stringency proposed under the EU Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: BusinessEurope appears to be supportive in its top-line messaging on climate policy, albeit with major exceptions. It has stated support for net-zero emissions in the EU, but in 2020-21 regularly associated this with a timeline of “around mid-century”, rather than by 2050 specifically, in position papers, leadership messaging and organizational messaging. In a November 2021 in a position paper, BusinessEurope stressed the risks of carbon leakage from unilateral action to increase EU’s long-term climate ambition. In a letter to the Chair of the EU Environment Council in March 2022, the association stated support for the ambition of the Fit for 55 package, but suggested that the package and its timelines must be reassessed “in order to find a balance between delivering on the goals for 2030 and 2050, as well as finding a pathway through this transition that is economically and socially bearable” due to the energy crisis. This follows a November 2021 position paper in which BusinessEurope stressed the risk of job losses and impacts on international competitiveness due to the package.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: BusinessEurope does not seem to support ambitious climate regulation in the EU. The association did not appear to support raising the ambition of the EU’s 2030 Climate Target to 55% in February 2021 position paper which suggested that 2030 is too early for nascent technologies to be rolled out commercially.

Since 2015, BusinessEurope has directly lobbied policymakers in opposition to ambitious reforms to the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). In a letter to the President of the European Commission in June 2021, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer advocated against many reforms to the policy to bring it in line with the EU’s net zero goal, apart from the Linear Reduction Factor, which he supported being “maintained as the primary lever to increase ambition.” During an event at which the EU Parliament rapporteur for the EU ETS Peter Liese was present in February 2022, the Director General suggested that the EU Commission’s proposed EU ETS reform needed “significant changes” and advocated for “sufficient” free allocation of emissions allowances for industry. The association also did not support the full inclusion of the aviation and shipping sectors in the EU ETS in a March 2021 position paper, stating preference for global regulations for shipping and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme. In a letter to the Minister of the Economy of the EU Council in March 2022, the association advocated for the maintenance of the free allocation of emissions allowances in the EU ETS at the current level until at least 2030 alongside a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and supported the inclusion of export rebates, a position which is misaligned from the European Commission.

BusinessEurope stated support for energy efficiency legislation for buildings in the EU in a position paper in February 2021. However, in response to an EU public consultation in November 2021 the association did not support several reforms to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), including the increase in the energy savings obligation and the exclusion of energy savings from fossil fuels to reach the obligation. In November 2021 in response to an EU public consultation, BusinessEurope supported the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive but was unsupportive of certain reforms, including the review of the bioenergy criteria, and advocated against “overly prescriptive consumption targets.” The association seemed to support the ReFuelEU proposal for aviation, but stressed concerns regarding overlap with other EU regulation in response to an EU public consultation in November 2021. In March 2022 in a letter to the EU Chair of the Environment Council, BusinessEurope advocated for speeding up permitting and licensing timelines for renewable energy projects.

Positioning on Energy Transition: BusinessEurope seems to take mixed positions on the energy mix. In a letter to the EU Chair of the Environment Council in March 2022, BusinessEurope supported the development of low-carbon and renewable energies, and advocated for increased investment in industrial decarbonization. The association supported an increase in ambition of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) in a newsletter in February 2022, but suggested that it should take into account costs and the competitiveness of industry. However, in a letter to the Chair of the EU Competitiveness Council in February 2022, the association did not support policies to scale up electric vehicles including the EU’s 2035 CO2 standard. Furthermore, in a position paper in November 2021 BusinessEurope advocated for similar targets for Liquified Natural Gas and electric vehicles in AFIR. In a newsletter in March 2022, the association did not support the FuelEU Maritime regulation, suggesting that over-regulation would cause carbon leakage. In response to an EU public consultation in November 2021, the association supported some elements in the revision of the EU Energy Taxation Directive to align the policy with the energy transition via increased taxation on fossil fuels, but supported the maintenance of tax-reductions for energy used in industrial processes for energy-intensive industry, and was unsupportive of measures to tax aviation and maritime fuels.

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