China Sets Targets to Slash Carbon Emissions from Steel, Oil Refining, Ammonia and Cement

·         Energy conservation and carbon reduction in the steel, oil refining, synthetic ammonia and cement industries hold the key to China achieving its dual carbon goal

[ABS News Service/10.06.2024]

Beijing has pledged to slash emissions from four carbon-intensive industries – steel, oil refining, ammonia and cement – by 84 million tonnes by the end of next year, as it targets its national industrial system which contributes to roughly half of the country’s carbon emissions.

Energy conservation and carbon reduction in the steel, oil refining, synthetic ammonia and cement industries will be key to peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality and advancing a green transition, according to China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). China is the world’s largest emitter and contributes to one-third of global total carbon emissions.

“Actively promoting energy conservation and carbon reduction in related industries, controlling the access of new projects, implementing energy conservation and carbon reduction transformation of existing projects, promoting the renewal of energy-consuming equipment and optimising the energy consumption structure, can effectively improve energy use efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” the NDRC said in a statement on Friday.

“This is of great significance in supporting energy conservation and carbon reduction in the whole society.”

The steel industry accounts for between 15 and 20 per cent of China’s overall emissions, and cement with 10 per cent share and ammonia with 1.5 per cent are the other contributors.

While the International Energy Agency said China’s carbon emissions grew 4.7 per cent – or 565 million tonnes – last year to 12.6 billion tonnes due to increasing energy consumption, despite industrial emissions remaining stable, analysts say that the impact from efficiencies are due to kick in over the medium term.

“We find that a combination of energy efficiency measures, electrification of end-use energy consumption, and low-carbon electricity supply based on a variety of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, could significantly help the country achieve its decarbonisation goals by 2055,” climate website Carbon Brief said earlier this month.

The NDRC and other government departments have set targets to improve the energy efficiency of the four carbon intensive industries by the end of 2025, in line with President Xi Jinping’s pledge for China to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.

The blueprint proposes a reduction in energy consumption per tonne of steel produced by more than 2 per cent in 2025 compared with 2023. This will be achieved by a targeted cut in the energy consumption of blast furnace and converter processes by more than 1 per cent and by electric arc furnace smelting by over 2 per cent. At the same time, power generation from residual heat, pressure and energy in the steel industry will be increased by more than 3 percentage points compared with 2023, according to the NDRC document.

Energy utilisation will be made more efficient in the oil refining and synthetic ammonia industries, while the comprehensive energy consumption ratio per unit of cement clinker will be reduced by 3.7 per cent compared with 2020 levels.

The implementation of energy-saving and carbon-reduction transformation and the renewal of energy-consuming equipment in the four carbon intensive industries is expected to save by 2025 about 32 million tonnes of standard coal equivalent, which translates into a reduction of 84 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions, NDRC said.

Currently, around 15 per cent of the production capacity of crude steel and oil refining in China has failed to meet the benchmark energy efficiency standards, while 11 per cent of synthetic ammonia and 16 per cent of cement making capacity falls below that benchmark, according to the NDRC. This highlights the need for greater energy conservation and carbon reduction in these industries.

By the end of 2030, China aims for the capacity road map of the four industries to be further optimised, and for the industries’ energy use efficiency to reach advanced levels internationally.