Decarbonising industry | WWF
© Michel Gunther / WWF
Decarbonising Industry
Cleaning up industry to tackle the climate crisis
Europe’s energy intensive industries - cement, steel and chemicals - are responsible for around 16% of EU emissions, and 60% of all EU industrial emissions. 

In order to get climate neutral by 2050 at the latest, as the EU’s climate law requires, we must decarbonise EU industry, and especially energy intensive sectors.

What is the EU doing?

The European Commission is preparing an updated ‘Industrial Strategy’, which aims to guide and strengthen the economy. This is an opportunity to put climate action front and centre, so all sectors help achieve carbon neutrality. 

The EU is also supporting the development of hydrogen through its hydrogen strategy and a Clean Hydrogen Alliance (CHA). WWF is a member of the CHA in order to push for only renewable hydrogen from surplus wind and solar power to be used, and that only in sectors where renewable electrification is not possible, like aviation or shipping. 

What is WWF doing?

WWF wants the Industrial Strategy to be a comprehensive plan which links competitiveness and climate neutrality. It must encourage investment to rapidly shift to zero-carbon technologies and create new markets for them, to reach climate neutrality on time.

The Strategy must:

  1. Be designed in line with the climate neutrality target, and implement an Independent Observatory to set targets and monitor EU Energy Intensive Industries’ (EIIs) progress towards decarbonisation
  2. Support strong EU and national innovation policies to enable the commercialisation of zero-carbon technologies ASAP
  3. Create lead markets for zero-carbon technologies, by improving e.g. public procurement rules  
  4. Promote circularity and material efficiency for Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs), e.g. by introducing recycling targets
  5. Implement emission performance standards to drive the race to the top on emissions reductions and facilitate the uptake of zero-carbon solutions
  6. Support and define sustainable and targeted uses of renewable hydrogen
  7. Set out clear conditions and strict criteria for the deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to mitigate unavoidable process emissions
  8. Improve the carbon pricing framework to make polluters pay and provide an effective incentive for industry to decarbonise
  9. Implement a Border Carbon Adjustment (BCA) only as an alternative to free allocations
  10. Ensure a well-designed Just Transition Mechanism, excluding fossil fuel investments
More on WWF and Carbon Market Watch's ten priorities (March 2020)
See NGOs' key priorities for a greener EU Industrial Strategy (Feb 2021)

EU climate neutrality by 2040 - can hydrogen help?

Read the briefing summary or the full paper