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, yet in regard to climate regulation at times it stressed the need for caution to safeguard European industrial competitiveness in the near term. For example, in an October 2021 report, the association stated support for the EU’s ambition to become climate neutral by 2050. Similarly, Cefic supported ambitious government regulation to respond to climate change, as well as the EU’s Fit for 55 package, in a position paper in November 2021. However, in a letter to EU policymakers in May 2021, the association supported a regulatory framework but asserted that it must also preserve the competitiveness of industry and stressing the risk of carbon leakage. In an interview with CEO Martin Brudermüller the news outlet Politico reported that he communicated support for policy with “realistic” timelines in January 2022.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Cefic seems to have mostly negative engagement with key EU climate policies. The association did not appear to support 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 May 2020. In a position paper, published in October 2021, Cefic did not support many of the European Commission’s proposed reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), including strengthening mechanisms such as the Market Stability Reserve and the rebasing of the ETS cap. Instead, Cefic has advocated for strengthened carbon leakage protection measures such as the free allocation of emissions allowances and indirect cost compensation. Cefic did, however, support the proposal to ensure that auction revenues are directed to climate-related purposes. In a January 2022 position paper the association advocated for the strengthening of carbon leakage protection measures in the EU ETS alongside a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and supported the inclusion of export rebates, a position which is misaligned with the EU Commission, although it did also support the inclusion of indirect emissions.

In response to an EU public consultation in October 2021 Cefic supported energy efficiency legislation for buildings, but was unsupportive of several elements of the reform of the Energy Efficiency Directive, including the exclusion of energy savings that can be achieved from fossil fuels to count towards the Energy Savings Obligation. Furthermore, in April 2021 in a position paper Cefic did not support including an energy consumption cap in the reform of the Industrial Emissions Directive. 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. However, in October 2021 in response to an EU public consultation, the association supported permitting recycled carbon fuels to reach targets in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), essentially opening up RED from solely legislating renewable energy, and did not support binding sub-targets for renewable hydrogen as it would hamper production of low-carbon hydrogen produced with fossil gas and carbon capture and storage.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Cefic seems to broadly support the decarbonization of industry and supports specific regulation, but with some major exceptions. In February 2022, the news outlet ReCharge reported that the Director General Marco Mensink supported increasing renewable energy to decarbonize the chemical industry through direct electrification and hydrogen. However, in response to an EU public consultation in June 2021, Cefic supported long-term fossil gas supply contracts to end in 2050 or after and promoted a role for unabated fossil gas in the energy mix. Furthermore, in November 2021 in an EU public consultation response the association supported some elements of the Energy Taxation Directive reform to align energy taxation with the energy transition, but advocated for the maintenance of tax exemptions for energy used in industrial processes. It also supported favorable treatment for hydrogen in the response, but on a technology neutral basis, thereby supporting equal treatment of hydrogen produced with renewables and with fossil gas and carbon capture and storage.

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