Steel

President Biden

Biden Climate Summit Requires Bold Industrial Decarbonization Plan

By Phelim Kine and Megan Larkin

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden’s virtual Earth Day Summit will commence on April 22 on a hopeful note. The European Union on April 21 struck a tentative climate accord designed to ensure that the 27-nation grouping reaches carbon neutrality by 2050. And Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zenhua, pledged on April 18 to take joint "concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach."

That’s the good news.

The challenge: Reaching consensus on key government priorities essential to reduce carbon emissions that are fueling the already evident negative impacts of climate change. There’s a ready short list – stopping tropical deforestation and accelerating a global transition to renewable energy. But the summit’s true success hinges on states’ concrete commitments to decarbonization of the heavy industry sector which constitutes around 18 percent of all global carbon emissions. The World Steel Institute estimates the steel sector is responsible for approximately eight percent of total global carbon emissions. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that dramatic cuts in those emissions are essential to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050. The IPCC warns that failure to meet that target will greatly increase “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth.”

A growing number of the world’s largest steel companies have proactively announced that they’ll reduce their carbon emissions over the next three decades. ArcelorMittal committed on March 17 to the development and rollout of two low-carbon steel product lines including a “certified green steel” line and a low-carbon recycled steel line, respectively. Japan’s Nippon Steel has set a target of reducing its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, prompting similar pledges from rivals including South Korean steelmaker POSCO and China’s state-owned Baowu Steel. And some of the world’s largest automakers are demanding that their steel suppliers provide them “green steel” car parts for their rapidly expanding lines of carbon neutral electrical vehicles.

Those corporate commitments are laudable. But decarbonizing the world’s heavy industry sector, starting with steel, is a nonstarter unless governments back up the private sector’s best intentions toward decarbonization with funding and supportive policy and regulatory initiatives. Pilot carbon reduction projects by ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and Swedish steelmaker SSAB have hinged on millions of Euros in government support. That funding is a fraction of what is required to transition the entire global steel sector to carbon neutral status by 2050. POSCO has underscored the financial challenge of that transition when it revealed that replacement of its nine existing high carbon emission blast furnaces with carbon-neutral facilities will cost the “equivalent to its 30-year operating profit.”

Mighty Earth and The Climate Group have collaborated to create a new international multistakeholder policy tool that provides a common playbook outlining the respective responsibilities of governments and the private sector dedicated to accelerate and scale-up the decarbonization of heavy industry, starting with steel,  to align with a 1.5°C global warming trajectory. The Global Framework Principles for Decarbonizing Heavy Industry (“Framework Principles”) launched in February after a drafting process that involved close coordination with industry and policy experts across the globe. These principles constitute the first-ever publicly available global guidance for how to equitably balance economic growth with decarbonization.

The Framework Principles outline the respective roles of governments and private industry to ensure the successful decarbonization of heavy industries – including steel, cement and chemicals – through allocation of public financing for emissions reduction plans. The Framework Principles specify investment in low- and zero-carbon technologies as a top government and corporate priority to help phase out fossil fuel use in industrial processes. The United Kingdom has offered a potential model for meeting this challenge through government-corporate decarbonization partnerships by earmarking an initial US$1.4 billion over 15 years to fund such initiatives. The Framework Principles are grounded in a recognition that decarbonization efforts include biodiversity and human health protections and a commitment to a just transition to a decarbonized industrial future. The growing number of corporate endorsers include Tata Steel Ltd. and JSW cement of India, China’s Jinko Solar and the U.S.-based carbon recycling firm, LanzaTech.

Governments can also play an important role by helping to foster the development of an accepted, universal standard for low-carbon or carbon-zero “green steel.”  Such standards are needed to ensure that corporate carbon neutrality commitments bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality. The ResponsibleSteel coalition, which groups a diverse array of high carbon emission corporations with nongovernmental organizations including Mighty Earth, has developed standards that extend beyond greenhouse gas emission metrics to include “a wide range of social, safety and environmental issues.”

Biden’s challenge as host of the two-day summit is to align the climate pledges of state leaders of countries home to heavily polluting heavy industry sectors, including China, Japan and India, with concrete policy initiatives that will allocate state funding to accelerate industrial decarbonization.  Biden himself has pledged to put “sectoral decarbonization” at the center of his administration’s “green recovery efforts,” but failed to make it a priority of his massive infrastructure spending plans.

Biden’s not alone in that gap between rhetoric and reality. Chinese President Xi Jinping committed in September 2020 to reduce China’s carbon emissions in order to reach carbon neutral status by 2060. But despite China’s status as the world’s largest steel producer, Xi has yet to allocate the trillions of dollars at his disposal via state-owned commercial banks to put wheels on that pledge. Likewise, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has publicly committed to transition Japan to a decarbonized, zero-emission industrial production model by 2050. But Suga’s failure to date to provide a substantive road map to that target has prompted skepticism in Japan’s business community.  A survey of more than 11,000 large and small Japanese firms about Suga’s carbon neutrality target revealed that only 15.8% of surveyed companies considered it “achievable.”

Most concerning is the disconnect about the essential role of state financing for industrial decarbonization in the Indian government of Prime Minister Nahrendra Modi. RK Singh, India’s Minister of Power, last month derided other countries’ carbon net zero goals as “pie in the sky.” Singh then declared that the onus for decarbonization sat squarely on developed countries by “removing more carbon to the atmosphere than they are adding.” India’s status as the world’s third-largest carbon emitter behind China and the United States makes Singh’s dismissal of his country’s industrial decarbonization obligations particularly incongruous.

There is a growing global consensus that heavy industry decarbonization is essential to avert emission-fueled climate disaster. Biden’s climate summit will demonstrate whether that consensus can produce the necessary vision and political will to make heavy industry decarbonization a reality. 

Phelim Kine is the senior director Asia at the Washington, D.C.-based environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth; Megan Larkin is an Associate at Mighty Earth where she works on its heavy industry decarbonization campaign and business development

 


Automakers Must Drive Global Push for "Green Steel"

By Megan Larkin 

Sweden’s Volvo Cars has seen the future of the automobile: it’s built with carbon neutral “green steel.”

That’s the message that Volvo sent last week when it announced a collaboration with Swedish steel producer SSAB to produce “the world’s first vehicles to be made of fossil-free steel.”  Volvo and SSAB are pioneering a carbon neutral steel production process that this year will produce the first “green steel” concept cars ahead of serial production “within a few years.”

Volvo isn’t alone in that vision of a near-future carbon neutral automobile steel supply chain. Scania, a Swedish truck manufacturer, is investing in H2 Steel, a hydrogen start-up, to jumpstart access to green steel in response to consumer demand. And Boston Metal, an electrolysis-based steel technology start-up has already received seed funding from BMW in a similar venture. BMW has described that investment as part of the German automaker’s aim to disrupt an “extremely pollutive industry.”

