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  • Climate change policy

    As UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said, climate change is the “defining issue of our era.” Whilst ourselves and others will do what we can individually, to have a real and measurable effect, governments also need to take action to minimize man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

    We believe that policy measures and legislation to drive down emissions of greenhouse gases will be an essential part of the solution. However, such measures need to be well formulated to ensure that they have the right effect for the long-term on the global issue of climate change.

    For the steel industry in particular, where large volumes are traded internationally, it is essential that policy does not create market distortions which could lead to unintended consequences. A global level playing field on carbon emissions is the only way to have a real effect rather than just shifting emissions from one location to another.

    One way for governments to ensure that their measures have a real, global impact is to ensure that they are based on a consumption-based view of carbon emissions rather than a production-based view.   According to the Carbon Trust, almost half of carbon emissions associated with the use of steel in Europe are embodied in imports of either steel or finished products. If policy measures only target local manufacture, then they only tackle half of the problem and risk making 3rd country imports even more attractive and so potentially increasing global emissions.

    Climate change is a global problem which will not be resolved quickly and so demands long-term action. We believe that all policy measures must take a long-term view to ensure that they do not store up problems for future generations. Product-based policy must consider full product life-cycle impacts to ensure long-term benefits.

    We believe that the most effective means of tackling climate change is to adopt a consumption-based approach and to incentivize low-carbon technology. This
    positive approach will lead markets towards a successful, low-carbon economy.