Leveraging Transatlantic Cooperation to Promote Industrial Decarbonization of High Carbon Industries: Pathways for Green Steel

industrial plant for the production of sheet metal in a steel mill - storage of sheet rolls

To prevent catastrophic climate change, the world needs to reach zero net emissions by midcentury. Achieving that goal will require rapid innovation and large-scale investments in every economic sector, including the massive global food and agriculture economy. Within that sector, the largest single factor determining climate success will be whether the world transitions to low greenhouse gas sustainable protein (SP). Fortunately, the rapidly emerging SP economy provides enormous economic opportunities for U.S. companies, farmers, and workers. American companies are global leaders in low GHG protein innovation and production. While the United States has a natural comparative advantage in SP, other nations are moving quickly to catch up. Strong public policies are needed to maintain U.S. leadership and accelerate innovations that will benefit the American economy and people.

For the world to meet its climate commitments, emissions from heavy industry must be dramatically reduced. The production of steel, which accounts for roughly 8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, is at the forefront of the challenge. The recent announcement of a joint European Union and United States initiative to reach a Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum provides a new window of opportunity for the transatlantic relationship to bolster the momentum of and discover alternative pathways to industrial decarbonization.

In this paper, which was written in collaboration with the Atlantic Council and the European Union, we examine the pathways to scale up production of green steel and create a global green steel market; summarize green steel developments in both Europe and the United States; identify trends in steel trade flows that may be important; highlight the importance of supporting steel workers during the transition; outline government policies that could be used to promote transition of the steel industry; and identify opportunities for transatlantic collaboration supporting such policies.

The paper will be launched at a public event on December 10th, 2021 featuring an expert panel of government and industry leaders from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss key findings. Additional details and registration information are available on the Atlantic Council website.