These initiatives are essential in order for automakers to meet the growing consumer demands for environmentally friendly automobiles that are driving the rapid expansion of electric vehicle development and production. But automakers increasingly recognize that reducing the carbon footprint of their products must go beyond electrification and address the use of steel in their products.

The average vehicle requires an average of around 2,000 pounds of steel, making the automobile sector a significant consumer of a material that contributes an estimated 8 percent of total annual global carbon emissions. Given its role in global carbon emissions, decarbonizing the steel industry will be integral to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that failure to meet this target will greatly increase “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth.”

Some of the world’s largest steel makers have already publicly announced that they will transition their production processes to carbon neutral status by 2050. Those companies include ArcelorMittal, Japan’s Nippon Steel, China’s Baowu Steel and POSCO in South Korea.  Those firms deserve credit for setting out such ambitious goals. But what they lack are clear timetable and science-based targets to allow those companies to achieve those objectives. And one of the biggest challenges for steel companies in unveiling the details of those carbon neutrality goals is cost.  Some estimates place the total cost for heavy industrial decarbonization at $11 trillion-$21 trillion through 2050. What steelmakers need, and soon, are assurances from their buyers there is a lucrative, growing market for low carbon or carbon free products that will justify the costly transition to zero emission production systems.

This is where automakers come in. Any demand that automakers make for green steel will communicate to steelmakers the longer-term financial incentives for investing in carbon neutral steel production technologies. Automakers’ massive purchasing power provided by the huge volumes of steel they buy gives them significant influence in the type of steel their suppliers produce. That means that automakers have untapped leverage that they can use to pressure steel makers to transition their current highly carbon intensive production methods to lower carbon or carbon neutral systems.

Automakers seeking to navigate their route to a carbon neutral supply chain now have the resources to coordinate with government: an international, multistakeholder policy tool dedicated to accelerating and scaling-up the decarbonization of heavy industry to align with a 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory. The Global Framework Principles for Decarbonizing Heavy Industry (“Framework Principles”), developed in partnership with The Climate Group, outline the role of government and private industry to ensure the successful decarbonization of heavy industries including steel, cement and chemicals through allocation of public financing for emissions reduction plans. The Framework Principles specify investment in low- and zero-carbon technologies as a top government and corporate priority to help phase out fossil fuel use in industrial processes.

Importantly, the Framework Principles go beyond the obvious targets – heavy industrial producers and manufacturers – and recognize the importance of end users, such as the automotive industry. Principle #3 calls for policies to create buyer demand for “low-carbon, circular, and resource efficient basic material products.” These policies would likely give muscle and leveraging power to end-user demands for green steel.

The automotive industry is waking up to growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly, carbon neutral products, particularly cars. What is needed is a sense of urgency to make the necessary changes to steel production processes in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB, says there is “a new green revolution emerging.” The appetite for green steel technology is there. With stronger partnerships between automakers and green steel technology in reach, he may just be right.

Megan Larkin is an Associate at the Washington, D.C.-based environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth where she works on its heavy industry decarbonization campaign and business development.

 


ArcelorMittal Decarbonization Move Highlights Urgency of Steel Emission Reductions

Government funding essential to support corporate carbon reduction moves

The global steel production sector made an important symbolic move toward tackling its massive carbon emission problem with ArcelorMittal’s unveiling of a new decarbonization initiative, Mighty Earth said today. ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steel producers, committed on March 17 to the development and rollout of two branded low-carbon steel product lines including a “certified green steel” line and a low-carbon recycled steel line, respectively. The World Steel Institute estimates that the steel sector is responsible for approximately eight percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions.

“ArcelorMittal’s low-carbon steel initiative marks a small step toward a wider steel-sector recognition of the urgency of transitioning production systems toward carbon neutral emission systems,” said Phelim Kine, senior director Asia at Mighty Earth. “ArcelorMittal has sent a clear signal that steel production’s current high carbon emission status quo is both environmentally and economically unsustainable, but more dramatic carbon reductions by the steel sector are necessary to align with a 1.5°C global warming trajectory.”

This initiative will render only modest reductions in ArcelorMittal’s carbon emissions. The company’s new low-carbon product lines will constitute only a maximum of two percent of ArcelorMittal’s total annual steel production by end-2022. ArcelorMittal plans to expand that production to a target of ten percent of its total steel products by 2025-2030. That’s a fraction of the industrial carbon emission reductions that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated as essential to limit global warning to 1.5°C  by 2050. The IPCC warns that failure to meet that target will greatly increase “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth.” Company officials explicitly linked the development of the product lines to government, societal and customer demands for low carbon emission steel.

ArcelorMittal also announced the creation of a new “Innovation Fund” aimed to seed the development of new technology and companies dedicated to reducing heavy industry carbon emissions.  The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Aditya Mittal, emphasized the fund’s annual US$100 million budget was only a fraction of what was needed to transform the steel sector to a low-carbon future and declared “We need partners” to accelerate such efforts. That admission is an implicit recognition of the need for deep investment by both governments and the private sector to effect the needed production chain overhauls across the heavy industry sector in order to align it with a 1.5°C global warming trajectory.

ArcelorMittal’s initiative dovetails with the objectives of a new international multistakeholder policy tool pioneered by Mighty Earth and The Climate Group dedicated to accelerate and scale-up the decarbonization of heavy industry to align with a 1.5°C global warming trajectory. That tool, the Global Framework Principles for Decarbonizing Heavy Industry (“Framework Principles”), launched last month after a drafting process that involved close coordination with industry and policy experts across the globe. Those principles constitute the first-ever publicly available global guidance for how to equitably balance economic growth with decarbonization.

The Framework Principles outline the role of governments and private industry to ensure the successful decarbonization of heavy industries including steel, cement and chemicals through allocation of public financing for emissions reduction plans. The Framework Principles also specify investment in low- and zero-carbon technologies as a top government and corporate priority to help phase out fossil fuel use in industrial processes. The growing number of heavy industry corporate endorsers including Tata Steel Ltd.  and JSW Cement reflect how corporations are seizing the initiative on industrial decarbonization.

“ArcelorMittal’s initiative should place urgent decarbonization at the top of the heavy industry sector’s priorities and catalyze private sector and government action to provide the necessary funding as well as the policy and regulatory environment necessary to fast-track that process,” Kine said. “Avoiding the climate repercussions of unmitigated industrial high carbon emissions requires serious, timely and collaborative corporate and policy sector measures to keep our planet from heating beyond 1.5C.”


