Greenhouse gas threat to Europe

Published: March 8, 2011

Businesses will suffer from proposed emission reductions, conference is told.

European businesses will suffer compared to their US and Eastern competitors if proposed increases to emission cuts are enforced, an industry expert has warned.

Markus Weber, head of natural gas and emissions trading at German materials and technology group Thyssenkrupp, told the Carbon Market Insights conference in Amsterdam that the call by several Northern European countries to raise national greenhouse gas emission cut targets to 30% from 20% by 2020 will hinder the efforts of energy-intensive companies such as Thyssenkrupp to remain competitive.

“What is important to us is that we have comparable costs and conditions with major steel producing countries,” Weber said, adding that competitors in China, for example, will not face the same cut targets.  “So Chinese steel producers are competing with us and their costs are not comparable with ours. It’s the same for the US’ steel businesses.”

The danger, Weber adds, is that companies move local production to countries with less strenuous emission policies, which destroys the point of the emission cuts targets: “The relocation of production into other countries is not at all an effective or efficient climate policy. On a global level the emissions remain the same.”