“We are walking when we should be sprinting.” With these words the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Hoesung Lee summed up the latest IPCC Synthesis Report. This IPCC report estimates that with currently implemented policies, the world is projected to warm by 3.2°C by 2100. Much greater efforts are needed to drive down greenhouse gas emissions faster.
The steel sector can play a key role in this. Often labeled as a hard-to-abate sector, the steel sector has the potential to turn into a fast-to-abate sector: our study demonstrates that a net-zero iron and steel sector by the early 2040s is technically feasible.
New key elements for an accelerated, lower-cost steel transformation include a swift roll-out of direct reduced iron technology, the creation of an international green iron trade, the phase-out of coal in steelmaking, and, above all, expanded international cooperation in tandem with targeted regulatory frameworks.
This study summarises the key findings of our work on the global steel sector. In future publications, we will provide more detailed analyses of low-carbon technologies, our 2050 decarbonisation pathways, the role of international green iron trade and the steel sector’s potential to generate negative emissions.