Major industrial companies and civil society groups support new global framework for decarbonizing heavy industry

The first of its kind, a global framework to call upon policymakers to decarbonize their heavy industries as part of COVID-19 economic recovery plans has been released today. The following civil society groups and major industrial businesses have endorsed the Framework Principles for Global Heavy Industrial Decarbonization:

Alliance for Energy Efficient Economy (India), Aldersgate Group (EU), Architecture 2030 (US), Carbon Leadership Forum (North America), Clean Energy Canada, Corporate Leaders Group (EU) , Envision (China), Global Efficiency Intelligence (US), Global Energy Monitor (US/Global), Godrej Industries(India) , United Nations High Level Champions, JSW Energy (India), JSW Cement, LanzaTech (US) , Mahindra Group (India), Solutions for Our Climate (South Korea) and Tata Steel (India).

By officially endorsing the framework, these influential actors are coming together across sectors to call out the urgent need to accelerate and scale-up the decarbonization of heavy industry to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the need to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Established by international non-profit the Climate Group and campaign organisation Mighty Earth, The Global Framework Principles for the Decarbonization of Heavy Industry has been developed in close coordination with industry experts. It’s the first time a set of publicly available global guide rails has provided clear steps for how heavy industries like steel, cement, and chemicals across the world can stimulate economic growth while aligning with a 1.5°C climate trajectory.

The framework sets out six core principles, each of which represent an essential lever that policymakers can use to ensure the successful decarbonization of steel, cement, chemicals and other heavy industries. These include tying heavy industry public financing to emissions reduction plans, and prioritising investment in low- and zero-carbon technologies that will help phase out fossil fuel use in industrial processes.

Jenny Chu, Head of Energy Productivity Initiatives at the Climate Group said: “In the wake of COVID-19, we have a critical window to reinvent and reimagine our global industrial economy for the better. Time is of the essence to adopt this framework and to avoid locking in inefficient, high-emitting industrial capital. Global leaders need to urgently put these principles into action while collaborating and coordinating efforts to ensure industry moves as a whole, creating a race to the top for a sustainable, just, and healthy industrial future."

Margaret Hansbrough, Mighty Earth campaign director, said: “The last few months we have seen an unexpected cascade of net zero and carbon neutral commitments from steel, cement, and other heavy industry companies. With this framework, these companies and civil society groups are sending a very loud and clear signal to policymakers around the world, they are ready to get to work immediately on serious and collaborative policy measures to keep our planet from heating beyond 1.5C and fulfil those climate commitments with unprecedented urgency and action. Let’s get to work.”

Nigel Topping, COP26 High Level Champion and Gonzalo Munoz, COP25 High Level Champion said: “We welcome this policy framework, which is a powerful tool to raise ambition and inject urgency at the exact moment when industrial economies around the world are trying to recover the livelihoods of millions, prevent more needless deaths from the pandemic, and fight the climate emergency we are all living in.”

Prashant Jain, JMD & CEO, JSW Energy said: “We are happy to support the Global Framework Principles on Heavy Industry initiative. Industrial emissions account for nearly a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, which means this is a critical area to focus decarbonization efforts to help limit global warming to 1.5°C.AtJSWEnergywehave committed ourselves towards carbon neutrality by 2050 and setting science based targets as per the Science BasedTarget initiative.”

Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech, Inc. said: “LanzaTech is an innovative US-headquartered company that sits at the nexus of hard-to-abate sectors from heavy industry to aviation creating carbon recycling solutions, creating and retaining good paying jobs. It is imperative that businesses like ours use our expertise and our voice to call for the most effective climate policy in countries around our interconnected world so that we can keep our planet habitable.  We are thrilled to join this effort of companies and civil society around the world setting out a clear policy framework for heavy industry decarbonization and are eager to get to work with the Biden-Harris Administration and other global leaders on this critical front in the climate fight”

Heavy industry uses about a third of all energy and accounts for roughly a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes this a critical area to focus decarbonization efforts. However, political leaders have yet to lock in a low carbon recovery for their heavy industries or even make it a top climate policy priority. In the coming months, as Europe, China, Japan, Korea, India, and North America deliberate on recovery and climate policies, the Climate Group, Mighty Earth and their allies will be calling on political and business leaders to embrace this global framework.

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About Mighty Earth
Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights. Mighty Earth’s team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at www.mightyearth.org/.

About the Climate Group
The Climate Group drives climate action. Fast. Our goal is a world of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with greater prosperity for all. We focus on systems with the highest emissions and where our networks have the greatest opportunity to drive change. We do this by building large and influential networks and holding organisations accountable, turning their commitments into action. We share what we achieve together to show more organisations what they could do. We are an international non-profit organisation, founded in 2004, with offices in London, New Delhi and New York. We are proud to be part of the We Mean Business coalition. Follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup.


Nippon Steel, Number Three Steelmaker Globally, Officially Commits to Carbon Neutrality

This week, President Eiji Hashimoto of Japan’s Nippon Steel released a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This announcement comes shortly after similar 2050 carbon neutrality pledges were made by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, as well as the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal. 

Roger Smith, Mighty Earth’s Japan Project Manager, had this to say in reaction: 

“As the largest steel company in Japan and third in the world, Nippon Steel is now publicly committing to being a global player in the mission to defeat climate change. We welcome Nippon’s pledge as a crucial step in building momentum for the entire steel industry, as well as its suppliers and customers like Toyota and other carmakers, to tackle its outsized impact on the Earth’s climate. 

Nippon needs to demonstrate its seriousness by not only reforming its practices, but also working from within to change Keidanran’s (Japan Business Federation) positions on climate policy. For all too long Keidanren has worked to delay action at the national level to phase-out coal and scale-up domestic renewable energy.

“We are glad to see Nippon taking hydrogen research, development, and deployment seriously -- but are cautious of over-reliance on carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies to meet its emissions target. We need to displace dirty coal and forest biomass-burning technology altogether for industry, paired with clean electrification, material efficiency, and industry right-sizing. In their plans, we are particularly interested to see how they intend to achieve carbon neutrality with their new joint venture AM-NS India 

“Nippon also seems to recognize the urgency of this challenge indicating they will begin shifting from some aging facilities, primarily coal-burning blast furnaces, to electric furnaces and eventually scaling hydrogen-based production- both of which can be powered by renewable energy. . But these shifts must also include a moratorium on building any new coal or biomass-burning facilities anywhere and a plan to phase out existing coal burning facilities; this will ensure carbon neutral production becomes a reality. Forest biomass has often overlooked significant near-term carbon impacts as carbon sequestered in forests is converted into fuel, burned, and returned to the atmosphere. 

