The Austrian Federal Government has set ambitious climate protection targets. Austria is to become climate neutral by 2040. In the short term, Austria is also focusing on a large climate investment package with a volume of one billion euros in each of 2021 and 2022. Taking into account the high level of ambition of the overall economic target as well as the relatively high share of the industrial sector of about 35% of the current total emissions, it is clear that the industrial sector must be an important focus of the intensive efforts to reduce emissions. In this context, the focus is again on energy- and emissions-intensive industry, as it is ultimately a few industries that dominate the energy demand and emissions of the industrial sector. In the context of these interrelationships, an agreement has been concluded between the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) as well as eleven companies in the energy- and emission-intensive industry. Within the framework of this agreement, a participatory process is to be initiated that focuses on the transformation processes of this industry towards greenhouse gas neutrality and develops concepts for action. This participatory process is to take the form of a structured dialogue and be carried out by September 2021.
The process pursues several goals: on the one hand, a common understanding between BMK and industrial companies regarding the possible path of Austria’s energy-intensive industries towards greenhouse gas neutrality is to be developed. In addition, the status quo is to be documented, technical decarbonisation options are to be discussed, and these options are to be compared with the necessary economic and political framework conditions at national and EU level. This should then result in action concepts that are as concrete as possible, which can be used for the further political process, if possible for the formulation of concrete policy measures.