Steelmaker ArcelorMittal Unveils Its First Climate Action Report

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Earlier this month was World Environment Day, a global United Nations event defined as the “’people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth.”

There’s a host nation each year for the event — this year it’s China, LOL — but also Dave Matthews is a celebrity ambassador, so it’s pretty legit.

In any case, the Alliance for American Manufacturing has long held that American companies and workers have a role to play in reducing carbon emissions and improving the environment. Many already are leading the way, from individual companies like Aardvark Straws, which is helping Americans ditch harmful plastic straws, to the 1,200 U.S. factories and 288,000 American workers who are building clean, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Then there’s steel company ArcelorMittal, which recently unveiled its Climate Action Report, the company’s game plan for cutting its global emissions in line with targets adopted by world leaders in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest producer of steel, and it has an extensive presence in the United States, employing more than 18,000 people at 27 operations in 14 states and Washington, D.C. As such, it’s a leader for the entire steel industry, which accounts for 7 percentof total global emissions worldwide (although it’s worth pointing out that China — which has a steel overcapacity problem to begin with — is driving quite a lot of those emissions).  

But I digress.

As ArcelorMittal outlines in the report, the company already has taken a number of steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including making major investments to adopt new technologies and producing innovative new products like S-in motion, an advanced high-strength but lighter steel that is used in automobiles, helping to further cut emissions.

Looking ahead, ArcelorMittal is aiming to do even more, including becoming carbon neutral in Europe by 2050. Next year, it also plans to unveil a new 2030 target for reducing its overall emissions.

Doing so is a major challenge, especially considering the demand for steel is expected to rise to 2.6 billion metric tons by 2050. ArcelorMittal plans to tackle the challenge in three pathways, enabling the company “to pursue the appropriate option depending on the pace of technology and public policy development” in its various locations:

  1. Clean Power Steelmaking: Using clean energy sources to power hydrogen-based steelmaking, and longer term for direct electrolysis steelmaking;
  2. Circular Carbon Steelmaking:  Using circular carbon energy sources like waste biomass to displace fossil fuels in steelmaking;
  3. Fossil Fuel Carbon Capture: When the current method of steelmaking is still in place, capturing and storing the carbon rather than emitting it into the atmosphere.

But while ArcelorMittal is taking on the technology challenges, policymakers also will have a role to play in helping the industry reduce emissions. CEO Lakshmi Mittal writes in the Financial Times that the “technology challenge… may be the easier part of the problem to solve. The harder part relates to the political complexities, which are considerable.”

Mittal writes:

If the world is to successfully address climate change, the answer is not for one region to outsource its carbon footprint to another and claim victory. Rather, any country or region that wants to play a leading role in reducing emissions needs policies in place that build a low-carbon industry.

What this means in practice is that lawmakers must create an environment that fosters innovation and ensures a level playing field. No industry can decarbonise by itself. There must be collaboration and partnership between political, business and civil society leadership to establish a system that supports and enables sustainable decarbonization.

Mittal is right, of course. A lot of players are going to have to get onboard to reduce carbon emissions — this isn’t the job of any one individual company, country, or industry.

But the good news is that there are companies like ArcelorMittal who are willing to lead the way — not just with words, but by taking real action.

Read the full action report.   

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

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