The steel industry faces a major existential threat as climate change targets are outlined: how to “green” steelmaking.
Britain’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 has raised the stakes for the industry and the 33,000 people it employs, according to an article from the Financial Times.
In the UK, steel is the biggest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide. The Climate Change Committee, the government’s independent advisory group, has suggested steel production needs to be “near-zero” emissions by 2035 — an ambitious target.
In the UK, steel producers have battled for years to stay competitive against lower-cost international competition and global oversupply.
Now they face the additional burden of cleaning up carbon emissions, with huge potential costs that cannot be met by industry alone.
BEIS, the UK business department, said it was “working closely” with the steel sector to support its transition to a low-carbon future.
It said its new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published in March, committed the government to consider the implications for the sector.
Officials also stress that the government has launched a number of initiatives, including a £315m Industrial Transformation Fund to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and a £250m Clean Steel Fund to help companies switch to low-carbon steel production, although the latter will not start disbursing funds until 2023.
The government is also consulting on new procurement rules that could benefit domestic producers. The merits of a carbon border tax are also being debated.
Many executives in the steel industry, however, believe the right policy framework is still missing.
Gareth Stace, director-general of trade body UK Steel, said that Boris Johnson’s government was “more engaged” with the sector than previous ones and welcomed the decision by Kwarteng to reform the UK Steel Council this year. However, none of the initiatives announced so far “add up to a comprehensive strategy”, he added.
Read the full report from Financial TImes at: https://www.ft.com/content/3c758f10-2c44-4616-b73c-d4116946f287
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