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'From zero carbon heat laggard to leader': Green groups urge government to back heat pumps in recovery plans

'From zero carbon heat laggard to leader': Green groups urge government to back heat pumps in recovery plans

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, CPRE and Possible propose 'cash for clunkers' scheme, and urge government to prioritise heat pumps over hydrogen in its green heating plans

In a last ditch pitch ahead of the unveiling of the next phase of the government's economic recovery package next week, green groups have written to the Chancellor today to urge him to prioritise investments that can decarbonise the nation's housing stock.

A letter signed by Greenpeace, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, E3G, and Possible urges Chancellor Rishi Sunak to transform the UK from "zero-carbon heat laggard to leader" by adopting a range of measures that can stimulate the heat pump market.

The groups warn the decarbonisation of heat is "the biggest gap" the UK faces in meeting its net zero target. Space heating and hot water in buildings accounts for 21 per cent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, they said, yet only 100,000 heat pumps were installed last year, a tiny fraction of the one million annual target required to meet the UK's net zero target.

The letter urges the government to commit to halving emissions from heating by 2030, an intermediate goal that would get the country "on track" to net zero.

Ed Matthew, associate director at climate think tank E3G, predicted energy efficiency measures and the installation of heat pumps could create more jobs across the UK than any other capital infrastructure programme.

"It is the perfect economic stimulus to boost jobs and can help get us on track to net-zero and solve fuel poverty," he said. "No other infrastructure programme can do so much for people in every part of the country. If the Government is serious about building our way out of the recession, it must prioritise the re-building of our homes to make them zero carbon."

To kick start a zero-carbon heating transformation, the charities are calling for a £100m Clean Heat Grant programme for heat pumps, which was announced in the last Budget, to be brought forward to this year to enable a 'Cash for Clunkers' heat scheme that would provide grants to those who exchange old fossil fuel-fired boilers for heat pumps.

The campaign groups also want the government to set a target to bring all homes to at least EPC Band C by the end of the decade, and deliver on its manifesto pledge of investing £9.2bn on energy efficiency upgrades for low-income households, schools, and hospitals.

A further $500m should be provided annually, they said, to incentivise the take-up of energy efficiency improvements by able-to-pay households. The group estimates that targeted incentive schemes could unlock five times as much private investment in home upgrades, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

Finally, a further £2.3bn should be invested in a public-private financing plan that can spur the installation of 10 million heat pumps in homes before the end of decade, the group said.

Today's appeal comes less than a week after reports emerged suggesting the government was considering watering down its £9.2bn upgrade programme, after sources indicted the Prime Minister's top advisor Dominic Cummings regarded building upgrades as "boring" and was in favour of shifting the funding to support new housebuilding projects.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, urged the government to implement its planned Future Homes Standard - currently scheduled for 2025 - as soon as possible. "The chancellor has a real opportunity to turn this around to create new green jobs, especially in hard hit rural communities, while helping to get us back on track in facing up to the climate crisis," he said. "Looking ahead, a Future Homes Standard is needed as soon as possible, so that new housing becomes part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Only then can the government claim to be building back better." 

In the letter, the charities stressed that heat pumps, rather than hydrogen, should be the government's main medium-term focus for the decarbonisation of heating.

They argued that while the government should invest in the development of green hydrogen for use by heavy industry and freight, it "does not make economic or environmental sense to use hydrogen to heat the majority of the buildings on the gas network".

They also warned blue hydrogen, sourced from methane with a carbon capture and storage (CCS) system fitted to bury the emissions, is not "net zero compatible" at the scale required for heating buildings, due to the high level of greenhouse gas emissions that leak from the gas supply chain.

The argument echoes that put forward by British Gas parent company Centrica in a briefing document this week, which similarly argued that heat pumps should be the main focus of heat decarbonisation efforts in the short to medium term.

However, a number of leading gas network firms have put forward an alternative plan to policymakers in recent months, arguing that switching the existing gas network to hydrogen and biomethane provides a more cost-effective long term route for decarbonising heating. 

