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EU industry strategy fails Green Deal test

BRUSSELS 10 March 2020. The European Commission’s new industrial strategy provides a strong narrative on the need to decarbonise Europe’s industrial sector but fails to put forward concrete measures to drive the transformation and address barriers on the road to climate neutrality. Carbon Market Watch calls for a swift adoption of industrial climate policies including a revision of Europe’s carbon market rules.

Today, the European Commission launched its new industrial strategy for making Europe’s industry green and keeping it globally competitive.

The strategy acknowledges that modernising and decarbonising energy-intensive industries must be a top priority in Europe’s transition to climate neutrality. However, it fails to give details on how the Commission plans to put these words into practice and help Europe reach its climate-neutrality goal.

Agnese Ruggiero, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch said:

First important test of the EU Green Deal, this strategy misses the mark. We don’t have time for nice words that don’t lead to concrete climate action. The Commission must swiftly put forward concrete measures to clean up Europe’s largest polluters.

Current policies in place, such as the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), are barriers to industrial decarbonisation and carbon pollution from heavy industry has not declined since 2012.

Energy-intensive industries such as cement and steel have no incentive to reduce emissions when they are making billions of windfall profits from the system that is supposed to make polluters pay.

Agnese Ruggiero:

When it comes down to specific policies to drive industrial transformation, revising Europe’s carbon market rules will be a key task. It’s time we stopped subsidising pollution and protecting vested interests and started rewarding clean innovation.

Other concrete measures needed to deliver industrial decarbonisation include introducing CO2 performance standards, better public procurement rules, incentives to drive more circularity and increased funding for innovation.

Though mentioning the Circular Economy Action Plan as an integral part of the industrial strategy, the Commission decided to launch them separately.

Moreover, while acknowledging the crucial role of energy-intensive industries in reaching carbon-neutrality, neither the strategy nor the plan address actions that would improve the circularity of key sectors like steel, cement and chemicals.

By adopting fully circular economy models, these sectors could reduce Europe’s CO2 emissions by 300Mt annually until 2050.

Agnese Ruggiero:

Circularity should be one of the main pillars of the industrial transformation, but there is a disconnect on how the Commission approaches this. This gap must be closed in order to reap the full benefits of reusing products and recycling materials.

The Circular Economy Action Plan is set to be presented on Wednesday 11 March.


Agnese Ruggiero, Policy Officer
+32 2 335 36 66
[email protected]

Kaisa Amaral, Communications Director
+32 485 07 68 90
[email protected]



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