© Pixabay
Decarbonising Industry
Cleaning up industry to tackle the climate crisis

Europe’s resource and energy intensive industries such as steel, cement and chemicals are responsible for around 17% of total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and 60% of all EU industrial emissions. 

Why it matters?

In recent decades Europe’s resource and energy intensive industries have done little to reduce their GHG emissions. While emissions in other sectors, such as the power sector, have seen significant reductions, those of the resource and energy intensive industries have stagnated.

Reaching the EU climate targets will require rapid cuts in GHG emissions. A well-designed and coordinated EU industrial policy could enable the EU’s resource and energy intensive sectors to decarbonise and transform in a fair manner.

Meanwhile, citizens and the economy can benefit from an EU industrial policy which strongly supports energy and resource efficiency, demand-side reduction measures, reuse and recycling of materials and products, and prioritising the deployment and use of green technologies. These efforts not only facilitate rapid decarbonization but also create high-quality job opportunities.

What WWF is doing

WWF is pushing for the EU’s resource and energy intensive industries to pay the real cost of their carbon pollution. The recent reform of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) still allows these industries to pollute on a massive scale for free, while other sectors have to pay for their carbon emissions. 

The next reform of the EU ETS, scheduled between 2026 and 2027, must put an end to such free permits to pollute. Ensuring that big polluters  pay for their pollution would generate substantial revenues that could effectively support industrial decarbonisation through the EU ETS Modernisation and Innovation Fund. 

WWF is advocating for the EU Institutions to  spend EU taxpayers’ money efficiently, by providing financial support only to targeted key green technologies with a proven and substantial impact in achieving the EU’s 2030 climate targets and decarbonising EU industry on time. Focusing on the deployment of key clean technologies would also be an opportunity for the future of EU industries to both decarbonise on time while increasing their competitiveness.  

To achieve this, EU Institutions must define the right policy framework. It means prioritising the deployment of clean and efficient technologies, such as renewable hydrogen only for targeted sectors which cannot achieve decarbonisation otherwise, e.g. steel, basic chemicals.

Meanwhile, the use of CCS must also be limited to address emissions for which there are no alternative abatement options in specific industrial sectors. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is not a silver bullet to address industrial emissions. Priority should always be given to actual emissions reductions at source.