Poll: Energy efficiency, renewables, and nature restoration are 'people's priorities' for Covid-19 package

Poll: Energy efficiency, renewables, and nature restoration are 'people's priorities' for Covid-19 package

Survey commissioned by Conservative Environment Network reveals overwhelming majority of British public want next week's recovery package to back measures that tackle pollution and climate change

As the government gears up to unveil the latest phase of its coronavirus recovery plan next week, new findings have demonstrated that a signficant majority of the British public want it to comprise measures that tackle pollution and climate change.

A poll published today by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) reveals that 67 per cent of Brits think a recovery package that fails to tackle pollution and climate change would be bad for the economy in the long run. Even more people - some 69 per cent of respondents - said such a plan would be a sign the government has the "wrong priorities".

More than half of those polled - 53 per cent - said government bailouts to polluting companies like airlines and carmakers should come with environmental conditions attached.

Renewable energy topped a list of the public's preferred sectors for job creation, securing support from 46 per cent of respondents. Nature conservation and energy efficiency were the next most popular choices, polling at 37 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

The consensus in favour of a green recovery package held true regardless of age, region, and political affiliation, CEN said, noting that 62 per cent of respondents who voted Conservative in the last general election said a plan that failed to deliver on the environmental issues would be 'the wrong thing to do'.

"From this polling there is clear agreement - among leaver and remainer, northerner and southerner, Tory and Labour - on the need to build back better after coronavirus," said Jerome Mayhew, Conservative MP for Broadland and a CEN Caucus member. "As the G7 country with the fastest per capita GDP growth and the fastest decarbonisation rate since 1990, we know there is no contradiction between a thriving economy and a healthy environment. That is why I hope the Chancellor's recovery package next week will tackle pollution and climate change, whilst creating jobs and prosperity across the UK."  

When it came to preferred types of infrastructure investments, more than half of those surveyed said they wanted local schools, hospitals, and care homes to be made more energy efficient and 49 per cent singled out energy efficiency upgrades for older homes as a priority. Some 45 per cent of people singled out improving bus and train services and 38 per cent of people wanted to see investment in walking and cycle routes.

Building more roads and expanding local airports, on the other hand, were the least popular projects selected by survey respondents.

"The public clearly wants the government to prioritise green over brown sectors," said Katherine Fletcher, Conservative MP for South Ribble. "That's why the recovery package should support investment in the rapidly-growing low-carbon sectors that are already creating jobs across the country, such as our world leading offshore wind sector in the North of England."

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister promised that the forthcoming recovery package would "build back greener", flagging plans for cycle superhighways, new zero carbon homes, zero emission buses, boosted flood defences, and tree planting programmes. However, further details of the government's recovery plan will be unveiled next week by the Chancellor and campaigners remain fearful that the package could see decisions on a raft of key green policies and programmes deferred until the autumn.

CEN director Sam Hall urged the government to heed the survey's results and ensure next week's announcement matches the "welcome green recovery rhetoric" adopted by Ministers and the Prime Minister in recent months.

"To avoid voters' disapproval, the Chancellor must use his statement next week to set out a comprehensive and ambitious package of measures to level up the country, create jobs, and get us on track to net zero," Hall said. "This polling shows strong support for prioritising local green infrastructure over brown. I hope the government now seizes this opportunity to deliver on the people's priorities for the recovery."

Phillip Dunne, Conservative MP for Ludlow and chair the Environment Audit Committee (EAC), also urged the government to emulate the public's enthusiasm for energy efficiency measures and invest in building energy efficiency programmes in its forthcoming recovery package. "Given the huge potential of energy efficiency to make homes cheaper and healthier for people to live in, and to create jobs across the country, it is time for the Government to introduce new measures in next week's recovery package to enable people to insulate their homes," he said.

"It is particularly imperative action is taken soon to address energy efficiency in homes as it is crucial to meeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and is why my Select Committee has recently launched an inquiry on this important issue."  

Reports last week indicated the plans for a £9.2bn upgrade programme promised in the Conservative Manifesto are at risk of being watered down, after sources indicted that the Prime Minister's top advisor Dominic Cummings regarded building upgrades "boring".

Any move to water down promised energy efficiency funding would go against the advice of the EAC, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), and a host of studies over recent months and years that have highlighted how energy efficiency upgrades represent one of the most effective forms of 'shovel-ready' infrastructure for both creating jobs and tackling carbon emissions.

