ENERGY Carbon emissions are in the air and Wall Street is cautious

Sep 01, 2007 | 02:08 PM |

As if uncertainty over future energy prices weren't enough to worry about in recent years, metals industry analysts must now mull the potential impact of a possible carbon tax. One thing is certain, though the steel industry, in particular, has reduced its energy consumption.

Energy consumption has dropped to 13 million British thermal units (mmBtus) per ton of steel produced, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, down more than 27 percent since 1990 and more than 60 percent since 1970. Just how evenly the reductions are spread throughout the industry might be another matter, however.

"I don't think that the integrated mills have come down that much," Charles A. Bradford, president of Bradford Research/Soleil Securities Inc., New York, said. He gives credit for the overall decline in emissions to electric furnace mini-mills, which he estimated emit roughly 1 ton of carbon for every ton of steel produced vs. 3 tons of carbon per ton of steel for integrated producers.....

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