“We still await more specific, time-bound, and actionable steps from Nippon. This should light a fire and spur ambitious commitments and plans from its peer companies such as Baowu Group, HBIS, Nucor, Shagang, POSCO, Tata, and others.  But industry and governments alike must make robust investments and science-based commitments for the 1.5°C warming scenario to be possible. Now that industry has signaled its willingness to act, the Japanese government should provide public support in the form of green recovery to support steelmakers and other heavy industry as they invest in technologies that locks out carbon emissions in order to achieve this challenging goal and fast.  

For more about Mighty Earth’s global steel campaign, and to read their latest mini report on ArcelorMittal, visit www.mightyearth.org/steel.


Japan's Nippon Steel Planning for Carbon Neutrality, Signals Growing Momentum for Industrial Decarbonization

日本語で読む

Following news that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, Japanese steel company Nippon Steel has indicated it is preparing for decarbonization and will unveil emissions reductions goals for 2030 and 2050 in the next six months. These developments come the same month that steel giant ArcelorMittal released its own goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

In response to the latest news, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough issued the following statement:

“High-profile moves toward decarbonization from two of the top three steel companies – first ArcelorMittal and now Nippon Steel – indicate a significant shift in the industry's approach to climate change. This is a sector that has long dodged accountability for its carbon emissions, even as it is responsible for 7 percent of all climate pollution. But the narrative is beginning to change around industrial decarbonization, and activist pressure is working.

“The inclusion of a 2030 goal indicates Nippon is aware of the need for ambitious carbon emissions reductions in the short term. We hope to see even more goalposts included and will engage with the company, as we have with ArcelorMittal, on the best ways to decarbonize steel. We will also closely monitor the near-term operationalization of these two companies’ commitments in light of their joint acquisition of a major Indian steel producer last year, Essar Steel.

“Now that major European and Japanese companies are moving and their political leaders are signaling greater ambition, we are still waiting for China and its big companies, like Baowu Group and others, to step up with their own steel industry commitments.

“Pledges – both announced and yet-to-come – are just a first step on a long road to achieving a 1.5-degree scenario. We must go beyond pledges: we need specific, implementable plans with clear outlines and actions to achieve these emissions goals. Globally, hitting critical time-bound targets and tying green recovery policies to industrial decarbonization will be crucial for achieving carbon neutrality.”


Photo credit: Postmodern Studio via Shutterstock


IEA Fails to Deliver a 1.5-degree Climate Scenario for Steel Industry

Today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its long-delayed Iron and Steel Technology Roadmap. While the report includes some encouraging insights and analysis about how to decarbonize the iron and steel industry, which accounts for 8 percent of all final global energy use and 7 percent of all global CO2 emissions, the report fails to deliver on the growing calls for more ambitious models built around a 1.5-degree climate scenario.

Mighty Earth campaign director Margaret Hansbrough had the following response to the report and launch webinar: 

"The IEA has squandered its unique opportunity to set the stage for the decarbonization of steel, offering instead an unambitious plan that fails to ensure a livable Earth in 2050 and beyond. In its new report, the agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) aims for a 1.8-degree scenario that is more likely to be 2 degrees. It projects a reduction of only 2 gigatons between now and 2030 – essentially a business-as-usual scenario – even as it states there will need to be a reduction of 22 gigatons for their 2050 SDS.

"This lack of ambition is incredibly disappointing because the private sector is showing signs of progress. In recent weeks, LaFarge, world’s largest cement company, issued a new science-based target (SBT) commitment. Arup, major construction company, announced plans for net-zero emissions by 2030. And the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal just pledged to achieve carbon neutrality company-wide by 2050. As the difficult work of decarbonizing heavy industry moves forward, the IEA needs to lay out a vision sufficient to the scope of the challenge.

"Overall, the report fails to deliver in the most critical ways. The IEA would do the world a great service by elevating its Faster Innovation Case -- a more aggressive scenario which it references in this report and articulates more fully in the September 2020 Energy Technology Perspectives report. We are calling upon the IEA, its member nations and associated nations, and policymakers and corporate leaders in those countries to put forth a 1.5-degree scenario for steel and all of heavy industry in the next few months. Our leaders must address the gap between their current scenarios and what is needed for a livable world and seize the opportunity to make industrial decarbonization an urgent part of a global green economic recovery."

Analysis

A few encouraging points in the report include:

  • Early retirement of assets, technology sunsets, and strong international cooperation around research, development, and deployment of breakthrough and clean technologies to displace and mitigate coal use are all mentioned in the report. These are all top priority tools to reduce emissions.
  • The report calls for a global policy framework for countries and companies to come to a consensus through formal diplomatic climate and trade policy mechanisms
  • The report acknowledges that in the time between now and when some of the biggest pollution reduction strategies will pay off at great scale, the steel industry should invest in Nature Based Solutions such as forest conservation and restoration to complement industry decarbonization and achieve carbon neutrality now. This recommendation aligns with Mighty Earth’s call to action for the global steel industry to commit to achieving carbon neutrality now and net zero by 2050.

The most discouraging points in the report include:

  • Despite IEA’s enthusiasm of late for clean hydrogen technology, it forecasts that by 2050 only 8 percent of steel will be produced using clean hydrogen.
  • Almost nothing is mentioned about the current need to address overcapacity, mostly driven by China’s aggressive, high-carbon plans for a post-COVID recovery. This silence is in strong contrast to the OECD Steel Committee, which raised overcapacity as a major concern last week.
  • Overall, the report shows deeply path dependent and siloed thinking from the IEA. They fail to recognize that the very countries and regions where they project dramatic increases in steel demand are the same places that will be most severely affected by the dangerous effects of climate change, including rising seas, catastrophic temperature rise, and drought.

 


Photo: Tata Steel Logistics & Shipping Bv, Rooswijkweg, IJmuiden, Nederland; by Floris Andréa on Unsplash


Cold Steel, Hot Climate

ArcelorMittal’s New Carbon-Neutral Commitment Could Catalyze Steel Industry Transformation

Today, CFO Aditya Mittal of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, pledged to achieve carbon neutrality company-wide by 2050. This pledge from Mr. Mittal comes after two years of Mighty Earth’s campaign to push the global steel industry toward carbon neutrality commitments.