The poll, which was conducted by Ipsos Mori, surveyed more than 2,100 British adults between the age of 16 and 75.

Global Briefing: UN shines spotlight on e-waste opportunity

Global Briefing: UN shines spotlight on e-waste opportunity

Plus all the top green business news from around the world this week

UN report reveals how $10bn of precious metals are lost to e-waste each year

The UN has this week published its annual Global E-waste Monitor report, revealing that at least $10bn of gold, platinum, and other precious metals were lost each year as part of the world's growing e-waste mountain. The study revealed that a record 54 million tonnes of e-waste was produced last year, up 21 per cent in just five years.

Technology companies have stepped up recycling efforts in recent years, while a growing number of governments have introduced e-waste legislation. But the report concluded that the amount of e-waste is rising three times faster than the world's population, with just 17 per cent of e-waste recycled in 2019.

Low recycling rates for e-waste are leading to both the loss of billions of dollars of resources and increased environmental risks, as toxic chemicals contained in many electronic products are left to leach into soils and waterways.

"E-waste is a very big problem because the amount is growing at a very rapid pace each year, and the level of recycling is just not keeping up pace," said Kees Baldé at the UN University and an author of report. "It's important to put a price on the pollution - at the moment it is simply free to pollute."


New Irish government to step up climate ambitions

Ireland's new coalition government has vowed to drastically strengthen the country's climate plans, promising to pass a new net zero emissions law within 100 days and deliver an ambitious green recovery plan.

Following months of negotiations following February's inconclusive election, a three party coalition government was confirmed last weekend bringing together the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party. Under the coalition agreement, the three parties committed to reduce Ireland's emissions by an average seven per cent a year to meet a new target of 51 per cent emissions cuts by 2030. They also promised to confirm the country's net zero emissions by 2050 goal in law through a new Climate Action bill that will set economy-wide five-year carbon budgets and establish a cap on how much each sector can emit.


RWE and E.ON complete renewables mega-deal

German's RWE completed its high profile asset swap deal with E.ON, finalising one of the largest deals in German industrial history, as both companies seek to strengthen their position in Europe's accelerating clean energy transition.

The last phase of the deal, which has been two years in the making, sees RWE take over E.ON's renewables activities, including its wind, solar, and hydropower businesses as well as the biomass, biogas and gas storage activities and its stake in Austrian power utility Kelag, which boasts a major hydroelectric power business.

Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE, was clear on the rationale behind the deal. "The new RWE has been completed," he said. "It is a new, bigger and more diverse company, with a clear goal. By 2040, we will be carbon neutral. This will take us far beyond what other companies are aiming for."


Spain and Germany advance coal phase out plans

Four of Spain's top utilities - Naturgy, Iberdrola, Viesgo and Endesa, a subsidiary of Italy's Enel Group - this week jointly announced plans to close eight of Spain's 15 remaining coal-fired power plants.

In a further sign of the intense pressure facing European coal operators, the companies said the closures were necessary on the grounds the plants are unprofitable and subject to tightening European industrial emissions rules that would require costly upgrades.

The move comes as developers look to step up renewables development on the Iberian Peninsular, where renewables costs are now undercutting fossil fuel fired power plants. Analysts predict Spain's remaining coal power stations could close down as early as 2025. The Spanish government this week also signalled that it plans to pass new legislation by the end of the year designed to ramp up investment in clean energy capacity.

Meanwhile, Germany's government removed one of the last hurdles to finalising the country's coal exit law this week, completing a draft agreement that provides operators of relatively new hard coal plants more compensation while increasing incentives for operators to shut down early or convert plants to run on hydrogen, biomass, or natural gas.


Poland hails 'birth of offshore wind' industry

Representatives of the Polish government and Polish wind energy industry this week signed a "Letter of Intent on cooperation for development of offshore wind power in Poland" designed to lay out the foundation for the development of offshore wind in Poland.

The letter was signed by Poland's Minister of Climate Michał Kurtyka, Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation Marek Gróbarczyk, Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin as well as representatives of investors and industry.

