Building blocks for a climate-neutral European industrial sector

The science is clear: global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic impacts. The Paris Agreement recognises the 1.5°C-limit as well. The production of basic materials –cement, iron and steel, paper, aluminium, as well as chemicals and petrochemicals – is one of the main contributors to climate change, accounting for approximately 25% of global CO2 emissions, and around 16% of EU GHG emissions. The evolution of European industry toward climate neutrality is at the centre of current EU-level policy discussions. It is part of the European Green Deal proposed by incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and appears in similar industrial strategy discussions in Member States such as Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Germany and France. Scenarios from climate scientists, governments and industry consistently show that it is possible: the clean production, efficient use and recycling of basic materials can together contribute to climate neutrality. Meanwhile, companies in the European materials sector are increasingly committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.