Margaret Hansbrough, Mighty Earth campaign director, had this to say in reaction:

“As the largest steel company in the world, ArcelorMittal is responsible for close to one percent of all climate pollution. We welcome ArcelorMittal's pledge to become carbon neutral by 2050 as an important step toward addressing the outsized impact of the steel industry and a critical victory for climate and the environment. Steel is seven percent or more of all climate pollution. As with any corporate commitment, though, the devil is in the details. We hope to continue to engage with the company directly between now and the end of 2020 as they draft a more detailed plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We have serious questions and concerns about ArcelorMittal’s over-reliance on carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) as well as bioenergy to replace coal. We want to see more emphasis on research, development, and deployment for hydrogen and other breakthrough technology to displace coal burning technology as well as clean electrification, material efficiency, and capacity reduction overall. We do not want to see a global trend of replacing coal-burning with tree-burning, which could take us out of the frying pan and into the fire. And we must not prolong the lifespans of coal burning blast furnaces any longer than necessary. We also need investments to restore nature given the outsized impact steel has had on driving the climate crisis.

“Dramatic climate leadership from ArcelorMittal and other steel companies like Nippon, Nucor, China Baowu Group, Tata, POSCO, and others is needed to demonstrate what they will do over the next one, five, and 10 years to ensure Earth stays at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. We are at one degree warming now and we can all see the chaos that has unleashed on the planet and people.

"We need big polluters like ArcelorMittal to cut carbon emissions today, set ambitious 2030 targets based on the remaining global carbon budget, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050."

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization that works to protect the environment. We focus on big issues: conserving threatened landscapes like tropical rainforests, protecting oceans, and solving climate change. In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth launched a global campaign calling on Nucor and other global steel leaders to commit to clean energy and carbon neutrality. The campaign released two groundbreaking reports: Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction. Both reports focused on advances the steel and construction industries must undertake right away to solve the climate crisis and specifically outlined ways for Nucor to lead the market in low carbon steel making by committing to clean electricity. For full reports and statements visit: www.mightyearth.org/steel.


Decarbonization of Steel and Concrete Ignored in UN Ministerial Meeting on Green Recovery

Today, Japanese Minister for the Environment Shinjiro Koizumi led a virtual meeting of more than 50 ministers and cross-sector stakeholders from around the world to develop a shared vision for a green economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and launch a new online Platform for Redesign 2020. Following the meeting, Mighty Earth campaign director Margaret Hansbrough issued the following statement:

“While it was encouraging to see such a unified effort across nations to align around some core principles for a green recovery agenda, it is inexcusable that they failed to even mention the carbon impact of the steel and concrete industries. These sectors alone are responsible for about 15 percent of all global emissions, and have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Green recovery policies for steel and concrete could secure lasting emissions reductions, but a failure to act means we may never achieve the reductions we need in the next five to ten years to meet a 1.5 degree target.

“Industrial decarbonization needs to be a top green recovery priority, full stop. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tie the recovery of these industries to technologies that reduce carbon emissions. Now is the time for Minister Koizumi to step up with specific plans for Japan to tackle the climate emissions from its dirtiest industries. As the number three producer of steel in the world, and a leader in research and development, Japan has a critical role to play in the decarbonization of steelmaking and heavy industry more broadly. Keidanren and heavy industry have been allowed to block climate progress in Japan for far too long.

"We need Koizumi to press forward with recovery assistance that includes game-changing investments in hydrogen as an industrial heating source, carbon capture and storage, and other breakthrough technologies that will revolutionize steelmaking and other industrial processes. These investments must be core to a green recovery, because only dramatic action on decarbonization is going to deliver the results we need to avoid climate catastrophe.”


European Tire & Rubber Manufacturers Plan to Put More Vehicles on the Roads in Response to Covid-19

On May 5, 2020, the European Tire and Rubber Manufacturers' Association (ETRMA) published an Action Plan for the EU to kick-start the automotive sector following the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Julian Oram released the following statement:

"While we welcome the industry's stated commitment to the European Green Deal, we believe that one of the key demands of the ETRMA's Action Plan could be at odds with such a pledge.

"ETRMA's proposal for an EU-funded vehicle renewal scheme would likely increase car ownership and could pose serious public health risks. Even if coupled with incentives for private owners to trade in older vehicles for newer ones, the overall impact of the program is likely to be more cars on Europe's roads, exacerbating congestion and increasing pollution and emissions. Europe needs to be moving in precisely the opposite direction: looking to reduce private car ownership, boost spending on clean, green forms of public mobility, and cut particulate emissions that could exacerbate respiratory problems for people infected with Covid-19.

"The ERTMA's demand to 'postpone all non-essential public consultations' combined with a call to accelerate the EU's vehicle type approval process 'as quickly as possible' could also set a worrying precedent of bypassing important democratic checks and balances in regulatory oversight and should be strongly resisted by the European Commission.

"EU bailout packages should be strictly conditional on building new, low-carbon economy. Any policy incentives or financial assistance directed towards auto, tire, and rubber companies cannot simply seek to resuscitate thindustry as it was, but must instead help stimulate a green transformation. In the wake of the current crisis, such a transition is more urgent than ever. Mighty Earth will therefore endeavor to work with both policymakers and members of the ERTMA to ensure that short-term measures to support the sector are fully aligned with the longer-term vision of a new Green Deal for Europe."

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Image: Photo by Sorin Gheorghita on Unsplash


Architects, Engineers, Builders, and Activists Declare 2030 Must Become the New 2050 in the Climate Emergency

Steel and concrete industries targeted by their top customers in design and construction for dramatic GHG emissions reductions in next ten years.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- This week, the top 20 percent of the global design industry – representing approximately 500 organizations – gathered at the Carbon Positive 20 Conference in Los Angeles. Their challenge was to form corporate commitments and design pathways for reducing the “embodied” or upfront emissions from building materials like steel and concrete. Steel and concrete represent approximately 15 percent of all global emissions and are the most ubiquitous building materials in the world, with construction accounting for about half of all steel demand and all of concrete demand.

Attending the conference were not just top design leaders but also representatives from top construction, steel, and concrete companies (Skanska, Turner Construction, CEMEX) who were listening closely to what their customers were demanding of them: low and zero carbon construction materials. These commodities are needed right now to address the climate emergency, and industry’s demand for these products will grow exponentially in the next few years.

During her panel presentation titled “Better Steel, Better Concrete,” Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough was joined by global concrete expert Bruce King and leading embodied carbon pioneer and Dirk Kestner. In her presentation, she challenged the steel industry and its largest customers in the global design and construction industries to set emissions reductions targets aligned with the 65 percent by 2030 target Architecture 2030 has stated is essential if the world is going to stay within the 1.5 degree planetary warming threshold. But she also challenged these heavy polluting industries like steel, concrete, and construction to shift their entire business strategy, saying “This is not just about reducing the carbon from any single project, but about planning for how you as a company will decarbonize your entire business strategy starting today.”

