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Activist Demands for Fossil Free Steel Mark International Steel Conference

In view of major steel industry executives from around the world at the New York Marriott Marquis in Time Square Marquis Marriott, climate advocates with Public Citizen and SteelWatch dropped a banner from the railings of the 7th floor that read “Green Steel Now” with images of a burning Earth. Advocates also distributed green steel fact sheets to attendees during conference sessions. This follows the global launch of SteelWatch, the new climate watchdog for the steel industry which took place on Monday at the same venue. (Photo by Erik McGregor)

NEW YORK – Advocates today called on steel industry leaders at the Global Steel Dynamics Forum to phase out coal-powered blast furnace technology, replacing it with major investments in fossil-free steelmaking processes.

“Our future depends on steelmakers making investments in cleaner, more sustainable technologies to produce green steel,” said Erika Thi Patterson, auto supply chain campaign director at Public Citizen. “Steel is a centerpiece of our infrastructure, and it’s responsible for a large portion of global carbon emissions. Forging a sustainable steel industry must be a priority.”

In the lobby of the New York Marriott Marquis where the conference was hosted, advocates unfurled a banner reading  “Green Steel Now.” Further, conference attendees were given green steel fact sheets over the course of the event. 

“The world is literally burning and steel CEOs at the GSDF forum are talking about paper plans for what they hope to achieve by 2050,” commented Margaret Hansbrough, campaigns lead for SteelWatch. “There is no urgency from steel companies and they are still talking about false solutions like CCS for blast furnaces and outright extension of coal-based steel production which flies in the face of what we know is required to align with a 1.5C scenario for steel. The planet needs firm commitments from steel CEOs around the world: No new investments in coal-based steel production starting today. Companies like Cleveland Cliffs, ArcelorMittal, POSCO, Nippon, and others must lead the way.” 

As part of the actions, Public Citizen brought the message to social media calling on the steel industry to invest in green steel in advertisements. Activists also generated nearly 40,000 emails to automakers demanding they use their purchasing power to push steelmakers to invest in fossil-free steel processes.

Photos from the protest are available here.

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