German Steel Federation comments on Steel Forum results

by David Fleschen

Today, representatives of politics, trade unions and the steel industry discussed the implementation of the German government's steel action plan at a virtual steel forum. The concept is an important basis for providing political support on the way to a climate-neutral steel industry.

"After this challenging year, also for the steel industry in Germany, it is good that we have exchanged views on the implementation status of the Steel Action Plan in a joint discussion with federal and state ministers. Once again it became clear that politics, business and society have the common goal of making low-CO2 steel production possible under fair conditions. Without concrete political measures in trade, energy and climate policy, particularly at EU level, there is a risk that important climate protection investments will not be made and jobs will be lost as the burden on steel companies increases," warns Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Steel Federation. In this context, networking between the political levels is also crucial: "Initiatives by the federal government, the states and the EU must be interlinked. In particular, a European framework urgently needs to be created for the comprehensive promotion of investments and higher operating costs of low-CO2 production processes. Unfortunately, there is still too much talk in Brussels about targets instead of ways to achieve them", Kerkhoff continues.

The importance and urgency of getting the necessary framework conditions for the transformation underway is shown by a recent study by Prognos AG commissioned by the German Steel Federation: If the decarbonization of the steel industry is forced solely by rising CO2 prices, there is an inevitable threat of a decline in production and employment. The associated economic damage in the form of lost value added would be many times higher than the costs of converting to low-CO2 production processes. In addition, if steel is produced in other regions of the world with lower climate protection requirements and then imported to Europe, this also massively damages the climate. Kerkhoff: "Decarbonization through de-industrialization is both economic and climate policy nonsense: every percent of CO2 reduced in steel in this way is associated with the loss of several thousand jobs within the value chain. Thus, Europe will not find imitators worldwide for a path to a climate-neutral economy." To protect the industry from carbon leakage, the association is therefore calling for sufficient allocation of free allowances and relief on electricity prices as part of EU emissions trading, supplemented by a suitable form of border adjustment.

Source: WV Stahl, Photo: Fotolia

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