Hansbrough and many other speakers also called for both product level and production facility level Environmental Product Disclosures (EPDs) to be issued by major steel and concrete companies this year in order for design professionals to have the carbon transparency they need to dramatically reduce embodied carbon for all new projects.

Highlights of the historic event included:

  • Architecture 2030’s CEO Ed Mazria challenged companies to commit to net zero emissions by 2040 for all materials in the built environment, including an immediate 50 percent reduction in embodied carbon and 65 percent reduction by 2030 for all construction materials
  • Mazria went even further, asking leading companies to commit to what he describes as the “High Ambition” targets of 100 percent net zero carbon from building materials by 2030 – and to make that commitment public this year. These targets are calculated to ensure a 67 percent likelihood that the planet can stay within 1.5 degree Celsius planetary warming threshold
  • Mazria also underscored the urgent time value of carbon with a data visualization illustrating how, in the next 10 years, 72 percent of the carbon that the built environment will emit will be from embodied, not operational, carbon.
  • Also announced during the conference was the formation of SE 2050, an alliance of structural engineers working together to align around the Architecture 2030 net zero emissions framework for both embodied and operational carbon.
  • The American Institute for Architects (AIA) and the leadership of the Large Firm Round Table rolled out a comprehensive framework called Countdown On Carbon for embodied carbon commitments and actions that they will be asking all AIA members to sign on to this year, the most aggressive and comprehensive demand signal to date for low carbon steel and concrete.
  • The event ended with an invigorating and motivating speech from Farhana Yamin, a longtime influential climate lawyer and prominent Extinction Rebellion activist who challenged the crowd to “make 2030 the new 2050” and dramatically raise their ambition and action for what was achievable. She challenged the audience to declare a climate emergency, just as architects in the UK have already done, in order to mobilize the collective action needed to dramatically reduce emissions from their industries and from the materials they use.

The Carbon Positive 20 Conference was organized by Architecture 2030 and Architect Magazine and was the largest industry event to date focused entirely on embodied carbon from construction materials like steel and concrete.

For the last 18 months, Mighty Earth has been campaigning and activating the global steel and construction industries to take bold climate action, demanding that the steel industry set a new standard for low and zero carbon steelmaking and commit to carbon neutrality. For more campaign statements and reports, visit www.mightyearth.org/steel


Mighty Earth, ArcelorMittal, Lendlease, Daimler, HSBC & Others Launch ResponsibleSteel™, The World's First Sustainability Standard For The Steel Industry

WOLLONGONG, NEW SOUTH WALES – Today, Mighty Earth joined leading steel companies, including ArcelorMittal and Blue Scope, leading construction and development company Lendlease, major automakers Daimler and BMW, and many other civil society partners to announce the launch of the ResponsibleSteel Standard, the world’s first international, multi-stakeholder standard for responsible production for steel making and processing sites. The announcement was made during the ResponsibleSteel’s Forum II in Wollongong, Australia.

The new standard seeks to holistically address many challenges in the steel manufacturing process, including how to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from steel production, implementing sustainable mining practices, and protecting labour rights, water quality, biodiversity, and human rights. The ResponsibleSteel Standard helps the steel industry address these challenges by setting a universal baseline, establishing the fundamental elements and the required levels of implementation for sourcing and production of steel to be labelled responsible. Taken together, the new standard supports ResponsibleSteel’s vision: to maximize steel's contribution to a sustainable society.

“In our work at Mighty Earth, we have seen entire industries transform when market leaders work together to advance ambitious voluntary commitments for climate, environment, and human rights,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough. “Today, we are seeing leaders step forward in the steel industry, an industry responsible for approximately 7 to 9 percent of global emissions. When companies and civil society step up together, big things can happen. This rigorous yet accessible standard is the result of a deeply collaborative stakeholder process which we will continue to leverage to bring forth even bolder goals to ensure a 1.5-degree threshold is possible. This urgent work has only just begun.”

In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth released two seismic reports, Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction, which helped to activate the global steel and construction industries to make commitments to clean energy and carbon neutrality. Through engagement with the steel industry and its biggest customers, Mighty Earth is starting to see real climate action taking shape. The launch of ResponsibleSteel marks a new milestone in this engagement.

Also announced at the forum were new members of ResponsibleSteel, including Lendlease, one of the top building and development companies in the world, which was named in the Construction Destruction report. Additional new members include Anglo American, Carport, Clean Air Task Force, Harsco and new Associate Members ACRS (Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels certification), GUTcert GmbH, HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association), RTQMS (Real Time Quality Management Services), Sustainable Steel Council, and United Certification Systems.

"This is a huge milestone for both ResponsibleSteel and for its members and supporters," said Matthew Wenban-Smith, Executive Director of ResponsibleSteel. "The ResponsibleSteel Standard has been developed through a rigorous process of public consultation, membership approval and board ratification, and we are pleased it is now available to support the responsible sourcing and production of steel. Civil society groups like Mighty Earth have been critical to making this standard the best it can be for people and the planet" (emphasis added).

The Standard consists of twelve principles: Corporate Leadership; Social Environmental and Governance Management Systems; Occupational Health and Safety; Labour Rights; Human Rights; Stakeholder Engagement and Communication; Local Communities; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise, Emissions, Effluent and Waste; Water Stewardship; Biodiversity; and Decommissioning and Closure.

As a multi-stakeholder organization, ResponsibleSteel sought to engage the voices of its members and a broad range of interested parties in the standard development process. The Standard was approved by a ballot of the ResponsibleSteel membership and formally ratified by the ResponsibleSteel Board of Directors in November 2019, as member organizations are required to adopt science-based emissions reduction targets in line with a 1.5-degree scenario.

ResponsibleSteel has developed tools to help organizations implement the Standard, including Implementation Instructions and an Assurance Manual. The first auditor training workshop was held in London on 18-20 November. It is expected that the first certified steel sites audited with ResponsibleSteel Standard will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Additional Resources

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Global Finance Leader HSBC Calls for Carbon-Neutral Steel

Steel is currently the largest source of industrial carbon emissions

HSBC, a global leader in banking and finance, has issued a new report calling for a “transition to responsible, zero carbon steel making.” This new report echoes Mighty Earth’s earlier reports – Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction – which focused on advances the steel and construction industries must undertake to solve the climate crisis and the potential for customers to create the demand for a new, more responsible steel industry. Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough, author of the two reports, released the following statement in response to HSBC’s new publication:

“This groundbreaking report from HSBC is the first time that a global financial leader has demonstrated a sophisticated enough understanding of the severity of the climate crisis in the context of the steel industry, which accounts for about 7-9 percent of emissions, and the urgent need to rapidly shift toward a carbon-neutral steel industry.

