Belgium: Cembureau, the European Cement Association, has called on the European Union’s (EU) Green Deal to incentivise investment in low-carbon technologies, provide long-term legal certainty and foster the industry’s global competitiveness. It said that the new proposal to tackle climate change showed ‘great promise’ and ‘ambitious vision’ but that this needed to be converted into action to support a successful industrial transformation.
The association is concerned about a new carbon border adjustment mechanism. In its view, “the replacement of the existing carbon leakage measures by an untested mechanism would create considerable uncertainty and risks.” Instead it called on the EU to look at a design that complements the existing carbon leakage measures and is fair for third country importers and EU producers.
Aspects of the European Green Deal that the association praised included the recognition that the cement industry is ‘indispensible’ to the European economy. It also liked the European Commission’s (EC) emphasis on the circular economy that fits with work the sector is doing already from alternative fuels usage to recycling concrete.
"The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy – for a growth that gives back more than it takes away. It shows how to transform our way of living and working, of producing and consuming so that we live healthier and make our businesses innovative. We can all be involved in the transition and we can all benefit from the opportunities,” said EC president Ursula von der Leyen in relation to the new policy proposal.
The EC published its recommendations on how to help energy-intensive industries meet the EU’s 2050 climate target in late November 2019. Its key suggestions were to create markets for climate-neutral and circular products, develop large-scale pilot projects on clean technologies and switch to alternative climate-neutral energy and feedstock sources. It added that the pilot projects should be supported by EU funds and given easier access to private financing. These recommendations will be presented to the EU member states, the EU Competitiveness Council and the European Parliament in early 2020.