(Bloomberg) -- Hydrogen as a fuel for industry and recycling for products of all kinds will get a boost in the European Union’s industrial strategy, which officials plan to release in March.
The measures under review by the European Commission and are part of President Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal to slash fossil-fuel emissions and meet climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
Billed as an industrial strategy, the package of initiatives is aimed at prodding industry and consumers to embrace products and systems that are easier on the environment. The commission is targeting March 8 for release of the program.
Manufacturers across the region are one of the main groups being asked to cut back emissions and contribute to the EU goal of zeroing out greenhouse-gas pollution by 2050, according to a draft of the program seen by Bloomberg News.
“The EU industry has the opportunity to become a trend-setter in the area of circular economy and clean technologies,” the European Commission said in the document. “Industry will in this way support the EU economy’s push towards sustainable economic growth.”
The measures will also promote the growth of clean technologies, spur more sustainable products and strengthen the case for electric vehicles and other low-pollution means of transport, the document showed.
Von der Leyen has put at the heart of her agenda the Green Deal, a far-reaching strategy that will affect everything from energy to agriculture and transport. She wants tighter climate targets that will show the EU is acting on pollution ahead of other major emitters, and responding to pressure from environmental and student groups.
The new “assertive” industrial strategy maps out the journey for the EU to embrace new technology that injects digital systems into more parts of the economy. The commission wants the region to improve the way it spurs innovation while maintaining trade competitiveness with nations outside the bloc.
“This will require important efforts to transform the industrial production, foster new lead markets for climate neutral and circular products in the EU and beyond, and step up investments in research, innovation and up-to-date infrastructure,” the commission said in the draft document. “Industry will also increase transparency towards consumers about carbon and environmental footprints of products and services so that they can make informed choices.”
The commission has a policy of not commenting on draft documents. Here are some steps planned by the EU regulatory arm under the strategy:
- New Circular Economy Action Plan: also due to be unveiled on March 8, it’s set to include new design requirements for sustainable products and possibly a new regulation for such goods or revision of eco-design and energy labeling.
- Buildings: planned revision of regulation on construction products, use of standards to foster higher-quality products and buildings and leveraging EU funds to finance renovation.
- Decarbonization of energy-intensive industries: launching a potential alliance with member states and industry to help development of clean hydrogen and low-carbon technologies. A public-private partnership would demonstrate breakthrough technologies for clean steel.
- Infrastructure: Strategic low-carbon plan mapping infrastructure needs for the next decade.
- Energy: Stepping up efforts to deploy renewable energy sources and innovative clean technologies, including improving sustainable financing conditions at the level of the EU and member states.
- Transport: Adoption of a strategy to support smart and clean mobility.
To help finance the shift, the EU plans to increase in its next budget for 2021-2027 spending on research and innovation, digital transformation and transition to the green economy. Key cross-border projects may get EU financing under special investment programs.
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