EU-ETS and Cement: Setting the Facts Straight
In a report published under the title “European Cement and Climate. A business risk analysis”, InfluenceMap negatively and inaccurately describes some of the advocacy activities of the European Cement organisation, CEMBUREAU. As an engaged stakeholder in the policy debate, CEMBUREAU provides facts, figures and information about the cement industry that gives policymakers an informed view. In its interaction with the European Commission, Council and European Parliament, CEMBUREAU found policymakers interested to learn about the efforts made by the industry to lower CO2 emissions, improve energy efficiency and, through its product, concrete, contribute to sustainable construction.
CEMBUREAU’s main arguments with regard to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme – which do not differ substantially from those of other energy-intensive industries – need to be framed:
• A global level playing field: climate change is a global challenge and needs to be tackled by comparable and equivalent measures by the major jurisdictions around the world, precisely to avoid global distortions of competition;
• The best performing plants in Europe (which is less than 5 % of the total under current EU-ETS) need to be rewarded for the efforts already undertaken and need a full protection against the risk of carbon leakage, as acknowledged by the Heads of State and Government in October 2014;
• A dynamic allocation system, so as to align allocation to production and thus avoid overallocation.
In relation to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), CEMBUREAU is in favour of a level playing field without subsidies distorting competition with alternative fuel use which currently accounts for 41 % of the cement industry’s fuel needs and represents an annual CO2 reduction of 18 Mt. This issue has been misunderstood by InfluenceMap, as they indicate only that CEMBUREAU criticised the RED.
InfluenceMap points to CEMBUREAU’s argument that there is little room for further energy efficiency improvement in the kilns, which is a true fact as our kilns are highly energy-efficient due to major investments over the past years that have almost eliminated wet kilns from the European cement landscape.
The Energy Efficiency package is also of major importance to the cement industry and more specifically for the contribution of its end-product, concrete, to building the sustainable houses, schools, hospitals and infrastructure of tomorrow. The thermal mass of concrete improves the energy efficiency of buildings and provides a stable indoor temperature. A recent study carried out by The Concrete Initiative demonstrates that the thermal mass of concrete in buildings can maximise the use of renewable energy. This can result in up to a 25 % CO2 reduction per dwelling, up to 50 % reduction in the need for peak electricity supply capacity and savings of up to EUR 300 per household per year. In addition, as CEMBUREAU stated in its Roadmap, up to 25 % of the CO2 originally emitted can be re-absorbed over the lifetime of a building, a fact that was recently confirmed in a scientific article.
The European cement industry remains a committed and proactive partner in the discussion on how to ensure EU legislation which, on the one hand, encourages emissions reductions in the cement sector, whilst at the same time prevents carbon leakage.