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Cement industry pushes for workable EU-ETS

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Cement,

On 1 February in European Parliament, the European cement industry made it clear to MEPs that the EU-ETS must maintain free allowances at the level of best-performers in order to achieve real emission reductions while still maintaining a competitive industry in Europe.

In CEMBUREAU’s view, the EU-ETS proposal should ensure that:

  • All energy-intensive industries are on the carbon leakage list and all installations receive a free allocation based on ambitious but realistic benchmarks. They should also benefit from free allocation based on actual production, with fairness being a key principle of policy making. Jobs in one sector are no more or less important that those in other sectors.
  • Sufficient number of free allocation for energy intensive industries at risk of carbon leakage is made available, with the auction share being no higher than 52%.
  • No further burden is imposed on EU-ETS sectors, and the 43% reduction objective and 2.2% linear reduction factor for phase IV should not be increased further.
  • Support for innovation focus on energy intensive industries and is extended to cover the whole range of low carbon technologies, including industrial carbon capture and utilisation (CCU). The Innovation Fund should be fully financed from the auctioning share.

Regarding the current debate on the Import Inclusion Scheme, Koen Coppenholle, CEMBUREAU Chief Executive, clearly outlined why the sector does not believe the proposal put forward in ENVI is workable:

  • Introducing such a mechanism with a consequential loss of free allowances creates legal uncertainty and hampers further investments by the cement sector in Europe.
  • Impossibility of measuring CO2 performance of third country producers.
  • Overall lack of clarity as to how such a scheme would operate.
  • Serious concerns about WTO compatibility.
  • Application to a few sectors only leads to discrimination in the downstream market, where cement competes with other building materials that are not subject to such a scheme.
  • The suggested scheme leads to a competitive disadvantage for European cement producers on export markets, where local cement players are not subject to similar CO2 constraints.

The cement industry also took the opportunity to provide insight into some of the research projects being undertaken in the sector that aim to reduce emissions and improve environmental performance. As stated by CEMBUREAU President, Daniel Gauthier, “Europe is a frontrunner in research on the key breakthrough technology that can significantly reduce our process emissions and this is carbon capture whereby part of the research also focuses on CO2 reuse. The cement industry further directs its innovation efforts to the reduction of clinker content in cement and the development of new binders. Energy efficiency is a core area for innovation in the sector, with increasing replacement of primary fuels with alternative (waste) fuels and a strong emphasis on deploying the energy-efficient characteristics of concrete (thermal mass).”

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European cement news