The backfiring of Brazil’s CDM-led push to cut CO2 from steelmaking

Published 18:38 on February 10, 2015  /  Last updated at 15:22 on May 11, 2016  /  Americas, International, Kyoto Mechanisms  /  No Comments

A plan to cut emissions from Brazil’s steelmakers spectacularly backfired and led to a doubling of the CO2 produced from the sector over the previous decade, a study found.

A plan to cut emissions from Brazil’s steelmakers spectacularly backfired and led to a doubling of the CO2 produced from the sector over the previous decade, a study found.

Led partly by the potential of earning UN-backed carbon credits from the CDM, Brazilian steelmakers and other companies invested heavily in switching their energy source from coal to charcoal from forests around the turn of the century.

But companies soon ran out of plantations to source sustainable wood and began to chop down native forests. The investments made to switch adapt to charcoal meant companies were reluctant to switch back to coal.

“Increased global demand for steel, and a lack of available plantation forest in Brazil, increased the industry’s use of charcoal sourced from native forests, which is not carbon neutral and emits up to nine times more CO2 per tonne of steel than coal,” Laura Sonter, a University of Vermont scientist and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

The switch caused CO2 emissions to rise to 182 million tonnes in 2007 from 91 million tonnes in 2000, according to the study, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com