Europe's steel industry is being constrained by climate change policies, the president of the European Steel Association (Eurofer) told delegates at the European Steel Day in Brussels on Thursday May 16.

Energy costs in the European Union are up to four times higher than elsewhere in the world, Wolfgang Eder said, adding that European targets for carbon dioxide reduction are "technologically unrealistic for the steel industry".

Concepts for carbon dioxide reduction “must be technologically based”, Eder said.

The EU target for carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 is a reduction of 85-90% compared with 1990 levels.

However, the steel industry can only achieve a 15% reduction on 1990 levels using current technology, Eder said.

If full carbon dioxide capture and storage technology were available, he said, the industry could achieve a 60% reduction in carbon emissions. However, he noted that this would still fall short of the EU target.

Carbon capture and storage is yet to be implemented on a commercial scale, Eder added, and he called for the European Commission to support the steel industry's action plan, which will be published in June.

Naomi Christie
Twitter: @NChristie_SF