The European Union Carbon Border Regulation Mechanism (CBAM) began trial operation on October 1st, with a transitional period until the end of 2025 and gradually fully implemented from 2026 to 2034. At this point, the EU has become the world's first economy to impose a "carbon tariff".
This also means that high carbon emissions from any link in the supply chain will lead to higher carbon control costs for exported products.
At present, only two chemical products, fertilizers and hydrogen, are included in the scope of EU carbon tariffs in China. Recently, at the China Chemical Green and Sustainable Development Conference hosted by the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation and the China Chemical Environmental Protection Association, Li Shousheng, President of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, told our reporter, Among them, China's fertilizers are mainly exported to Southeast Asia, with a small export volume to the European Union. Our hydrogen export volume is smaller, so in the short term, the EU carbon tariffs will have little impact on China's chemical products. However, in the future, it is highly likely to include organic chemicals and plastics in the collection scope, which will inevitably have a significant impact on the chemical industry
It is understood that China is a major producer and consumer of petroleum and chemical products in the world, but "large but not strong" is still the current situation faced by China's petroleum and chemical industry. Currently, the overall level of green development in China is not high enough, the foundation is relatively weak, and the industrial structure is still characterized by high energy consumption and high carbon emissions. The problems that restrict the safe, green, and low-carbon development of China's petroleum and chemical industry are still prominent.
On the one hand, the structural contradictions of products in China's chemical industry are still prominent. Industrial institutions mainly rely on bulk basic chemicals, with a high proportion of high energy consuming products. Many bulk basic products, such as soda ash, caustic soda, calcium carbide, coke, synthetic ammonia, urea, as well as general synthetic materials such as polyvinyl chloride and polypropylene, as well as organic silicon monomers, use fossil resources as raw materials, with high material consumption and emissions, are the world's largest production capacity On the other hand, the structural contradiction of limited high-end products in China is also very prominent, "Li Shousheng said
However, China's production capacity and output of over 20 types of bulk basic chemical products have been ranked first in the world for many years. High performance materials such as high-end polyolefins, high-strength and high modulus carbon fibers, high-end electronic chemicals, high-end membrane materials, and high-purity reagents, as well as high-end fields, have been dependent on imports for many years. The shortcomings of low-end surplus, high-end shortage, and weak innovation are becoming increasingly apparent, which are the biggest shortcomings and constraints for high-quality development and achieving the goal of becoming a petrochemical powerhouse.
Against this backdrop, there are over 3000 enterprises in China's petrochemical industry with energy consumption exceeding 10000 tons of standard coal, forming a large number of high energy consumption and high carbon emissions inventory devices and assets. In 2020, the total energy consumption of China's petrochemical and chemical industry was 685 million tons of standard coal, and the total carbon emissions were about 1.384 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, accounting for approximately 13% of the total industrial emissions.
The carbon peaking and carbon neutrality strategy has put forward higher requirements for the petrochemical industry. In the coming years, the petrochemical industry objectively needs to have a certain amount of carbon emissions growth. The country has made it clear that the petroleum and chemical industries need to achieve carbon peaking by 2030, and the industry is facing great pressure of low-carbon development. Major carbon reduction, zero carbon, and negative carbon technology innovation needs to be strengthened, and basic capabilities such as carbon emission monitoring, accounting, and verification need to be built
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