UNIDO Collaboration to Drive Decarbonization of Steel & Cement
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UNIDO Collaboration to Drive Decarbonization of Steel & Cement

A coalition of governments and organizations, led by the United Kingdom and India, launched the new Clean Energy Ministerial’s Industrial Deep

A coalition of governments and organizations, led by the United Kingdom and India, launched the new Clean Energy Ministerial’s Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative in Vienna. Coordinated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, this ground-breaking effort aims to create market demand for low-carbon industrial materials, especially more sustainable steel and cement. With steel and cement among the most carbon-intensive commodities on the planet today, over the next three years, the coalition wants at least 10 countries to commit to purchasing low-carbon versions of these essential materials. UNIDO Director-General LI Yong said "Through this initiative, UNIDO will work with governments worldwide to agree on a global 2050 vision for the decarbonization of the steel and cement industries with ambitious targets informed by collective stakeholder inputs.”

India's Secretary of Power Mr Alok Kumar said “India’s commitment to cut emissions intensity per unit of GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 significantly hinges on effective deployment of low-carbon technologies in energy intensive sectors like iron and steel, cement and petrochemicals. With the ongoing programmes, India has considerably improved specific energy consumption of steel and cement industries. Now the next stage will be to focus on reducing the emission intensities from these sectors. We are therefore thrilled to co-lead this initiative at the CEM and look forward to collaborating with other governments and international partners.”

In addition to the UK and India, other members of the coalition include Germany, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, with more countries expected to join soon. The initiative also brings together a strong group of related programmes and organizations, including the Mission Possible Platform, the Leadership Group for the Industry Transition LeadIT, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the World Bank, to tackle one of the next frontiers in the race against climate change.

Within the next three years, the IDDI expects to have encouraged a minimum of 10 national governments, and a number of municipalities, to make public procurement commitments for low-carbon steel and cement. The first of a series of government commitments for the procurement of low-carbon steel and cement are expected to be announced at the upcoming global climate talks, hosted by the UK in Glasgow later this year.

To date, steel and cement, which each represent around 7-8 per cent of energy-related emissions globally, have remained out of reach in the pursuit to mitigate carbon emissions. The need for continuous, high-temperature heat to produce these construction products requires large amounts of energy, a lot of which is still dependent on fossil fuels. While there is still a way to go before clearly defined low-carbon steel and cement is available in the market at scale, green public procurement commitments are essential in signalling that demand exists. For example, public procurement accounts for 46% of cement consumption in the United States of America, making it a colossal purchasing power in creating a market for lower emission materials. The same can be said for nations in the European Union and for many emerging industrial economies.

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