Steel companies say carbon credit ‘surplus’ claims unfair

This report from Carbon Market Data seems to ignore last year’s recession as well as the waste gas recycling issue. Steel production fell massively, and is now picking up again.

SBB 11 June 2010 Figures suggesting European steelmakers have received surplus carbon credits are unrepresentative, Eurofer tells Steel Business Briefing. ArcelorMittal, Corus and ThyssenKrupp received the most unused carbon credits under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) in 2009 according to a Carbon Market Data report.

In phase II (2008-2012) of the ETS, steel companies receive free EUAs. Plummeting steel production in 2009 meant that allowances were more than sufficient to account for carbon dioxide emissions.

ArcelorMittal received 43 million European Union Allowances (EUAs) in 2009, which it did not redeem. At a price of €15.6 ($18.8) per credit (see related article) these have a market value of around €670.4m. Corus received 13m unused EUAs while ThyssenKrupp received 11m.

However, a ‘huge part’ of the unused credits are due to the recycling of waste gases, Eurofer spokesman, Axel Eggert, tells SBB. Some steel mills capture waste gases for use in power generation and some steel plants give EUAs to associated power plants to cover emissions generated by the process. These EUAs appear as unused in the report, although they are no longer held by the steel plants. One major steel producer says up to half of his ‘surplus’ EUAs in 2009 were actually held by power plants.

The producer also said it ‘made no sense to tax best-practice’, arguing that Europe’s steelmakers are among the greenest. ArcelorMittal has plans to cut CO2 emissions per tonne of steel by 8% by 2020, while Corus says it will emit less than 1.7 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel by 2012, SBB notes.


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