EUROFER, the European Steel Association, welcomes the fact that a global agreement has been reached on climate change, but says that it lacks a comprehensive strategy as to how to achieve its intended objectives – not to mention the lack of a level playing field that would protect European industry from carbon leakage.

Axel Eggert, director-general of EUROFER, said that while the agreement – if correctly implemented – would tread ‘the right path towards mitigating anthropogenic climate change’ it didn’t create the much-needed level playing field because third country competitors ‘will continue to face far lower environmental burdens’.

According to Eggert, “Europe’s steel industry is amongst the cleanest and most advanced in the world. Accordingly, if it collapses due to ‘carbon leakage’ – compounded by ongoing unfair trade practices from non-EU countries – then Europe will simply have exported its CO2, as well as hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he said.

Eggert continued, “…so long as no equal measures exist for industrial competitors globally, the EU’s most significant climate policy, the Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) will have to be shaped in a way that guarantees – at least at the level of the 10% most efficient steel plants in Europe – that the system does not result in any costs.”

In essence, Eggert argues that domestic and EU-level policies, developed after ratification of the Paris agreement, must guarantee jobs, growth and investment at home.