Taming emissions will take tech breakthroughs and level-playing-field politics

Nov 01, 2009 | 05:48 AM |

North American ferrous and nonferrous metal producers—individually and on a collaborative basis—have made concerted efforts to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are looking to continue doing so. The answer to whether these efforts are paying off might well be rooted in how you define paying off.

In terms of actual emissions, the steps taken so far do seem to be effective. A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal SA, for example, points to two reports one from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showing that domestic steel industry emissions declined 67 percent between 1995 and 2006, the other from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) boasting that the industry has sliced energy intensity (energy per ton shipped) by 33 percent since 1990. Lower energy intensity translates into lower GHG emissions.

ArcelorMittal recently set its own carbon reduction target, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (the major GHG produced in steelmaking) by 8 percent worldwide by 2020 from a 2007 baseline, the spokeswoman said.

Like their neighbors to the south, Canadian steelmakers also have made significant strides, curtailing their GHG emissions by about 20 percent since 1990, according to Robert Schutzman, chairman of the environment and energy committee of the Canadian Steel Producers Association and director of environmental affairs and trade for the Canadian operations of Evraz Inc. North America.....

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