"Today marks the birth of offshore wind in Poland. Offshore wind has shown its reliability and efficiency elsewhere in Europe," said says Giles Dickson, CEO WindEurope. "With this joint 'Letter of Intent' Polish government and industry send a strong sign to investors and markets - that they want lots of offshore wind too and are putting in place a regulatory framework to support it."


US Democrats unveil new climate plan

House Democrats this week unveiled arguably their most ambitious climate action plan yet, as the Party sought to lay down a marker ahead of a Presidential election where climate policy is set to be a major dividing line.

The Democrat plan would see the US essentially adopta net zero emissions goal for 2050, backed by a raft of sectoral policies and targets. For example, the action plan recommends delivering zero emissions from new buildings by 2030, from new vehicles by 2035, and from electricity by 2040.

The proposals have no chance of passing through a divided Congress, but Democrats hope they can provide a template for Senator Joe Biden to adopt if he is elected in November. Biden has backed a net zero goal and unveiled a climate strategy broadly similar to that proposed by House Democrats.

California's new truck rule: It's big, it's bold, it's controversial

California's new truck rule: It's big, it's bold, it's controversial

California's epic clean truck rule has arrived. It's big. It's bold. It's controversial. 

After months of discussion, last week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved the Advanced Clean Truck rule, which says that more than half of the trucks sold in California have to be zero-emission by 2035. By 2045, all new commercial trucks sold in California must be zero-emission. 

The truck rule follows another California law (passed in 2018) that says all new public transit buses sold must be zero-emission starting in 2029. The combination of these policies makes California one of the most aggressive regions in the world pushing electric trucks and buses. 

Environmentalists hailed the decision, calling it a win that will help clean up the air for disadvantaged communities that live in areas with a large amount of trucks. For example, in the Inland Empire in Southern California, where there's an Amazon distribution hub, growth in e-commerce has led to tens of thousands of trucks per day on the roads.

CARB estimates that two million diesel trucks cause 70 per cent of the smog-causing pollution in the state. Transportation emissions represent 40 per cent of California's greenhouse gas emissions, and without taking aggressive steps the state will not be able to meet its climate goals. 

The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge. Adoption has been delayed partly because of costly and short-range batteries, and hesitancy from many traditional commercial automakers. But in the past year, truck makers such as Daimler and Volvo Trucks have started to take electric trucks much more seriously. 

Nonprofit CALSTART predicts that 169 medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle models will be available by the end of 2020, growing 78 per cent from the end of 2019. All-electric truck companies such as BYD, Rivian and Tesla are set to capitalise on the trend.   

So who's not so enamored with the rule?

  • Some traditional truck and auto parts makers: The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association has been pushing against more stringent regulations in the face of COVID-19, citing concerns over added costs. 
  • Some oil industry and low-carbon fuel companies: The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry lobbying group, has opposed the rule, saying it would eliminate promising efficiency and low-carbon fuel technologies. 
  • Smaller truck fleet operators: Many are worried about the higher upfront costs to buy zero-emission trucks and new fueling infrastructure.

It'll be a challenge no doubt. And potentially might be challenged itself. 

But I'll leave you with a quote from CARB's Mary Nichols about the rule (from The New York Times). This might be Nichols' last major regulation before she retires later this year: "This is exactly the right time for this rule... We certainly know that the economy is in a rough shape right now, and there aren't a lot of new vehicles of any kind. But when they are able to buy vehicles again, we think it's important that they be investing in the cleanest kinds of vehicles."

This article is adapted from GreenBiz's weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here.

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How Pandora hopes to reach 100 per cent recycled silver and gold

How Pandora hopes to reach 100 per cent recycled silver and gold

The jewellery giant is reaching out to its supply chain to help bolster its circular economy ambitions

By 2025, Pandora, the world's largest jewelry brand by volume, will use 100 per cent recycled silver and gold in its products. At least that's the goal the Danish company set at the beginning of June.

As it stands, 71 percent of the silver and gold in Pandora jewelry comes from recycled sources. And the company sells a lot of jewelry: Fast Company noted that last year, it sold 96 million pieces of jewelry, or roughly 750,000 pounds of silver, more than any other company in the industry.

Pandora said it uses palladium, copper and man-made stones, such as nano-crystals and cubic zirconia, in its products but the volume of those materials is small compared to its use of silver, which accounts for over half of all purchased product materials measured by weight. The jewelry company also uses gold at a smaller volume.

