Tata Steel should drop carbon capture and go green, union says
The Tata Steel steelworks in IJmuiden should bring forward its long-term plans to cut pollution and boost energy efficiency, trade union FNV Metaal said on Friday.
Around half the plant’s workforce is a member of the FNV and the proposal also has the backing of the company works council, the union said. ‘Our plan shows that you can go green while maintaining employment levels,’ union chief Roel Berghuis said. ‘But our plan is conditional on the government changing its rules for reducing carbon emissions.’
Tata has plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2030, partly by capturing and storing the gas in empty gas chambers under the North Sea. In the following years, the plant plans to switch away from coal to green and hydrogen powered energy.
But the union says that carbon capture is not a sustainable solution and that the switch to greener sources of energy should be done more quickly. In particular, says Berghuis, Tata should stop using coal within five years.
The union says the project can be partly funded by using government subsidies set aside for the carbon capture plan. ‘Our plan shows there is an alternative to carbon capture,’ Berghuis said. ‘More than that, carbon capture takes extra time and money.’
Tata Steel said in a reaction that carbon capture will enable the company to meet its 2030 targets. ‘But we are always open to look into different options, such as hydrogen, which the FNV is also thinking about,’ the company said.
Earlier this week, the Dutch government agreed to allocate €2bn to a project to capture and store carbon dioxide in an empty gas chamber under the North Sea.
The union plan comes at a sensitive moment for the company because it has been put up for sale by its Indian parent company. Sweden’s SSAB pulled out of recent talks to buy the plant because of the investment costs to bring it up to SSAB’s own environmental standards.
The plant is the biggest employer in the region with a workforce of almost 10,000. A further 30,000 people are indirectly dependent on the company for their jobs.
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