Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria)

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Rome, Italy

Climate Lobbying Overview: Confindustria appears to have taken a largely unsupportive position on climate policy since 2015, consistently highlighting the threat of carbon leakage as a reason for not implementing more ambitious climate policy and promoting gas as a decarbonization solution.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Confindustria appears to support climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, expressing support for the climate neutrality objective in a meeting with the European Commission in 2020. However, the association appears to strongly caveat this support in statements highlighting the economic risks of drastic action in line with the IPCC advice, for example warning of the risk of carbon leakage when discussing climate neutrality by 2050 in a July 2020 Italian parliamentary hearing. Confindustria also regularly caveats supportive statements on near-term climate policy with concerns around competitiveness, entitling a section of its 2020 Sustainability Report “decarbonization without carbon leakage” which references the association’s success in reducing regulation on energy intensive industry aimed at financing climate measures. In a 2020 news report, Confindustria’s new President Carlo Bonomi appeared to support international action on climate change ahead of COP26.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Confindustria appears to take a mixed stance on climate regulation in the EU. The association did not appear to support increasing the ambition of the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to 55%, suggesting in a 2020 report that the targets must be carefully evaluated in relation to measures that may be needed to protect sectors at risk of carbon leakage. However, a subsequent statement on Twitter, also in 2020, appeared to accept the new 55% target. Confindustria has also repeatedly stressed the risk of carbon leakage in relation to increasing the ambition of the EU ETS, appearing to seek to weaken the policy in a report at the end of 2020 by advocating for national cost compensation measures and the exclusion of 2020 emissions from allocation allowances. The association does not appear to support the replacement of existing carbon leakage protections via a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, stating in a 2020 parliamentary hearing that the mechanism “is not a substitute” but must be “harmonized” with existing measures.

Confindustria does not appear to support renewable energy legislation, advocating against binding renewable energy targets for heating and cooling, and not supporting increased targets for transport in a 2021 EU consultation response. The association appears to take a more mixed position on energy efficiency legislation, seeming to strongly support the ‘superbonus’ energy efficiency incentive in Italy in a parliamentary hearing in 2021, but not supporting new EU energy efficiency targets in a 2020 position paper, describing them as exceedingly ambitious and voicing concerns around achieving them.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Confindustria appears to support the maintenance of a high greenhouse gas emissions energy mix. In its response to the EU consultation on gas networks in March 2021, the association appeared to advocate for a long-term role for natural gas in the energy mix without placing clear conditions on the use of CCS, stating that “gas is an enabler of the EU decarbonization”. This position is consistent with a track record of strong advocacy in support of gas from Confindustria President Vincenzo Boccia (2016-2020), who reportedly opposed Government measures to limit gas exploration in the Adriatic Sea, according to quotations in a 2019 media report. In a parliamentary hearing in January 2021, Confindustria similarly did not appear to set clear conditions on the use of CCS for the production of ‘blue hydrogen’, simply referring to the ‘complementary development of CCS solutions’, and appeared to actively advocate for the inclusion of ‘blue hydrogen’ in Italy’s COVID-19 recovery plan. However, in a 2020 report Confindustria did appear to advocate in favor of the inclusion of measures to support the decarbonization of transport in Italy’s COVID-19 recovery plan.