Pandora's 100 per cent recycled silver and gold commitment comes after the disclosure in January of its aspirational pledge to become carbon neutral in the company's own operations by 2025.

"With that, we then, of course, sit down and look at what are the main levers that we can pull to reach carbon neutrality and to reduce the footprint of the value chain connected with crafting our jewelry, delivering our jewelry, and then this comes in as one of those components," said Mads Twomey-Madsen, head of sustainability at Pandora.

To further move toward its larger goal of reaching carbon neutrality, Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is thinking about how the company might reduce its footprint in other parts of the business. For example, as the world reopens after shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company plans to reduce the energy it uses in its retail stores as it related to lighting and heating.

The company is developing new store concepts to shift the lighting installations and also adjusting its procurement policies for electricity in its network so that its stores are more energy efficient, and that it is sourced from renewable sources sourced wherever possible, according to Twomey-Madsen.

He noted that shifting from partially virgin metals to 100 per cent recycled metals will make a big difference in Pandora's carbon footprint. The company anticipates that when it reaches this goal, it will reduce its CO2 emissions, water usage and other environmental impacts. Recycling metals uses fewer resources than mining new metals. Namely, it takes a third of the CO2 to extract the same silver from consumer electronics, when compared to mining silver, according to Pandora.

So, how will the company close the 29 per cent gap between the amount of recycled silver and gold is uses now and what it hopes to use five years from now? It plans to engage with key stakeholders in its supply chain, which will be vital.

"Every aspect of the supply chain needs to be connected to create a more sustainable future," said Iris Van der Veken, executive director of the Responsible Jewelry Council, during a session at the UN Global Compact Leaders' Summit, according to trade magazine Jewelry Outlook.

Pandora is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, which sets sustainability standards for the industry on matters ranging from labor to toxics to emissions, and Twomey-Madsen said the company plans to engage with the council on certification as it works toward its latest goal.

The company was able to reach its current 71 per cent recycled content rate by obtaining that content on its own, melting the metals and then crafting the jewelry themselves. But the company also buys semi-finished jewelry pieces from other sources.

"That's the focus that we'll have now to work with those suppliers and make sure that in their operations, the pieces that we purchase from them [are] also sourced with recycled metals," Twomey-Madsen said.

One challenge is that the amount of recycled silver available is pretty low. With that in mind, Pandora plans to help build up the supply. And electronic waste could be a significant source for "mining" recycled silver (and gold). There is a lot of e-waste but only about 20 per cent of it is formally recycled, with the rest being informally recycled or going to the landfill, according to Twomey-Madsen. 

But stakeholders in this work are trying to get to work. Twomey-Madsen said Pandora is seeing interest from potential collaborators in the recycled materials space, with "some from e-waste and some with recovery from other forms of waste or collection of waste."

"We are also having interest from companies that work with new materials. We are, of course, really happy for this and are in dialogue to see if this could lead to new cooperations," wrote Twomey-Madsen by email, just before publication. 

As more key players get involved in trying to make a circular economy work for the jewelry industry, an important factor to think about is transparency in traceability. There must be processes to make sure that actors are well informed across the supply chain about the origins of the metals, he said. 

"That's probably where we need to work the most. We don't see it as something that we cannot get done," Twomey-Madsen said, while noting that this process will take time.

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Government attaches climate conditions to Celsa Steel emergency loan

Government attaches climate conditions to Celsa Steel emergency loan

However, government declines to provide further details on precise nature of climate and net zero targets attached to firm's rescue support

The government has agreed to provide an emergency loan to Celsa Steel with a string of unspecified climate change and net zero target conditions attached, as Ministers bid to help the struggling metals firm weather the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus crisis.

The deal marks the inaugural loan made under the Treasury's Project Birch initiative, a rescue programme geared at bailing out "strategically important" companies that have exhausted all other options.

The government would not disclose the size of the loan nor the specifics of its environmental conditions to BusinessGreen, however media reports have suggested it is worth in the region of £30m.

In a written ministerial statement published on Thursday, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said "commercial confidentiality" prohibited him from providing further details about the bailout. But he insisted Spanish-owned Celsa had met the conditions for bespoke government support due to its role as a key supplier to the construction industry.

