ArcelorMittal Europe is working intensively to achieve its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030, with an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050. The company has spent several years testing technologies to produce steel in a carbon-neutral way and is building pilot projects at different sites around Europe that are part of the company’s two breakthrough carbon-neutral technology routes: Smart Carbon, and innovative DRI.

We believe pursuing both routes to carbon neutrality is an advantage, as it means we can significantly reduce our scope 1 CO2 emissions, which include all process emissions, by 2030, without having to wait for the large-scale, affordable, renewable energy needed for hydrogen-based steelmaking. Urgent action to reduce CO2 emissions is needed within the next decade, and with our roadmap to 2030, we recognise that the time is now.

Having the right policies to support Europe’s steel industry to become carbon neutral is paramount. ArcelorMittal Europe therefore welcomes the European Commission’s policy proposals, outlined in its 2030 Climate Target Plan announced on 17 September 2020, which – if successfully implemented – will provide a supportive policy framework for the company to achieve its climate targets.  

We believe there are four key policy enablers that are needed, to provide the legislative platform for ArcelorMittal Europe to achieve its climate targets:

1. The Carbon Border Adjustment - a key policy mechanism for decarbonisation, while also creating a fair competitive landscape by aligning the carbon costs of EU domestic steel producers with that of imports.

Therefore, the European Commission’s announcement that a legislative proposal will be made in 2021 to introduce a Carbon Border Adjustment (CBA) Mechanism, is a significant step forward in recognising that a supportive policy framework is needed as soon as possible. The CBA can be designed in a WTO-compatible way, a fact that we hope will ensure a CBA is implemented swiftly.

2. Access to abundant and affordable clean energy, to enable the roll-out of low-emissions steelmaking.

The EC’s proposals in its 2030 Climate Target Plan, to further increase the EU’s share of renewable energy by making it easier for member states to work together and deploy renewable energy projects, is encouraging.

3. Access to sustainable finance for low-emissions steelmaking.

We are hopeful that our submissions for funding from the newly-created ETS Innovation Fund are successful, and welcome the EU’s plan to develop a reliable EU Green Bond Standard.

4. Accelerate the transition to a circular economy: EU climate and materials policy should be integrated, taking a lifecycle perspective to ensure that materials are used in a circular way as much as possible.

The European Commission’s announcement yesterday that it wants to make Europe a leader in the circular economy is therefore positive progress.

As the Commission works on the detail of its Green Deal over the coming weeks, we hope that the final proposals recognise the value of steel to modern society, as an infinitely recyclable material that has the proven potential to be made with zero emissions.