Climate policy must not be tightened without a global treaty

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 13:19
The EU Commission is proposing the tightening of carbon emissions reduction targets to 40 per cent by 2030. The EU’s unilateral emissions restrictions will lead to a transfer of production from low-emissions Europe to areas with no emissions limits. This is a threat to European jobs and will increase global emissions.

Today, the European Commission published its climate and energy policy proposal for the period up to 2030. According to the Commission proposal, the EU must reduce its total emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 per cent before the year 2030.

In the EU the production of metals is already the most environmentally friendly in the world, and a 40 per cent emissions reduction is a technical and economic impossibility. According to an independent report, the EU steel industry is capable of reducing its carbon emissions by a maximum of 15 per cent by 2050.

In addition, the cost of emissions trading directly raises the price of electricity, which is already resulting in hundreds of millions of euros in additional annual costs for the Finnish export industry. For example, in the production of zinc, electricity already accounts for over 40 per cent of production costs. 

Finland should use the emissions trading compensation allowed by the EU quickly and in full. Decisions on compensation have already been made in Germany, Britain, Holland and Norway. Finland’s energy tax relief should also be developed in such a way that energy taxes for energy-intensive industries can be reduced to the minimum level allowed by the EU.

Unless the energy-intensive export industry is not compensated for the costs of climate policy, factories will close in Europe and countries with no emissions limits will grow. The consequence of the EU’s unilateral climate policy will then be the collapse of the already weak economic foundations of European welfare states, growing unemployment and an acceleration of the greenhouse effect. 

Additional information:
Mika Nykänen, Managing Director, Association of Finnish Steel and Metal Producers, tel. 040 825 7329
Martti Kätkä, group manager, Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, tel. 050 380 4496