‘Green steel’: the race to clean up one of the world’s dirtiest ...

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‘Green steel’: the race to clean up one of the world’s dirtiest industries

After the intense pressure on oil and gas, heavy industry’s role in the climate crisis is now under growing scrutiny

Michael Pooler

Skyscrapers and bridges, cars and cruise ships, guns and washing machines. All have one thing in common: steel.

As a key input for engineering and construction, it is the world’s most commonly used metal, providing the foundations of the modern industrial economy. Since a method for inexpensively mass producing the iron alloy was developed by English inventor Henry Bessemer in the 1850s, a sprawling industry has grown which today turns over $2.5-trillion (R36-trillion) and employs millions of people.

But just as the oil and coal sectors have faced intense pressure in recent years, steel’s role in the climate crisis is now under much closer scrutiny. From the American rust belt to China’s manufacturing heartlands, the dominant way of smelting iron pumps into the atmosphere huge quantities of carbon dioxide, the main contributor to man-made global warming...

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