“For the last year, Mighty Earth has been sounding the alarm on steel and other heavy industrial carbon emissions and calling on the construction industry to drive demand for carbon-neutral steel. The conversation is changing, and HSBC’s instructive and incisive report has elevated this critical issue to a pivotal point. But we can’t wait another year for corporate commitments and major capital shifts – it will be too late. 

“Every banker, investment manager, financial regulator, and ratings agency in the world should be shaken up by this report. They should immediately ask the steel companies they do business with some tough questions. How will companies begin decarbonizing their assets? Will they invest in the necessary R&D to achieve the low-carbon transition milestones necessary to ensure a 1.5 degree warming scenario? What are their climate risks, and how fast are companies and the industry as a whole working to mitigate their climate impacts to manage those risks?

“The HSBC report makes two critical points. First, it underscores how critical steel will be to the growth of the clean energy and net-zero supply chains. Second, it demonstrates that there are lots of solutions and viable pathways for low and zero emissions steel right now. These are two of the many reasons Mighty Earth has been working with HSBC through ResponsibleSteel over the last year. We both know that by driving demand for responsible, zero-carbon steel and demonstrating the value for steel companies to participate, we can turn the tide on the climate crisis.

“This signal from global finance also means it’s past time for ArcelorMittal, Thyssunkrupp, Tata Steel and other big global steel players to start walking the walk when it comes to their own portfolios, supply chains, and policy agendas. If bankers are asking them for this, then it’s time for these companies to lead on policy solutions too. They need to engage in a robust, vocal, and constructive way in Europe and elsewhere right now to help set the most aggressive industrial decarbonization policy possible to benefit people and the planet.”

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Photo Credit: Gyver Chang via Flickr (Modified)

 


Breakthrough Embodied Carbon Tool for Construction Only A First Step Toward Market Transformation

Statement from Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough in response to the public launch of the free Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) at the USGBC Greenbuild Conference in Atlanta this week:

“A huge congratulations are in order for everyone at the Carbon Leadership Forum who has worked diligently over the last year to make this tool ready for primetime and—importantly—free and accessible. It’s a testament to their commitment to the issue of embodied carbon and to how well they have channeled their collective expertise to make an impact. Skanska USA and Microsoft deserve special credit for being the pioneers in using this tool and working hard to perfect it.

“The ability for design and construction professionals to leverage Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) so they can analyze which products have the lowest embodied carbon and use them in their projects is something we called for in our Construction Destruction report, released at Greenbuild last year in Chicago. This ability is an important and necessary early step, but we also called for the construction industry to begin making companywide asks of their steel and other materials suppliers to do away with industry average EPDs and adopt product- and site-specific ones. Most importantly, we called upon Skanska, Clark Construction, AECOM, Turner Construction, Lendlease, and all the other top builders to explicitly demand public plans for decarbonization from the steel companies they buy from.

“It’s not enough to buy good products, you have to be able to buy good products from a good company. Otherwise, there will not be enough incentive for steel producers to build the critical mass they need for industry wide decarbonization, and bad actors will continue to escape accountability without fear of losing business.

“In October, the top design firms all gathered in Chicago at the behest of Architecture 2030 and set a goal of 65 percent reduction in embodied carbon from construction of buildings and infrastructure by 2030. This goal was set to align with a 1.5-degree scenario and is incredibly ambitious and necessary since construction uses most of the world’s steel, concrete, and aluminum. Those materials alone account for 22 percent of global emissions. We are going to need all kinds of technical solutions like EC3 to tackle this enormous challenge, but more than anything we are going to need driven, creative, and courageous professionals in the design and construction world to act each day with greater urgency—and demand more than they have before from themselves and each other.”


New Investment By Largest Steel Producer in U.S. Proves Clean Energy Can Power Heavy Industry

Nucor aiming to sign wind energy agreement in Missouri

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An E&E News story published today revealed that Nucor Steel, the number one steel producer in the US and number 11 globally, has filed a power purchase agreement for wind energy with Evergy Missouri (formally KCPL).

In response to this news, Margaret Hansbrough, a Missouri native and Campaign Director at Mighty Earth, released the following statement:

"Last year, Mighty Earth called upon Nucor and the entire steel industry to commit to carbon neutrality and clean energy, and for Nucor specifically to begin switching to clean electricity. Despite their initial claims that renewable energy could not handle the power generation needs of their steel mills, it took Nucor only a few months after we launched our public campaign to start filing papers for this wind agreement and begin transitioning to clean energy for a new mill in Sedalia, Missouri.

"We have said that switching to clean electricity is good for business, good for the climate, and good for clean energy jobs. Now we know that to be true. This approach builds on the natural competitive advantage electricity-produced steel has in the U.S. broadly and in states with cheap renewables in particular. Nucor's new mill in Sedalia is a compelling proof of concept. Nucor cuts costs and reduces the embodied carbon in its steel; the state of Missouri leverages clean, cheap electricity to bring new jobs to the state. It’s a win-win move, and we hope the company will repeat this practice in all the states where they are expanding."

 

James Owen, Executive Director of Renew Missouri, Missouri’s leading renewable energy advocacy organization, also provided a reaction to this news:

"The work between Evergy and Nucor shows that clean energy is a necessary economic development tool if Missouri is serious about jobs and attracting business. The Show-Me State benefits economically through high-paying construction and technician jobs. Cheap clean energy will be critical to attracting and retaining industrial jobs like steel production. Not only that, the steel industry and companies like Nucor benefit enormously from the expansion of electricity transmission infrastructure with projects like the Grain Belt Express as well as expanded generation on wind farms built with USA produced steel. If Missouri really wanted to walk the walk on job creation, we could change our laws that made Evergy and Nucor's contract a normal part of business. This would be good for communities and utility customers all over Missouri."

 

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization that works to protect the environment. We focus on big issues: conserving threatened landscapes like tropical rainforests, protecting oceans, and solving climate change. In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth launched a global campaign calling on Nucor and other global steel leaders to commit to clean energy and carbon neutrality. The campaign released two groundbreaking reports: Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction. Both reports focused on advances the steel and construction industries must undertake right away to solve the climate crisis and specifically outlined ways for Nucor to lead the market in low carbon steel making by committing to clean electricity. For full reports and statements visit: www.mightyearth.org/steel.

 

About Renew Missouri

Renew Missouri was founded in 2006 to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in the state of Missouri. In that time, Renew Missouri has advanced legislation, passed statewide ballot initiatives, crafted local ordinances, and represented these interests before state regulators on hundreds of cases. For more information, visit renewmo.org.


