Press release

Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) today heralded the Government’s decision to help New ZealandSteel cut its coal use by 45% as a huge step in decarbonising the economy and ending coal use in New Zealand.

“This is fantastic news, and the kind of step we need our government to be taking: it’s great news for the climate,” said Tim Jones of CANA.

“The Glenbrook Steel mill burns around 800,000 tonnes of coal each year, so cutting that by 45% is massive. Now we need to see the rest of the mill decarbonise.”

nz steel mill

NZ Steel burns 800,000 tonnes of coal a year (Photo: wikicommons) 

CANA has long advocated for NZ Steel to start recycling scrap steel, but the company had previously argued it wasn’t ready to do this. 

“In the face of a decarbonising world, we’re seeing technologies like electric arc furnaces become mainstream, and getting this up and running in Aotearoa is a no brainer,” he said.

“New Zealand Steel has received more free allocations of emission reduction units under the Emissions Trading Scheme than any other industry, to the tune of millions. This is a far better use of taxpayers money than throwing big overseas-owned industries like NZ Steel money to pollute,” he said.

However, he noted that given the government’s statement today that the abatement cost for NZ Steel would be $16.50 a tonne, compared with the carbon price of $55 a tonne, then why not stop giving big emitters free allocation? 

“This announcement shows how absurd and damaging it is that we continue to pay big industries to pollute by giving them free allocations of carbon credits. If we ended those free allocations, more industries would be incentivised to decarbonise and the taxpayer wouldn’t have to subsidise them to do it.”