An inquiry into “Green Steel” has been launched in response to warnings the sector requires an overhaul if it is to succeed while meeting government climate change goals.
The UK steel industry was responsible for producing up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – including indirect emissions from power production – in 2019.
This production accounted for 11.5% of UK industrial emissions and 2.7% of all Britain’s greenhouse gases.
Senior industry figures say investment into greener technologies to boost production will help manufacturers fight global warming – rather than fuelling climate change.
The Commons Environmental Audit Committee has said it will investigate the findings.
It said: “Steel is a crucial material for the UK’s low carbon aspirations: it is an essential component of wind turbines to electric vehicles”
“However, the steelmaking process itself produces significant greenhouse gas emissions, with the production of a tonne of steel generating almost two tonnes of CO2 emissions.”
Chairman Philip Dunne said the “decision point for investment to renew the UK’s steel installations is fast approaching, without a clear lead from the Government on the technology to adopt”.
He added: “We will be exploring the technological innovations available to make the steel sector more environmentally friendly.
“Decarbonisation of the sector is a real test of the Government’s mettle and the ingenuity and ambition of UK industry.
“Successful use of technological advances to green the industry will make a substantial contribution to the goal of net-zero Britain.”
UK Steel director-general Gareth Stace welcomed the inquiry, saying: “Without a strong homegrown British steel sector, we can never credibly call ourselves a net zero economy – we would simply be pushing our environmental obligations off onto other nations.
“That is not sustainable and surely not part of this Government’s plan.
“Steel is not just a historic industry that built and maintains communities, it is the bedrock of our industrial future, as much as it is a link to our past.”
Structural Fabrications supports the inquiry and believes a strong decarbonisation strategy will help protect jobs, support employment and the continued future of businesses in the UK steel sector.
We believe it is essential that the industry, which employs more than 70,000 people nationally, is supported by the Government to help work towards a low-carbon future.
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