It is understandable that companies in the energy-intensive industry are initially not excellent friends of the CO2 price. The provision of process heat and the supply of electricity are largely based on coal and natural gas with their respective CO2 footprints. However, the main reason for the rejection of CO2 pricing on the part of industry is that the climate stabilization measure does not affect all market participants in our globalized world equally, but is limited to European companies. However, I think it is exaggerated to put the worry about deindustrialization in Germany on the introduction of a CO2 price. In the dystopian case, the CO2 price is one of several points that puts heavy industry in Germany to the test at the beginning of the 21st century.
When assessing the impact of a CO2 price on industry, three aspects should not be neglected.
First, the industry can take adaptation measures. When switching to CO2-neutral energy systems, many doors are open to the creativity of companies during the 4th industrial revolution. Innovative adjustments can quickly reduce the costs of the CO2 levy. This goes so far that the energy costs after the adjustment can even be lower than at the moment, since the renewables, once installed, have very low marginal costs. However, this open heart surgery requires extensive investments. Investments that need to be supported by close and trusting cooperation with politicians. The industries need stable framework conditions in order to plan the restructuring for the world of tomorrow. New goals or technologies must not be specified here every five years. In addition, the legal framework must be coordinated and should mesh like in a planetary gear. Only then can investment security be achieved for the switch to climate-friendly energy sources and the protection of jobs in industry. Admittedly, it is easier to formulate such an honorable goal in an article than to actually enforce it in the specialist committees and readings of the Bundestag and Council.
Second: carbon leakage protection. If the going gets tough and reality shows that a low CO2 price affects the international competitiveness of European and German industry, politicians have announced that they will help. The EU commissioner for climate protection, Frans Timmermanns, only assured at the beginning of the year (2020) that there will be a CO2 border adjustment for carbon leakage protection of the European industry if the international competitors refrain from CO2 pricing. At this point, too, it must unfortunately be said that the implementation of the CO2 border adjustment on imports and exports will be a great challenge in practice and the bureaucracy on this already complex topic will continue to grow