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Industry, organizations back framework to decarbonize heavy industry

A new global framework to decarbonize heavy industries, including the steel, cement and chemicals sectors, was endorsed by multiple companies and civil society groups.

The Global Framework Principles for the Decarbonisation of Heavy Industry set outs to stimulate economic growth while limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. International nonprofit the Climate Group and campaign organization Mighty Earth established the framework and announced multiple corporate and organizational endorsements of the plan in a news release Feb. 25.

While much of the public discussion around climate change focuses on emissions from the energy and transportation sectors, heavy industry is also a substantial source of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. The industrial sector currently accounts for a quarter of global energy and process-related carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. The steel, cement and chemicals sector produces 70% of those emissions.

"The last few months, we have seen an unexpected cascade of net-zero and carbon-neutral commitments from steel, cement, and other heavy industry companies," Margaret Hansbrough, Mighty Earth campaign director, was quoted in a press release. "With this framework, these companies and civil society groups are sending a very loud and clear signal to policymakers around the world."

The framework sets out six principles. That includes tying public financing for heavy industry to emissions goals, investing in low- and zero-carbon technology development and implementing trade policies to reduce "emissions leakage between economies." The framework also includes provisions that seek to protect biodiversity, promote a just transition to lower-carbon economy and to support policies that incentivize heavy industries to set robust climate targets.

According to the news release, the framework's endorsers include India-based Tata Steel Ltd., JSW Energy Ltd. and JSW Cement Ltd, and several other companies and climate-focused organizations worldwide.

The Mission Possible Partnership, a coalition of industrial manufacturing and transportation industries debuted in January. That partnership targets greenhouse gas emissions across various sectors including aviation, chemicals, steel and aluminum.

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