Business - 05/September/2018

The heavy industry challenge

Heavy industries are slowly starting to wake up to the reality of the energy transition, but full decarbonisation of the steel, cement and petrochemicals sectors is a significant challenge that will require new processes and significant amounts of clean energy

Heavy industry has an outsized carbon footprint. Steel and cement each account for over a quarter of the world’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions, while chemicals and petrochemicals come in a strong third, contributing 13% of total emissions. The energy transition has, however, largely bypassed these industries. Change is afoot, but full decarbonisation is a challenge, requiring new processes and significant amounts of clean energy to heat and power production

Industry accounts for 24% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which reached a record 37 billion tonnes in 2017. Scientists estimate that no more than 800 billion tonnes of CO2 should be emitted if there is to be real chance of keeping global warming below 2°C, the upper limit for avoiding catastrophic climate change. If emissions continue as they are now, this budget will be exceeded in less than 20 years. The top three industry emitters, steel, cement and chemicals, account for around 16% of all CO2 emissions globally. They need to severely reduce their emissions if the world is not to overspend its dwindling carbon budget. ...

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