Eurofer, Brussels

European steel industry hopes for global agreement at COP21

The COP21 climate change conference has just begun, and the European Steel Association (Eurofer) reasserts the hope that negotiators can come to a comprehensive and global agreement. A legally binding arrangement with comparable commitments and obligations has the greatest potential to tackle the climate change challenge. “Eurofer calls on policy makers to make sure that any Paris agreement not only mitigates, insofar as possible, the risk of carbon leakage but also incentivises investments in Europe. Energy-intensive industries exposed to fierce global competition, such as steel, should be able to compete in a fair way whilst on their way to decarbonisation”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of Eurofer.

The steel industry has outlined a number of objectives that it wishes to see in any agreement:

  • A legally binding framework with transparent and comparable emissions reduction commitments from major emitters leading to comparable reduction obligations for competing industries countries worldwide.

  • Effective and equivalent international measurement, reporting and verification obligations to all parties

  • Use of market-based instruments (international credits) with a view to cost-effective mitigation action

  • A binding dispute settlement regime and clear sanctioning rules

  • Protection of intellectual property rights for technology dissemination and deployment.

Mr Eggert added, “Presently, Europe is unilaterally imposing costs on its energy-intensive industries. Without an international agreement, with comparable commitments and obligations from third countries, there is the risk that this unilateral policy could dissolve Europe’s industry in climate costs, whilst simultaneously failing in the EU’s aim to reduce global emissions.”

“The European steel industry is a supporter of action on climate change: indeed, a recent BCG study demonstrated how the use of steel in eight advanced applications could mitigate 443 million t of CO2 per year. However, we must emphasise that these CO2 reduction efforts must be done worldwide in order to be effective,” concluded Mr Eggert.

Eurofer, Brussels