European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)

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Brussels , Belgium
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Climate Lobbying Overview: The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) appears to take a mixed approach to climate change policy and is strategically engaged with policymakers across a range of EU policy streams. The group’s engagement with several strands of climate change policy appears to have become more positive since 2015, but it continues to engage negatively on certain areas of legislation, such as increasing the ambition of the EU Emissions Trading System.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Cefic has communicated strong support for long-term climate ambition alongside the need for caution with regard to safeguarding European industrial competitiveness in the near term. For example, in a 2020 position paper, the association stated support for the EU Green Deal and the EU’s ambition to become climate neutral by 2050. However, on its website in November 2020, the association published content which appeared to stress the risks of unilateral climate action. Similarly, Cefic seemed to be supportive of government regulation to respond to climate change in response to EU Commission consultations in 2020, but has stressed on its website that policy framework conditions must also preserve competitiveness.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Cefic seems to have mixed engagement with key EU climate policies. The association does not seem to have supported the increased ambition of the 2030 EU GHG emission Climate Target, advocating for an indicative 2040 target in a position paper on the EU Climate Law in 2020, contrasting with the EU Commission’s proposed 55% mandatory reduction target by 2030.

In response to a consultation on the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in November 2020, and in a joint letter from the Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries in 2021, Cefic did not seem to support the European Commission’s proposed reforms to progressively increase the carbon price and stringency of the scheme, including strengthening mechanisms such as the Linear Reduction Factor. Instead, Cefic has advocated for strengthened carbon leakage protection measures such as free allocation of emissions allowances and indirect cost compensation. In a meeting with EU Commissioner Breton in February 2021, Cefic stressed that a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism should be complementary to the ETS free allocation system, and in a meeting with Vice President Timmermans in November 2020, the Cefic President Martin Brüdermuller stated it would prefer that a CBAM did not apply to the chemical sector.

Cefic has supported energy efficiency legislation for the buildings sector. In 2020, the Cefic Director General Marco Mensink supported the Renovation Wave, and in response to an EU consultation in 2021 Cefic supported “proven EU policies” such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. However, in a position paper on the increased 2030 Climate Target in 2020 Cefic advocated that the Energy Efficiency Directive should pursue a performance-related approach and did not support “top-down targets like the absolute energy consumption cap under the EED.” Furthermore, in a position paper on the EU’s Climate Law in May 2020, Cefic suggested that “the Energy Efficiency Directive will have to be amended in order to take into account industry’s growing demand for energy.”

In a 2020 position paper, Cefic supported increasing the ambition of the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), although it is noted that this would likely reduce the burden of emissions reductions for sectors regulated by the EU ETS, such as chemicals. Cefic supported policies such as CO2 standards for vehicles in response to the EU Commission's consultation on the Effort Sharing Regulation in 2021, and opposed a phase out of the ESR if the EU ETS is extended to the buildings and road transport sectors. Cefic President Martin Brüdermuller advocated for reform to the EU's renewable energy strategy to streamline and upscale renewable energy production in the Financial Times in June 2021, although previously supported the removal of levies on renewable electricity in November 2020 in Politico, stating that industry should not be "slowed down by regulatory stumbling blocks."

Positioning on Energy Transition: Cefic’s Director General Marco Mensink communicated support for the transition of the energy mix and the decarbonization of industry in 2021, however, the association appears to retain a supportive position on the future role of fossil gas. In response to the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) consultation in 2020, for example, Cefic supported the relevance of fossil gas infrastructure. On its corporate website in 2021, Cefic supported the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy and the Director General Marco Mensink stated support for renewable hydrogen in May 2021 at the Solar Power Summit.