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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 2022, BusinessEurope regularly emphasized the risk of deindustrialization in relation to the decarbonization of Europe by 2050, for example, in a declaration in November 2022. In a July 2022 statement, Euractiv reported that the association’s leadership team, Director General Markus J. Beyrer and President Fredrik Persson, suggested support for a moratorium on climate policies proposed by the European People’s Party, and stressed the regulatory burden on companies. BusinessEurope supports the UN Paris Agreement but has consistently stressed the ambition gap between the EU’s Nationally Determined Contribution and other countries, in November 2022 stating that the EU should only increase its NDC on the condition that other major emitters also increase their targets.

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). The association supported a weaker reform of the EU ETS, advocating in particular for a staggered rebasing of the emissions cap in a July 2022 newsletter, and in a December 2022 press release quoting the Director General. However, in the same press release he seemed to support an ETS for road transport and buildings including private households. In a letter to Members of European Parliament BusinessEurope opposed extending the scope of the EU ETS to extra-EU flights, and did not support including non-CO2 emissions. In a December 2022 press release, the Director General stressed the impacts on companies’ international competitiveness from the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and advocated for export rebates to be included, supporting a gradual application of the CBAM until the mid-2030s, a position which is misaligned with the EU Commission.

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, and in a July 2022 tweet it suggested that the EED could lead to deindustrialization. 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.” In December 2022, in a letter to Members of European Parliament, the association did not support higher national targets in the ReFuelEU Aviation policy, advocating for voluntary measures, and a flexibility mechanism for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. 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. In a March 2022 meeting with EU Commissioner Sinkevicius, sourced through a Freedom of Information Request, BusinessEurope opposed implementing mandatory requirements on GHG emissions through the Industrial Emissions Directive reform, stressing double regulation with the EU ETS.

Positioning on Energy Transition: BusinessEurope seems to take mostly unsupportive positions on the energy mix. In a letter to the EU Council in December 2022, the association supported decarbonizing the EU using renewable, low-carbon and nuclear additional capacities, as well as fossil gas, whilst emphasizing the risks of deindustrialization. In a position paper in December 2022, BusinessEurope advocated for policymakers to weaken the ambition of proposals for aviation infrastructure in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation, but supported increasing recharging infrastructure. 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. In a newsletter in March 2022, the association did not support the FuelEU Maritime regulation, suggesting that over-regulation would cause carbon leakage. In a March 2022 meeting with EU Commissioner Sinkevicius, sourced through a Freedom of Information Request, BusinessEurope supported diversifying the energy mix in Europe away from dependency on fossil fuels by delaying the coal phase out.

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