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COP26: Five developed nations commit to support low carbon steel, cement sectors

Highlights

UK, India, Germany, Canada, UAE commit

Steel, cement account for 16% of emissions

2030 public construction target by mid-2022

The UK, India, Germany, Canada and UAE have committed to support new markets for low carbon steel, cement and concrete, the UK Presidency of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow said Nov. 9.

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Steel and cement are among the most carbon-intensive industrial materials on the planet. Producing them accounts for between 14% and 16% of global energy-related CO2 emissions.

The countries have pledged to achieve net zero in major public construction steel and concrete by 2050, the UK COP26 Presidency said.

Specific interim targets by 2030 were expected to be agreed by mid-2022, it said.

"Right now, the public procurement of steel and cement in the five countries represents 25% to 40% of the domestic market for such materials," the group of countries, known as the Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative, said.

The initiative has also called on member governments to commit to the disclosure of embodied carbon of major public construction by 2025.

"We welcome this move as a clear market signal from the public sector that, when they commission a building or a bridge, the embodied CO2 emissions of the project matter to them," said Olivier Vassart, CEO of Steligence, ArcelorMittal's sustainable construction business.

Research by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that if developing countries expand their infrastructure at average current global emissions, the global construction sector will emit 470 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 - more than the remaining carbon budget to avoid dangerous climate change.

S&P Global Platts assessed the price of Northwest European rebar steel, used in construction, at Eur805/metric ton Nov. 3, up from Eur460/mt a year earlier.

In August, Platts launched eight low-carbon metals spreads and ratios, underpinned by existing assessments in hot-rolled steel, pig iron, scrap, iron ore and aluminum from the US, China, Turkey and the Black Sea region.