Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria)

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Rome, Italy

Climate Lobbying Overview: Confindustria appears to have undertaken largely unsupportive and active engagement on climate change policy since 2015, consistently highlighting the threat of carbon leakage as a reason for not implementing more ambitious climate policy and promoting fossil gas as a decarbonization solution without specifying conditions on Carbon Caputure and Storage (CCS).

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Confindustria seems to take mixed positions in its top-line messaging on climate policy. The organization a supported action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 in the EU in a meeting with the European Commission in February 2020. However, the association appears to highlight the economic risks of drastic action in line with the IPCC, for example warning of the risk of carbon leakage and industrial relocation when discussing the EU target for climate neutrality by 2050 in a September 2021 Italian parliamentary hearing. In a 2021 joint statement with the Federation of German Industry (BDI) ahead of COP26, Confindustria supported action to deliver the Paris Agreement, calling for stronger Nationally Determined Contributions from all countries.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Confindustria appears to take largely unsupportive stances 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 November 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 previous statement on social media, in July 2020, appeared to accept the new 55% target.

Confindustria has consistently been unsupportive of reforms to increase the ambition of the EU Emissions Trading System, appearing to support weakening the policy in feedback on an EU Commission public consultation in November 2021, not supporting a reduction in free emissions allowances before 2030. The association does not appear to support phasing out existing carbon leakage protection measures in the EU ETS alongside the implementation of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), stating in November 2021 feedback to the EU Commission that the CBAM should be “complementary to the existing measures.” Furthermore, in a March 2022 press release Confindustria advocated for a temporary suspension of the EU ETS to reduce energy prices. Since March 2022, Confindustria press releases and statements have consistently advocated for a temporary suspension of the EU ETS. The association also opposed the EU’s proposed Standards for Light Duty Vehicles in a February 2022 press release, advocating for the 2030 emissions reduction target to be weakened to 45% from 55% and proposing to delay until 2028 the decision on the proposed 100% target 2035. Confindustria had previously appeared to oppose the 2035 target in a September 2021 position paper stating that "the new regulation should not indirectly lead to a ban on any technology"

Confindustria seems to adopt more mixed positions on renewable energy legislation and energy efficiency legislation. In feedback to the EU Commission on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in November 2021 the association supported binding targets], but appeared to promote a role for “decarbonized gases” in the directive. This follows input from Confindustria at a September 2021 Italian parliamentary hearing promoting the inclusion of fossil gas in RED for the development of energy storage capacity. However, Confindustria does appear to support Italian initiatives to increase renewable energy production, supporting measures to simplify the authorization processes for renewables in a May 2022 report. On energy efficiency legislation, the association did not support proposals to increase the ambition of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive in November 2021 feedback to the EU Commission, as it did not support the increased annual energy savings obligation, and was unsupportive of the exclusion of fossil gas from the Energy Savings Obligation. However, Confindustria has strongly supported energy efficiency incentives in Italy, supporting the ‘superbonus’ energy efficiency incentive in Italy in a parliamentary hearing in May 2021.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Confindustria does not appear to support the transition of the energy mix away from fossil fuels, extensively promoting a role for fossil gas within the energy mix. In 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.” In November 2021 feedback to the EU Commission on the EU Energy Taxation Directive, Confindustria stated that fossil gas and LNG were “heavily penalized, although they represent solutions for decarbonization”, and advocated for tax exemptions for EU ETS sectors. Confindustria President Carlo Bonomi’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine primarily emphasized the need for more fossil gas alongside reference to incentives for renewable energy, advocating in a March 2022 press release for “more LNG, more LNG regasification terminals, more gas imports ... and incentives for renewables”. In an April 2022 parliamentary hearing the association referenced concrete proposals it had sent to the Italian government proposing how to increase domestic fossil gas production.

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