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European steel to miss climate goals without technology shift
transition

European steel to miss climate goals without technology shift

14.09.2021
Sweden’s SSAB and Luxembourg's ArcelorMittal are the steelmakers most prepared for the transition
Production line at ArcelorMittal's Differdange plant in January
Production line at ArcelorMittal's Differdange plant in January
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Europe’s steel industry must shift to low-carbon technologies from coal-fired blast furnaces within 12 years to prevent global warming exceeding the targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change.

New or refurbished blast furnaces have a lifespan of as long as two decades, highlighting the risk of long-term climate impacts if the switch isn’t made by 2033, according to a report from research house Industry Tracker.¨

 By contrast, many of the region’s steelmakers lack long-term plans to reduce emissions, it said. 

The steel industry worldwide is responsible for about 7% of global carbon emissions. 

Without action, Europe’s steelmakers would exhaust their carbon budget - the amount they can emit before compromising Paris climate change goals - by 2035, Industry Tracker said. 

Industry Tracker said Sweden’s SSAB AB and Luxembourg's ArcelorMittal SA are the steelmakers most prepared for the transition due to their ability to deploy the necessary capital.

ArcelorMittal has for instance signed a memorandum of understanding with the Spanish government for a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) investment to build the world’s first large-scale zero-carbon steel plant.

The company's transition away from fossil fuels requires Europe's governments and others to create clean-energy infrastructure costing up to €165 billion or €200 billion, depending on the type of production technology deployed in the future, executives said on a conference call with reporters in 2020.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.