Steel lobby says EU CO2 targets require technology breakthroughs

Thu Jul 4, 2013 5:00am EDT

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By Silvia Antonioli and Ben Garside

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - European steelmakers need new, breakthrough technology to be able to meet the EU's proposed target of cutting their carbon emissions by about 90 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels, industry body Eurofer said.

"Such levels of abatement would require as a minimum condition for their achievement yet unproven or breakthrough technologies to be commercially available at competitive costs for the EU steel industry," Eurofer said in a paper following a study prepared by the Boston Consulting Group.

The group asked the European Union to offer more funds to help develop affordable technology and, in the meantime, to refrain from setting high unilateral targets that would push steel investors out of Europe.

With existing technology, the steel sector - one of the three largest polluters in Europe along with the power and cement industries - could cut emissions by about 28 percent by 2050, the paper said.

While power companies are able to cut emissions to zero by investing in proven technologies such as nuclear, wind and solar, steelmakers say such deep cuts in their emissions would require unproven methods such as capturing the gases and burying them underground.

"For the time being there are no economically feasible steelmaking technologies available that have the potential to meet the carbon reduction pathway envisaged by the Commission," it said.

Eurofer also was alarmed by early drafts of an EU law setting 2030 emission targets that it says will put unbearable costs on the industry, which is already suffering due to shrinking demand. It wants carbon-cutting efforts to be uniform across the globe.

"The EU should continue its efforts to bring as many nations as possible, including emerging economies, to agree to a meaningful balanced climate deal," Eurofer said. (editing by Jane Baird)

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