EU opens door to climate-neutral industry

Posted on 10 March 2020

Concrete details and measures are missing
The EU’s new industrial strategy, published today, is an important step on the road to climate-neutrality, making a clear link to the need to decarbonise Europe’s economy. The strategy contains elements to clean up Europe’s highest emitting sectors, such as steel, cement and chemicals. Notably, it refers to the need to create new markets for zero-carbon technologies and recognises the ‘energy efficiency first principle’.  But detailed measures are missing.

The strategy also mentions the launch of a Just Transition Platform to support carbon-intensive regions and industries, which is crucial for a socially fair transition. 

However, in order to reach the climate neutrality goal while maintaining competitiveness, the strategy must do more. It needs to set clear intermediate and long-term targets, as well as pathways for the industry to reach them, implement an ‘Independent Observatory’ including civil society to monitor the progress of Energy Intensive Industries towards decarbonisation, and define sustainable criteria and targeted uses of hydrogen. 

Camille Maury, Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office said:
“European industry has a make or break role in our battle against climate change. This industry strategy is a first plan for how to decarbonise while remaining competitive, but it needs more work, for example setting target dates for decarbonisation. What’s more, the hydrogen alliance is too vague over what is considered ‘clean’, opening the door to harmful gas investments.”  

The strategy is part of a package released with a small and medium-size enterprises (SME) strategy, a Single Market Barriers Report, as well as a Circular Economy Action plan to be published on 11 March 2020. The Industrial Strategy  now passes to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion. The EU Parliament is planning an own initiative report on the strategy. It will decide in the coming months if the file will be a shared competence between the Energy (ITRE) and Environment (ENVI) Committees - or if ITRE only will lead.

See WWF and Carbon Market Watch’s ten asks on the strategy.

Camille Maury
Policy Officer
WWF European Policy Office 
+32 483 76 50 32

Sarah Azau, 
Media Manager 
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 573 137
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