Europe needs industry to deliver climate solutions, says ExxonMobil

Europe needs industry to deliver climate solutions, says ExxonMobil

Policy plays a key role in making Europe attractive for the projects and technologies needed to help advance the energy transition

  • By ICN Bureau | March 19, 2024

ExxonMobil plans to spend US$20 billion globally on lower-emission investments from 2022 through 2027, but unless policies change, it will be difficult to spend part of those funds in Europe, the energy giant said in a press release.

Philippe Ducom, President, ExxonMobil Europe, says that ExxonMobil help Europe achieve its net zero ambitions. “But unless governments make industrial competitiveness central to the next EU institutional cycle, the future of European industry – and the Green Deal – is at risk,” Ducom said adding that expensive energy and labor, coupled with regulatory burdens, negatively impact the EU and its ability to attract the investments needed for the energy transition.

Ducom, on behalf of ExxonMobil, recently signed the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal, which calls for clarity, predictability and confidence in Europe and its industrial policy.

He opined that ExxonMobil prioritizes regions with clear and long-term policies that support competitive returns. “Unfortunately, Europe's current policy landscape doesn’t facilitate innovative projects. Regulations change, environmental targets are accelerated, and taxes are increased retroactively.”

According to the release, ExxonMobil isn’t the only ones who are concerned. According to a recent European Roundtable for Industry survey, 84% of company leaders believe Europe’s competitiveness is weakening.

“At our Antwerp facility, we’d like to build an advanced recycling unit, which would turn hard-to-recycle plastics into new and valuable products – key in helping Europe meet its circularity goals. But it is challenging to obtain the necessary permits,” he informed adding that we want to invest in advanced recycling in Europe, but it must make business sense.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said it himself: ‘’we need our industry for their innovation capacity to come up with tomorrow’s climate solutions. That is why Europe should not only be a continent of industrial innovation but should remain a continent of industrial production.”

Ducom urged governments and industry stakeholders to unite, listen to the concerns of companies like ours and establish a policy framework that nurtures innovation, drives investment and secures the long-term competitiveness of European industries.

“We’ve already seen signs of deindustrialization in Europe – plants are running at reduced rates and sites are being closed. The time to act is now.”

As Europe sets its strategic agenda for the next five years, it must make clear that decarbonization through deindustrialization is unsustainable – for the climate, our citizens and our companies.

Together, we can surmount the challenges ahead and pave the way for a more sustainable future in Europe, he added.

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