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China’s steel production missed its carbon emission goal

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The republic’s latest steel production statistics raised eyebrows

China, who vowed to curb steel output for controlling its CO2 emissions wound up producing more on the contrary. Findings from a climate analyst TransitionZero, claimed China produced 88.01 million mt of steel in August 2021 – increase of 1 per cent from the month before.

Contradicting findings across sources
TransitionZero’s data via satellite imagery revealed China’s steel output from January to August 2021 was 734.99 million mt. This is a 6 per cent on year increase, and mainly from carbon-intensive blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) production routes. Ready to doubt the promise, analyst Matthew Gray said, “China’s crude steel production could be up 4 – 7 per cent this year; the country’s ability to meet its government target of limiting 2021 steel outputs to 2020 levels is unlikely without reform. As a result, China risks emitting an additional 158 million mt of CO2 – the equivalent of the Netherlands’ total emissions.” While acknowledging progress in eastern provinces, Gray added a crackdown may be needed to keep the output numbers to 2020 levels, especially in the central and western areas.

TransitionZero’s data was based on a scaling-factor comparison between its own data. It quantifies crude steel produced through the BF/BOF route via the heat intensity of furnace “hotspots”, and data from worldsteel, which provides monthly total crude steel production figures. Despite that, analysts from Liberum bank challenged the numbers – pointing out a signal confusion caused by the Chinese government’s steel output cap. Nonetheless, there were no substantiated sources of contradictory findings despite alleged differing statistics.

China’s steel output numbers have been under scrutiny since announcing its commitment to lower carbon emissions. The assumption on possible impact on the maritime industry can be ruled out – given the republic has been accepting orders for newbuildings. Peculiarly, after Liberum bank’s statement on the credibility of TransitionZero’s data, the latter diffused their conclusions attributing to “China’s stimulus-filled construction boom post-COVID-19”. However, Gray asserted China would still be expected to meet its overall net-zero carbon target by 2060 because it would not have any choice.


Marine Online News Team
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