The chief executive of BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker by sales, has warned the European Union that it risks undermining the continent’s industrial competitiveness if it tampers with the emissions trading scheme.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Kurt Bock, who took over as chief executive last year, cautioned that “any artificial [energy] cost increase goes against our global competitiveness”.
A price collapse in the emissions trading system has prompted some member countries to lobby for measures such as limiting the supply of carbon allowances traded, or stiffening the EU’s 2020 target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels.
Such steps would probably raise the price of the permits that heavy energy users such as chemical companies sometimes have to buy to meet targets on pollutants.
Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner, last week said she would bring forward a review of the trading system, due next year, a move her counterpart in coal-reliant Poland said could bankrupt Polish companies.
Mr Bock, said: “We’ve made our peace with the [existing] carbon framework…The discussion that is a little bit frustrating right now is the one about turning the screws on us.
“Suggestions to increase the target from 20 to 30 per cent or to reduce the number of certificates I think at this point in time are unnecessary. It’s breaking a contract that has been made and it will impair competitiveness,” he added.