In an open letter, Bellona Germany, Heidelberg-Cement, General Electric, the Federal Association of the German Lime Industry and the German Cement Works Association, among others, call on the Dutch, Belgian and German governments to work better and stronger together to make heavy industry more climate-friendly. “Cross-border infrastructure is essential to achieve climate goals,” says this particular coalition of regional actors. In particular, it stresses the need for a shared vision for the capture and permanent storage of CO2 emissions.
No less than 18% of Europe’s emissions come from the production of basic materials such as cement, steel and chemicals. A large part of the production of these materials takes place in the industrial area that stretches across the Netherlands, Belgium and North Rhine-Westphalia. The integrated sites directly and indirectly guarantee millions of jobs and produce products that are key building blocks for achieving the green transformation, such as steel and concrete for building wind turbines. To fulfil their societal role and combat climate change, these companies must align themselves with European climate targets. At the same time, European and national governments must provide industry with the infrastructure necessary for the transformation.
Only effective with a mix of measures
NGOs, companies and government agencies are aware that there is no magic bullet to drastically reduce industrial emissions in the coming decades. Instead, a mix of measures will be needed.
“We need to focus on energy efficiency, circularity, industrial electrification with renewable energy from solar and wind, and carbon capture and storage,” says Erika Bellmann, Head of Bellona Germany. “An effective future plan for the industry requires action in all these areas, coupled with a financial strategy and the provision of the necessary infrastructure.”
Role for CO2 capture and permanent storage
The switch to green technologies is not always feasible for all industries. That is why the capture and storage of CO2 emissions is also necessary, say the signatories of the letter. The captured CO2 will then be permanently stored in suitable geological formations in the North Sea.
“The way forward for the lime industry is clear: our energy consumption will come from renewable sources. This will reduce one third of our emissions. The remaining two thirds come from the limestone itself, so CCS remains the only option to achieve our climate targets,” explains Philip Nuyken, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the German Lime Industry Association.
“This requires a cross-border transport infrastructure (pipelines, ships, trucks, trains), in all countries involved and a storage infrastructure in the Netherlands. It is crucial that Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany jointly develop a vision and a roadmap for this,” says Erika Bellmann, Head of Bellona Germany.
In addition to the development of a concrete plan, the signatories also call for the removal of obstacles in legislation, the targeted promotion of climate initiatives and networking with other industrial areas in the interior of Germany and France.
The open letter is supported by: Aramis, Bellona Europa, Bellona Deutschland, Benelux Business Roundtable, Carbon Collectors, Clean Air Task Force, Energie Beheer Nederland, Fluxys, Gasunie, General Electric, HeidelbergCement, Holcim Belgium NV, Bundesverband der Deutschen Kalk-industrie, Lhoist, Natuur & Milieu, Natuur en Milieu Federatie Zuid-Holland, North Sea Port, Port of Antwerp, Port of Rotterdam, Porthos, Shell, Smart Delta Resources, TotalEnergies, Victrol and Verein Deutscher Zementwerke (VDZ).