Achieving Climate Neutrality Requires A System Change


Cefic identifies that an overhaul of the current legislative and policy framework is needed to meet the climate-neutrality challenge and the huge societal transformation that it requires.

In March this year, the European Commission presented its proposal for the first  EU-wide climate law. The law, once finalised, intends to enshrine the EU objective of climate neutrality by 2050 in legislation. Cefic supports the European Green Deal and Europe’s ambition to become climate neutral by 2050. As recognised in the European Green Deal Communication, energy-intensive industries, such as chemicals, are indispensable to Europe’s economy, as they supply key value chains.


‘The Commission’s draft Climate Law clearly defines the ‘what and why’, it’s now essential to lay out a path how Europe can become climate neutral by 2050. We need a plan to stimulate the investments required to deliver the Green Deal objectives. The Commission’s Next Generation Recovery Plan is the first step in this direction’ said Cefic Executive Director for Climate Change and Energy, Charles-Henri Robert

Cefic identifies an overhaul of the current legislative and policy framework is needed to meet Europe’s climate-neutrality ambition and achieve the huge societal transformation required.

Charles-Henri Robert added, ‘The updated framework should look towards society at large and recognise the complexity and interlinkage between sectors of the economy.’

Cefic considers the following conditions essential for the chemical industry’s profound transformation:

  • A sound and detailed definition of climate neutrality which provides a signal for long-term investments
    The path to climate-neutrality must be based on a detailed definition; one which unites and strengthens European national actions and sets out clear rules and mechanisms for operating, including transborder greenhouse gas (GHG) projects for reduction accounting. The EU strives to be climate neutral but not in isolation from the rest of world.
  • All sectors of the economy need to be on board to reach climate neutrality.
    While managing the different global speeds of emission reductions, different sectors of the economy also reduce emissions at different rates. As the chemical sector is linked to many other sectors, it will require integrated efforts to further reduce GHG emissions, notably linked to the energy sector. Achieving climate neutrality must, therefore, be delivered through close collaboration across all the sectors of the economy.
  • An enabling framework will be the key to success
    Energy-intensive industries have called for a Clean Industry Package with concrete actions based on three pillars: the creation of markets for climate-neutral, circular economy products; developing climate-neutral solutions and financing their uptake; and the deployment of the necessary resources. To achieve the transition, our industry will need abundant supplies of low-carbon energy and much more energy than today. The EU Industrial Strategy package should lay the foundations to deploy radical industrial policies to accelerate Europe’s industrial transformation. Moreover, while preserving intra-EU competition, EU policies should also equip European industry to compete on a global scale.

Charles-Henri Robert: ‘We are dealing with an enormous and costly challenge that requires a revolution of our industry and infrastructure as we know it. To turn our ambition into reality and trigger the much-needed investments, Climate Law must start by adapting the legal and policy framework to support climate-friendly materials and their transition across Europe, led by the framework of a radical industrial strategy.’


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