Good climate for industry in Europe?
The European Commission is intent on limiting carbon dioxide emissions, diligently fulfilling the commitments resulting from the Kyoto Protocol and other conventions on climate protection. At the same time, it is striving to boost the importance of the European manufacturing industry. Are these two EU policy goals compatible?
Industry needs to grow
In the plans of the European Commission, the manufacturing industry’s contribution to GDP of the EU is to reach 20% by 2020! Simultaneously, Brussels is aiming at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 70% in comparison with figures from 1990. Up until now, the decrease is estimated to have reached 50%. However, further progress of emissions reduction might involve negative consequences for the EU industry.
Lowering prices helps win customers
Taking excessive measures to counter climate change and imposing yet more regulations on the EU enterprises might diminish the competitive edge of the European industry. Beyond doubt, care for the natural environment is a vital concern. We need to keep in mind, though, that the considerable price of modern and climate-friendly installations increases the cost of production in EU factories, which makes European businesess less competitive on the global market. This could bring about shrinking of job markets on the continent and closing down many industrial plants, which flies in the face of the implementation of another plan of the European Commission: boosting the importance of the industry.
We need to act together
The European Union sets an excellent example in the struggle towards clean environment, taking care of carbon dioxide emissions control, and increasing the share of renewable energy sources in energy production (in 2030, 27% of the energy produced in EU countries is to be “green”). It would be highly desirable to have other major players on the industrial market, the USA and China, to follow the EU’s example. If cooperation in this respect were feasible, we could develop industry, stimulate the global economy, while at the same time take care of sustainable development, the natural environment and climate protection.