Electrification key to achieving EU carbon goals, says cross-industry group

The cross-industry European CEO Alliance has backed plans by the European Commission to cut carbon emissions by 55% by 2030.

Twelve business leaders met in Paris to discuss ways to further support the EU Green Deal and has presented a series of policy recommendations supporting a progressive and ambitious push to achieve climate neutrality.

The Alliance believes tackling climate change requires strong collaboration between the public sector and industry, and would welcome a review of the EU’s major regulatory instruments, in particular subsidies for technologies with high CO2 emissions.

The CEOs’ proposals include sending a strong carbon pricing signal, accelerating measures to decarbonise mobility and transport, buildings and energy systems, speeding up the renewal of key industry sectors in the EU.

Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs in the French government, said: “I am very pleased to have been able to exchange views today with the companies that provide solutions for the implementation of the Green Deal, the decarbonisation of the economy, green transition and energy efficiency.

“As the European Commission prepares to present its ‘Fit for 55’ energy and climate package with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, the mobilisation of industrial and economic players will be essential to achieving our climate objectives together.”

The Alliance also called for continued enhancement of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (for power and heavy industry) and for the implementation of sector-specific cap-and-trade systems that would apply to mobility, transport and the buildings sector. Sector-specific systems could then converge beginning in 2030. Another proposal concerns a European carbon pricing system that would include measures to simultaneously achieve a social balance and emissions reduction.

The CEO Alliance for Europe’s Recovery, Reform and Resilience was formed in 2020 against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the European Green Deal. The Alliance’s shared goal is to make the EU the world’s leading region for climate protection while unlocking investments, fueling innovations in new technologies and creating future-proof jobs.

Decarbonising mobility, transport and buildings will be the major challenges, according to the Alliance. It adds that, for the transport and mobility sector, electric mobility for passenger cars, light vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles has proven to be the most efficient technology in terms of energy consumption and emission reduction. To foster the entire ecosystem around electric mobility, members of the CEO Alliance have initiated cross-sectoral projects to ramp up battery production and create a charging infrastructure across Europe.

The European climate targets require a rapid build-up of renewable power generation and the direct electrification of mobility, transport and heating/air conditioning for buildings. The CEO Alliance is working on a project to integrate power systems, in particular grids, in order to create a system based mainly on renewables and flexible solutions.

Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess: “Climate change will remain our greatest challenge over the next years and decades. The CEO Alliance fully supports the EU Commission’s climate goals, to which there is no alternative. Now it’s time to shift the political discussions towards getting it done. In an unprecedented move, the CEO Alliance with its industry-leading companies from across Europe calls for a carbon pricing signal covering all emissions across industries and countries.”

The members view themselves as an “action tank,” working together on cross-sector pan- European projects at scale: cross-EU charging infrastructure for heavy duty trucks, integration of EU power systems (in particular grids), digital carbon footprint tracking, sustainable and healthy buildings for the future of work and living, e-buses for Europe, green hydrogen value chains and the rapid development of battery production. Further projects are being prepared, including one involving low carbon steel. The CEOs will deliver their first tangible results and discuss implementation with high-level EU representatives at a summit set for autumn 2021.

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