EU steel industry opposes higher CO2 reduction targets

Part of the continuous argument over carbon leakage – will it or will it not seriously impact the European steel industry? There is no evidence either way at this stage, as the European Trading System for CO2 emissions has only just started to bite. The steelmakers can play on the fear of job losses, whilst the environmentalists can play on lack of information.

SBB 26 May European steel producers’ federation Eurofer and the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) are jointly opposing moves by the Commission to impose a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

The commission is launching a feasibility study on the proposal today, Steel Business Briefing understands. In the absence of comparable measures being adopted in other countries, such an initiative could force cuts in production and jobs in European industry, the two steel industry federations claim.

“Globally traded carbon-intensive goods, such as steel, need to be treated with equal measures in both developed and emerging economies to preserve the competitiveness of our industry,” argues Gordon Moffat, director general of Eurofer.

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace, meanwhile, argues there is no empirical evidence that more ambitious climate change policies would result in mass relocation of industry outside of the EU.

However, the group recognises the proposed change could possibly impact a “small number of sectors” with “internationally mobile plants”, which could include steel. Steel is also listed as one of 23 industries which could experience a “non-negligible” cost impact (over 1% of production costs) from higher CO2 reduction targets.


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