22 May 2020, 14:11
Benjamin Wehrmann

Energy-intensive industry warns against additional burdens from short-term coronavirus recovery measures

Clean Energy Wire / Die Welt

Energy-intensive industry groups short-term measures for economic recovery from the corona crisis should aim to avoid additional burdens on energy-intensive industry from energy and climate policy legislation. In an open letter to the government, an energy-intensive industry alliance EID said that while sustainability aims could be "one element" of long-term investment programmes, these should be "no substitute for a swift reset," the companies said. The companies added that parallel expenses due to emissions trading and carbon pricing would severely damage their liquidity, arguing that the planned carbon pricing scheme for transport and heating should only take effect if companies are legally shielded from double taxation.

"Energy costs could become the industry's biggest stress factors," said Wolfgang Große Entrup, head of the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI), told newspaper Die Welt. He called emissions reduction policies like emissions trading, the renewables surcharge or the coal exit a "sword of Damocles" already looming over the companies, which is why a further tightening of regulations would hit them particularly hard.The companies also warn that the EU's planned Green Deal could be mistimed, given existing challenges due to the coronavirus crisis. "It's questionable whether the Green Deal in its current form is conducive to economic recovery and climate action," the companies said, calling for developing the European investment programme into a "Sustainable Future Deal" that better integrates industry needs.

Activists, environmental think tanks and others see an opportunity to reset the economy on a more climate-friendly path with long-term "green stimulus packages" and warn against making climate policy a lower priority in Germany and across Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week said green recovery will be a key principle in Germany's and France's bid to address the economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic, proposing a fund worth 500 billion euros for economic recovery modelled on the EU's Green Deal.

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