BASF CEO challenges environmental policy

June 27, 2007 at 10:04 PM
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BERLIN, June 27 (UPI) -- Chemical giant BASF leader Jurgen Hambrecht says he is skeptical about Germany's energy productivity goals as outlined by Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Hambrecht, chief executive officer of the largest chemical company in the world, said in an interview with Der Spiegel, to compete internationally, a corporation must constantly change in three areas: economic efficiency, social sustainability and environmental protection.

While the three conflict, "I cannot reach the other objectives without economic success," he said.

Among the changes Gabriel seeks is an increase in annual growth in energy productivity from 1 percent to 3 percent. Hambrecht said coalition agreement called for doubling energy productivity in Germany from 1990 to 2020. "In reality ... it has only grown by 0.9 percent per year in recent," he said. "This means that we would need 3 percent to reach the target, which is completely unrealistic."

Realistic environmental goals would be ones that are "doable without harming the economy. Otherwise we will be solving supposed problems by de-industrializing Germany," Hambrecht said.

Most of all, "We need a global approach," he said. "Everyone has to participate, including the United States and the developing nations. The atmosphere doesn't care where greenhouse gases come from."

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