Czech industry slams EU 2040 emissions reduction target

The Czech government should not support the climate goal proposed by the European Commission to reduce emissions by 90% by 2040, as it is unachievable and would hit industry-dependent Czech Republic hard. So warn Czech energy-intensive sector associations, including the Czech and Slovak steel association, Steel Union.

The Commission published a detailed impact assessment earlier this month that recommended a 90% net greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. Eurofer responded by saying EU steelmakers back carbon neutrality by 2050 but require further much needed support.

“The proposal is based on unrealistic assumptions and completely ignores the fact that the European Union and individual member states have not yet created the conditions necessary for massive investments in the green transformation of industry in individual countries,” the associations comment in a joint statement.

“If the proposed target were to be confirmed, it would have serious economic and social impacts on millions of people across Europe and the long-term competitiveness of EU businesses,” they note. Since industry contributes significantly to Czech GDP, the country would be particularly affected, they add.

The main factors impacting competitiveness are expensive energy and emission allowances, an economic recession, the absence of an effective industrial policy, insufficient decarbonisation infrastructure, limited availability of low-emission technologies and large bureaucracy, the statement reads. These are coupled with a comparably smaller effort by third countries to reduce emissions.

The ambitious target comes “at the most inopportune time, when industrial production is stagnating in Germany and in our country. If the proposal were to pass, we would lose ten years of time, which we should have had for decarbonisation”, says Czech Chemical Industry Association director Ivan Souček.

The proposed target needs to be re-evaluated so that it reflects the real decarbonisation possibilities of European business and society in general, the associations conclude.

Adam Smith Poland