On 16 March 2023, the European Union presented the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), an ambitious plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of European industry to zero by 2050. It is part of the €250 billion Green Deal Industrial Plan, which aims to provide clear direction to European industry for the transition to a low-carbon economy and promote technological innovation to tackle the global climate crisis.

The NZIA will strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of zero-emission technology products in the EU and make our energy system more secure and sustainable. It will create better conditions for implementing zero-emission projects in Europe and attracting investment, with the goal that the Union’s overall strategic zero-emission technology production capacity will approach or reach at least 40 per cent of the Union’s needs by 2030. 

This will speed up progress towards the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets and the transition to climate neutrality, while stimulating the competitiveness of European industry, creating quality jobs and supporting the EU’s efforts to become energy independent.

The NZIA addresses the whole of European industry, including sectors such as energy, manufacturing, materials production, and chemicals. The plan envisages the adoption of advanced and innovative technologies to reduce the environmental impact of European industry, such as carbon capture and storage, green hydrogen, and electrification of industrial plants.

The Net-Zero Industry Act also foresees the establishment of a Sustainable Industry Fund, an investment of more than EUR 10 billion to finance research and development of low-carbon technologies. In addition, the EU will commit to providing financial and technical support to member states to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy by providing a range of incentives for companies that adopt sustainable practices, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using renewable energy sources.

The plan’s targets focus on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of European industry to zero by 2050, but there are also short and medium-term intermediate targets. The EU plans to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The European Net Zero Industry Act is an ambitious project involving several MEPs committed to the fight against climate change. Among them is the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Pascal Canfin, Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland and Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp.

Among the measures proposed by the NZIA is the introduction of an emissions trading scheme for European industry, which includes the gradual reduction of available allowances and an increase in greenhouse gas emission fees. The plan includes investment in solar and wind energy, and the implementation of stricter environmental standards for the industry.

The NZIA is an important step in the fight against climate change and aims to ensure a transition to a more sustainable and green economy. The commitment of the MEPs involved in the project demonstrates Europe’s willingness to take a leadership role in the fight against climate change and to ensure a sustainable future for future generations.

To learn more, the official documents of the European Commission on the NZIA are available on the official portal, at the following link.

Article by Samuele Giovanardi Fiorucci, Italian Climate Network Volunteer

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