The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) calls on the Commission to reflect in more depth on policy options that help both to reduce greenhouse gases, thus fighting climate change, and to maintain competitiveness. The goal must be to better protect and promote the EU's resource and energy-intensive industries (REII), otherwise Europe runs the risk of losing jobs to less clean economies and missing its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"The current Emissions Trading System (ETS) aimed at encouraging investment falls short, since its application worldwide is not in reach for the time being. If it is only applied in Europe, it brings the risk of carbon leakage and consequently investment leakage", warned Aurel Laurenţiu Plosceanu, rapporteur for the EESC's opinion on The sectoral industrial perspective of reconciling climate and energy policies, adopted on 17 July. "Future investment by the EU and the Member States should be concentrated on RDI and the deployment of low to zero-carbon technologies for both the REIIs and the necessary electric power generation. Another focus must be on education and training of their workforce", added co-rapporteur Enrico Gibellieri.
Since energy costs in for instance the steel, aluminium and glass industries represent around 25% of total costs, the costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are also high. With the ETS in place, European products will become more expensive and run the risk of being replaced by cheaper products on the international market. (sma)