Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI)

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Frankfurt, Germany
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Climate Lobbying Overview: The Verband der Chemischen Industrie (German Chemical Industry Association - VCI) is actively lobbying EU and Germany climate change policy with mainly negative positions, including on key policies such as the EU Emissions Trading System and Germany’s Renewable Electricity Levy (EEG). However, the association seems to broadly support top-line climate ambition and advocates for the decarbonization of the chemical industry with renewable electricity, although it has taken negative positions on the transition of the general energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: The VCI appears to take mixed positions in its top-line messaging on climate policy. In a press release in April 2021, the association supported the EU’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050. However, in May 2021 the Director General, Wolfgang Große Entrup, seemed to stress concerns regarding increasing the ambition of Germany’s climate target to achieve climate neutrality in 2045. In August 2021, Entrup also appeared to stress the risks of carbon leakage due to unilateral climate action, and voiced concerns regarding the costs of the EU’s climate target for industry.

The VCI has taken mostly negative positions on the need for climate change regulation. In a June 2021 policy briefing, the group seemed to stress the burden of the EU Green Deal on industry and suggested support for global action over regional regulation such as global carbon pricing. The VCI’s Director General did not seem to support the EU’s Fit for 55 package in July 2021, stressing the threat of carbon leakage and advocating that the package must ensure the competitiveness of European industry. In a press release in August 2021, the association also was unsupportive of climate policies which would make Germany a more expensive place to produce for industry. However, the Director General also insisted that politicians should pave the way to climate neutrality as quickly as possible in September 2021.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: The VCI does not seem to be supportive of cap-and trade policies in Europe or Germany. The Director General advocated for increased carbon leakage protection measures, such as free allocation of emission allowances, in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) in April 2021 in order to compensate for the raised ambition of the EU’s 2030 Climate Target, a position which is misaligned from the European Commission. However, Entrup did seem to support creating a standalone ETS for the transport and buildings sectors in the same July 2021 press release. The association did not support Germany’s fuel emissions trading act (BEHG) in a July 2021 position paper, advocating for increased burden-easing measures for industry. The VCI voiced opposition to a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in the EU in a policy briefing in June 2021, and in July 2021 the Director General opposed replacing EU ETS carbon leakage protection with a CBAM.

The Director General of the VCI stated opposition to the EU’s Energy Efficiency Target in September 2021, as he suggested that fossil free technologies need more energy than fossil fuels. VCI’sPresident, Christian Kullmann, advocated for the gradual reduction and subsequent abolishment of Germany’s renewable electricity levy (EEG) in July 2021, and in a press release in June 2021 the association suggested that the goal of 100% renewable energy in Germany by 2035 is too ambitious. However, the Director General seemed to support measures to expand renewable energy in Germany’s Climate Protection Act in June 2021.

The VCI has taken mixed positions on the increase of the EU’s 2030 climate target to 55%. The group strongly supported the increase in a press release in April 2021, but in July 2021 the Director General seemed to stress the risks of unilateral action due to the increased ambition. The Director General also appeared unsupportive of increasing Germany’s climate target to 65% in May 2021, emphasizing that it is an “enormous task.”

Positioning on Energy Transition: The VCI appears to take mixed positions on the transition of the energy mix. In an email to EU Commissioner Simson in February 2021, the association supported the electrification of the chemical industry and an increase in hydrogen production from renewable electricity to decarbonize the sector. However, in July 2021 the President seemed to support continued exemptions for industry from energy and electricity taxes. In a position paper published in the same month, the VCI was also unsupportive of Germany’s accelerated coal phase out, and advocated for compensation to maintain international competitiveness.