Will environment be forgotten in crisis? OMV says no.

October 22, 2008

wolfgang_ruttenstorfer.jpgThere are some who say the economic downturn means ambitious plans to fight global warming should be put on ice.

But Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, the head of Austrian oil and gas group OMV, reckons cutting carbon emissions is inevitable in the long run, despite the financial crisis and its impact. 

“I think the price signals of the last two years will not be forgotten by consumers and politicians and therefore the thrust towards renewables will continue, maybe at a slightly slower pace,” he told the Reuters Central European Investment Summit. 

For some, going green is a luxury in harder economic times: Poland and Italy aren’t too happy about European Union legislation to fight climate change and say it could hurt their
economies at a time of slower growth.

The EU has stressed that climate plans will be affordable but as the worst financial crisis in 80 years continues to unfold there are doubts over whether there will be enough money or willpower to invest in cleaner energies.

“We stay committed,” Ruttenstorfer says. “We have our future energy fund and we will continue to work on this and definitely not put it on the shelf.”

OMV has been aiming to make its refining more environmentally-sound, to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and is participating in pilot carbon capture projects. Cleaner gas-fired power plants are also seen as a good option by the company.

“In the medium and long-term, this (environmental) situation will not go away,” Ruttenstorfer says.

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