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"Global leadership in climate protection is possible"


14 Jul 2021


Climate & Environment

Brussels/Frankfurt, 14 July 2021 – VDMA President Karl Haeusgen comments on the EU Commission's "Fit for 55" package and its climate protection measures:

"After discussing climate targets in recent years, the European Union is finally focusing on concrete measures with the 'Fit for 55' concept. Only if the political course is set correctly and market-based measures are given preference over small-scale regulation can Europe achieve its higher climate targets and take on a pioneering role in climate protection worldwide. The proposed strengthening of emissions trading and the inclusion of a CO2 price component in the energy taxation directive are steps in the right direction.

As a provider of technical solutions, the mechanical and plant engineering sector plays an outstanding role on the road to achieving the climate targets: according to a study by the VDMA and the Boston Consulting Group, mechanical engineering technologies can avoid up to 86 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors. In order to raise this potential, there must be a consistent focus on innovation instead of bureaucracy - the guiding principle must be the mobilisation of market forces via CO2 pricing.

Unfortunately, the package also contains proposals that hinder rather than promote the spread of climate technologies. VDMA is particularly concerned about the plans to introduce a carbon border mechanism. The competitiveness of the mechanical engineering industry, and thus also the potential to further develop and market climate technologies, depends on functioning exports. There are major doubts about the compatibility of the proposed border adjustment mechanism with WTO law. Trade retaliation by other states will be the consequence and could severely affect the competitiveness of European mechanical engineering. This would be counterproductive! What is needed is a 'climate club' of states with a common minimum CO2 price and, if possible, equal regulation instead of tariff disputes - this must be the goal of politics until the climate summit in Glasgow.

How 'fit for 55' Europe really turns out depends to a large extent on how the concept is interlinked with the national efforts of the Member States. Only if the toolboxes of the Commission and the national states mesh perfectly will the highly ambitious climate targets be achievable.”