ArcelorMittal wants global steel emissions deal
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The steel industry should be covered by a global deal on carbon dioxide emissions, the head of global steel giant ArcelorMittal said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.
"An average Chinese steel plant emits twice as much carbon dioxide as a European one. But the Chinese steel can be imported into Europe without any problems," Lakshmi Mittal told Belgian business daily De Tijd.
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, was investing millions to reduce emissions at its plants, Mittal said.
"But I think that we need a sector deal on the environment for the whole of the steel industry," he continued.
Mittal said he believed a level should be set for the allowed emissions per ton of steel. Steel producers below that level should be given a credit, while those above would be forced to buy credits.
"In this way you make the sector invest in efficient solutions so as constantly to improve its technology," Mittal said, adding that European Commissioner for Industry, Guenter Verheugen, supported this idea and planned to set up a committee of experts next year with steel representatives.
Strict limits set by the Kyoto Protocol on the amount of greenhouse gases developed countries other than the United States can emit were already affecting ArcelorMittal's plans.
One of two blast furnaces in the eastern Belgian city of Liege may not be used beyond 2010 because buying carbon credits was too expensive. The Belgian government would have to come up with a solution, Mittal said.
"The problem in Liege has surfaced in the past months. In Poland it is no clearer if we have sufficient credits," Mittal said.
Mittal repeated the company's outlook of raising production by 20 percent to 130 million tons by 2012. Global steel consumption would rise by 4 to 5 percent per year, with an improvement of a sluggish U.S. market in 2008.
(Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Quentin Bryar)