The European Steel Association (EUROFER) believes that the European Commission's long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions strategy, launched today, requires a more detailed assessment of its implications.
According to Axel Eggert, EUROFER's director-general, “The document describes different scenarios, the implications of which will require in-depth assessment before any decisions can be taken”.
Eggert said that the EU is responsible for 10% of global emissions and argued that it is 'imperative that this strategy is seen as part of a 'committed, collective action, on a global level”.
“There are priorities to be agreed if the long-term strategy is to succeed in its aim. Chief among these is the need to secure sufficient, reliable and competitively-priced low-carbon energy, alongside the required input materials”, Eggert continued. “Steel alone would require an additional 400TWh of electricity by 2050 if all of its low-carbon projects were to be deployed. We need clear mapping of these requirements," he added.
EUROFER argues that the strategy needs to identify and mobilise investment from both public and private sources for the demonstration, scale-up and commercialisation of breakthrough technologies.
“Industrial-scale innovation is really expensive," said Eggert. "Industry is ready to invest, but cannot viably go it alone. We must be supported in this journey with public sources of investment, such as Horizon Europe and similar funds”.
According to EUROFER, the EU already imports over 26Mt of steel from countries without comparable climate policies. "Low-carbon investments are long-term propositions. Before any benefits are reaped, these additional costs will hamper our competitiveness compared to non-EU players and risk undermining the environmental integrity of EU policies," it said.
“Therefore, a third priority – one that needs to be handled by policymakers as soon a possible – must be to build a regulatory framework preserving the level playing field for energy-intensive sectors facing international competition, such as steel. EU steel imports need a decarbonisation cost signal at the level facing EU producers resulting from EU rules. Exports also need to be addressed to give such a signal to the global market”, emphasised Mr Eggert.
Eggert concluded that the EU needs a coherent plan to back-up its aims with the means to achieve them. “This strategy is a first step towards this," he said.