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Innovation and market forces instead of regulation and tax money


16 Sep 2020



– Commenting on the new EU climate targets announced today by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the EU Commission, Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of VDMA, says:

"Efforts for climate protection must be increased. This message is also addressed to European politics and the EU Member States, which must finally create the right framework and eliminate contradictions. Those who call for more climate protection must make it possible for innovations to be used worldwide. The Mechanical engineering industry offers technical solutions that can avoid around two thirds of emissions in the long term and globally. We must finally drive forward the avoidance of greenhouse gases on a cross-sectoral and technology-neutral basis worldwide.

However, the increase in the greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 to 55 percent announced today by President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech reveals considerable weaknesses in climate policy. Firstly, by fixing target dates, we are getting in our own way. It will still take about two years before a new target is incorporated into law. The concrete design of the necessary guidelines for renewable energies, energy efficiency or even reform of emissions trading will only follow afterwards. For many sectors, however, this is too late, because the lead time until 2030 is simply too short. Investment cycles, approval periods, technological maturity: major steps need realistic lead times or must be described as a process rather than a target.

Secondly, it is clear that the EU does not trust its own instruments The Commission should trust the market and introduce a consistent pricing of CO2. Then detailed regulation of emissions in individual sectors would also be superfluous. CO2 would be avoided where it is cheapest. This is the order of the day, especially in difficult economic times. 

Thirdly, there is a lack of linkage with international climate policy, for example via market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is where a successful outcome of the negotiations is urgently needed, and where creditability for European industry with a view to 2030 must be integrated.”

A photo of Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of VDMA, can be found here.

The VDMA represents around 3300 German and European companies in the mechanical engineering industry. The industry represents innovation, export orientation, medium-sized companies and employs around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany.

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