Global Architecture Community Sets Ambitious New Target: Zero Emissions by 2040

In response to Architecture 2030’s ambitious new carbon positive targets that were previewed at the Carbon Positive Summit in Chicago and publicly announced this week, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough, who attended the summit and was present for the rollout of the targets, released the following statement:

“This is a historic moment in the fight against climate change. It is inspiring to see the global architecture community coming together to embrace a vision of zero emissions by 2040. But what Architecture 2030 has laid out is more than a vision, it’s also a much-needed framework that outlines the steps we must take to decarbonize some of the hardest to abate materials on the planet: steel, concrete, and aluminum.

“Construction material companies need to be looking at the targets outlined by Architecture 2030, including the near-term embodied carbon targets of 50 percent reduction by 2025 and 65 percent reduction by 2030. These companies – like Arcelor Mittal, Nucor, US Steel, Tata Steel, POSCO, and many others– must begin calibrating their own decarbonization plans accordingly or risk being left behind.

“For the steel industry, this is a critical demand signal from key customers. About half of all steel ends up in the built environment, and customers embracing these new targets will be looking for lowest carbon steel possible. The market for decarbonization is booming, and every steel company in the world should be looking at these targets and figuring out how they will meet the coming demand.

“These new targets and the companies that are rushing to embrace them are an encouraging sign and proof that the private sector can play a significant role in addressing climate change -- even in the absence of government action.”


World Green Building Council Sounds the Alarm on Embodied Carbon

Today, the World Green Building Council released its new report, Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront. In response, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough released the following statement:

"Today's report from the World Green Building Council is a seismic shift toward sustainable construction. WGBC has done the critical work of convening industry stakeholders, forging consensus, and pushing forward a bold collective vision for how to reduce the embodied carbon in construction materials like steel and cement.

"When we released our Construction Destruction report last year at USGBC's Greenbuild conference, our aim was to shake up the construction industry into acting as fast as possible. Today is a welcome sign of forward momentum from the global construction industry's leading climate voice.

"The impressive list of industry endorsements WGBC has garnered suggests this is a watershed moment. Each of these companies must now develop a public plan and commitment for how they will work to achieve the net zero building future in the near, mid, and long term. It is estimated that, without urgent action immediately, embodied carbon will be responsible for at least half, if not more, of total new construction emissions between now and 2050. There is no time to lose."


Cold Steel, Hot Climate

New Report: Steel Industry Vulnerable, Must Prepare for Decarbonization

Top 20 companies are not on pace to hit critical emissions reductions needed for 1.5-degree threshold

CDP, formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project, published a new report assessing 20 of the largest and high-impact publicly listed steel companies on their readiness for a low-carbon transition. The report, entitled “Melting Point,” identified SSAB, ArcelorMittal, Hyundai Steel, and Tata Steel as the companies best positioned to succeed as the industry transitions to low carbonization; the least prepared companies were Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel, U.S. Steel, and Beijing Shougang. U.S. Steel, along with Nucor, declined to respond to CDP’s 2018 climate change questionnaire.

In response to the report, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough released the following statement:

“This report is a clear signal to the steel industry and global investors that the time to act on the climate crisis is now. The transition to a low-carbon economy is coming, and implications for the entire construction sector are massive. In the next 18 months, each of the companies named in this report must step up and put forward public plans for deep decarbonization.

“This report also exposes the vulnerability of customers. Top steel consumers like Skanska, the global green construction leader, source steel directly from companies identified by CDP. General Motors and its joint ventures continue to buy from many of the companies named in the report for not doing enough to decarbonize.

“Leaders and investors in the auto and construction industries need to step up in an unprecedented way to begin the hard but critical work of decarbonizing their steel supply chains.”

The IPCC reported that in order to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, industrial emissions must be cut in half in the next ten years. In 2018, Mighty Earth launched a global campaign focused on cleaning up the steel industry, which accounts for an estimated 8 percent of global emissions, and is pushing major producers and their customers to commit to carbon neutrality. Mighty Earth published a report in October 2018 calling for Nucor to adopt new practices and for its customers to hold it accountable to climate action.

Earlier this year, steel producer ArcelorMittal pledged carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050 and consumer Skanska UK pledged total carbon neutrality for its supply chain by 2045.

CDP and Mighty Earth are both members of ResponsibleSteel, a coalition which will set standards and certification plans for the steel industry by 2020. To access the CDP report, please visit https://bit.ly/2Yf031X.


Mighty Earth to Help Set Environmental, Climate Standards for Steel

Environmental organization joins ResponsibleSteel, which will set standards and certification plans for industry by 2020

LONDON – Today, Mighty Earth officially became a member of ResponsibleSteel, a global, multi-stakeholder, not-for-profit standard and certification initiative for the responsible sourcing and production of steel.

Mighty Earth joins ResponsibleSteel to help address the outsized climate impact of steel and, ultimately, the entire heavy industrial sector. Mighty Earth is the first U.S.-based organization to join the initiative.

“Mighty Earth is excited to join this unprecedented and urgent effort to reduce climate pollution from the world's leading source of industrial emissions: steel,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “NGOs and industry must work together to cut industrial carbon emissions in half by 2030, and our hope is that ResponsibleSteel will be the vehicle for the steel industry to do its part to solve the climate crisis.”

Steel is the leading source of industrial emissions, accounting for 8 percent of all global emissions. It’s representative of the heavy industrial sector, long perceived as the most difficult to abate sector. All told, industrial sectors account for 38 percent of global energy use, a quarter of global emissions, and 30 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions. The scale of energy use means that mitigating the climate impact of industry is as important as addressing deforestation or transportation.

Mighty Earth is one of the only NGOs focused on the heavy industrial sector and steel, but progress has been made. A few weeks ago, Skanska UK committed to carbon neutrality for the full scope of its supply chain – exactly what Mighty Earth had asked for at the outset of the campaign. More recently, ArcelorMittal, the largest steel company in the world, committed to carbon neutrality in Europe and released the steel industry’s first-ever climate action plan. And just this month, the American Institute of Architects overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for “urgent and sustained climate action.”

ResponsibleSteel’s certification mechanism will cover the production of steel as well as the sourcing of raw materials. The ResponsibleSteel standard, currently under development, addresses: Business Integrity; Stakeholder Communication and Engagement; Responsible Sourcing; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Emissions, Effluent, Waste; Water Stewardship; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; Human Rights; Local Communities; Labour Rights; Occupational Health and Safety.

Other members of the organization include steel businesses like ArcelorMittal, BlueScope Steel, voestalpine, Aperam, BMW, Daimler and HSBC, as well as civil society organizations IndustriALL, IUCN, Fauna and Flora International, CDP and the We Mean Business Coalition.

For more on Mighty Earth’s campaign to decarbonize heavy industry, please visit www.mightyearth.org/steel

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