New steel coalition calls for transparent, climate-focused standard to measure and reduce carbon emissions

21 November 2022

An international group of major steelmakers today announced the formation of a coalition to urge the United States and European Union to adopt a global emissions standard that inspires steel fabricators to use the cleanest steel production process available.

The new coalition – the Global Steel Climate Council supports the creation of a global standard that accelerates the transition to low-emission steel and recognizes the potential of the circular model of producing recycled steel to reduce emissions of carbon.

The United States and the European Union are currently negotiating a new emissions standard for steel production. The GSCC coalition says any deal should focus on the amount of emissions generated, not how the steel is made. Most of the world's steel production is carbon-intensive, as it relies primarily on mined and processed coal, iron ore and limestone. However, other steelmakers - including those that produce more than 70% of all steel made in the United States and more than 40% of all steel made in Europetoday – use arc furnaces. The steel produced there is produced primarily from recycled scrap metal, thereby generating significantly lower carbon emissions.

"We now have the technology to reduce carbon emissions in steel production by 70 percent," said Leon Topalian, CEO of Nucor Corporation, a founding member of the coalition. "It's on a global scale that the industry needs to embrace innovation, which has already led to cleaner steel production in the United States, as green and digital economies around the world will be built with of steel, and the type of manufacture of this steel is of considerable importance. »

A 'scaling' standard backed by high-emitting steel makers would set greenhouse gas emission caps up to nine times higher for mined versus recycled products, penalizing producers that use arc furnaces and allowing high-emitting steel to be mislabeled as "green". With a sliding scale, two steel products could be classified as “green”, even if one of them was produced with considerably more carbon emissions than the other.

“Steel is essential to our economies and the world's critical infrastructure depends on it. This new standard will accelerate the real reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and provide key decision makers with accurate data to make informed decisions,” said Mark D. Millett, CEO of Steel Dynamics, President of the Steel Manufacturers Association and Fellow founder of the coalition.

"We must prevent steel producers from classifying their products as green when the same products are available on the market with significantly lower carbon emissions," said Francisco Cardona, public affairs manager of CELSA Group, a major producer. European low-emission circular steel company and founding member of the coalition.

The main objective of the GSCC coalition is to establish a standard based on the following guiding principles:

  • Reduce GHG emissions from the global steel industry.
  • Establish a standard that is not tied to technology or production method.
  • Establish a standard whose system boundaries include scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
  • Set a standard that aligns with a science-based pathway to achieve a 1.5 degree global warming scenario by 2050.
  • Provide relevant information on sustainable steelmaking to appropriate decision makers.

“The GSCC coalition's single standard will encourage all manufacturers to reduce their carbon emissions and create a level playing field for all. Negotiations between the United States and the European Union should not result in a double standard agreement and thus lead us to drift towards a more polluting environment. We can do better,” said Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association and founding member of the coalition.

About the Global Steel Climate Council Coalition

The Global Steel Climate Council, Inc. (GSCC) coalition is a non-profit association, established to advance climate strategy by sharing best practices, setting standards and advocating for the reduction of carbon emissions by members of the steel industry.

This coalition has more than 20 members and supporters, including steel manufacturers, trade associations, end users, scrap suppliers and non-governmental organizations.

The particular objectives of the GSCC coalition are to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global steel industry by supporting technology-neutral reduction methods, which include system limits that include Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions that align with science-based predictions, envisioning a warming scenario of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.  

Les membres fondateurs de la coalition GSCC sont : la Steel Manufacturers Association, Nucor Corporation, CELSA Group, Steel Dynamics, Inc., Commercial Metals Company et l'Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

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