Sharma also assured parliamentarians that "the government has agreed terms that will protect taxpayers' money and ensure that the financial burden is shared with the company's shareholders and lenders". 

The bailout will help secure more than 1,000 jobs at the company, according to the government, including some 800 positions at the company's sites in South Wales.

A series of commitments have also been secured from Celsa as part of the loan deal "to protect jobs, climate change and net zero targets, improved corporate governance, such as restraints on executive pay and bonuses, and tax obligations", the government said.

It would therefore appear to be the first UK government support package to come with green conditions attached, following months of appeals from green groups for climate-conditional bailouts to help steer high-carbon industries towards a greener, net zero future.

Few further details have been forthcoming about the green commitments secured from Celsa, however, and the lack of transparency on the financial detail and conditions of the taxpayer-funded loan has caused consternation among some observers, who have noted that larger loans are likely to follow over the coming weeks.

The steel industry is poised to be a major beneficiary for Project Birch. Tata Steel is in advanced negotiations for a £500m loan from the government and British Steel, which was sold in March to China's Jingye Group, is also seeking government support.

The news comes as Russian energy and aluminium Company EN+ called on the EU to eliminate tariffs on imports of low carbon aluminium in order to wean Europe off pollution-heavy raw aluminium as it rebuilds its economy to meet climate and net zero goals in the wake of the pandemic.

EN+ Group executive chairman Lord Barker - a former UK Energy and Climate Change Minister - said earlier this week that the elimination of tariffs would "send a clear signal that the EU means business when it comes to the green transition".

"With the EU needing to invest nearly €500bn a year in its low-carbon transition, there's a huge opportunity for this to be made far more effective by embracing green aluminium," he added.

In an action plan document published earlier this week, EN+ Group - which is the majority owner of aluminium company Rusal - proposed the EU establish a separate custom code for low-carbon raw aluminium. The move could save industry across Europe "tens of millions of euros a year", it said, while helping the industry reduce the carbon content of its products.

Aluminium is a key component to many clean technologies, including renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings and electric vehicles.

"We are launching this vision as the German government takes on the presidency of the EU," Lord Barker said. "Germany are proven climate leaders. They have put Europe's economic recovery as well as an ambitious and sustainable industrial strategy front and centre; this is where green aluminium has a crucial role to play."

Other initiatives backed by EN+ Group's vision document are the development of sustainability labelling on low-carbon primary aluminium, the creation of a global forum for sustainable industrial development, and increased research and development of emission reducing technologies such as inert anodes for aluminium smelters and innovations that could improve scrap metal recovery.

The move came after steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal Europe last week called on European policymakers to introduce a Carbon Border Adjustment that would prevent imported, high-carbon steel from undercutting low-carbon alternatives produced in the EU.

In its 'Roadmap for carbon neutral steelmaking' published in late June, the company called on the EU to deliver a favourable policy framework that would allow the European steelmaking industry to decarbonise and boost the competitiveness of low carbon steel.

"Today, the biggest barrier to transitioning to carbon-neutral steel, beyond the necessary technologies reaching commercial maturity, is the absence of the right market conditions," said Geert Van Poelvoorde, CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe's flat products division. "The financial costs of realising carbon neutral steelmaking are undeniably huge. However, with a shift in market conditions brought about by having the right policies in place, European steelmakers will be able to unlock the means to reduce emissions from steel globally, while also ensuring the European steel industry remains competitive."

The firm, which intends to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 from 2018 levels, and to hit net zero by mid-century, revealed that it would be investing in two approaches to reach its sustainability goals.

The first approach, dubbed 'Smart Carbon', involves replacing virgin carbon with 'circular carbon', clean electricity, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The second will see ArcelorMittal Europe invest in direct reduced iron (DRI) technologies. This would involve shifting operations to run using hydrogen, a fuel that is either produced by renewables or from natural gas paired with carbon capture and storage, it explained.

The company said both routes have the potential to deliver carbon neutral steel by 2050, and that it expects the majority of the technologies outlined in its plans to be ready for commercial-scale use by 2025. By 2030, it added, Smart Carbon technologies will be "partially deployed" across its European facilities.

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