Priority Action Areas Drive Transition to Low-Carbon Economy, Fair Global Markets
The Aluminum Association, European Aluminium, Aluminium Association of Canada and the Japan Aluminium Association released a joint briefing to Group of 7 (G7) trade ministers ahead of meetings in Osaka, Japan this October. The briefing, Aluminium Supply Chain Pathways to Net Zero GHG Emissions and Fair Global Markets: Priority Action Areas, highlights aluminum’s essential role in the transition to a low carbon economy while laying out pathways to decarbonize the sector while addressing distortions in the marketplace driven by non-market economies like China.
“Global demand is expected to increase up to 80% by 2050; as much aluminium will need to be produced in the next decade as in the last one hundred years,” the report notes. “Making the transition to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing the supply of responsibly produced aluminium across the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan require massive new investments in alternative clean energy systems, near zero GHG emission production technologies, and near 100% recycling rates for pre-consumer scrap and end-of-life products.”
- Electricity Decarbonization: Decarbonizing the electric grid is essential to any effort to move the aluminum sector to net zero emissions. The global industry has shifted in recent decades to build new facilities in locations with access to renewable power and that trend must continue. The transition will also require significant public investment in new, efficient energy infrastructure.
- Production Technologies: New production technologies including inert anode smelting and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) can significantly reduce industry emissions in the medium-term. Governments should prioritize dedicated research and development (R&D) funding underpinned by international science & technology collaboration to scale-up these programs.
- Material Efficiency: While around 75% of all aluminum ever produced remains in use globally today, there remain opportunities to increase aluminum recycling which is vital to a low carbon future. The industry supports consumer education, policy incentives, public-private partnerships to increase supply and accelerated R&D on material sorting to enable a near 100% recycling rate for aluminum.
- Market Incentives: Governments must continue to provide market-based incentives to decarbonize the sector, secure supply chains and ensure a level playing field globally. Continued and enhanced trade enforcement is essential to this effort. Well-designed carbon border adjustment programs may also play a role. Governments and industry must also collaborate to guard against supply chain risks driven by the concentration of critical minerals in a few key countries.
In a letter to global trade ministers, the associations note: “The aluminium industry is not only an energy-intensive and trade-exposed industrial sector, it is also a critical source of material for clean energy technologies: a low carbon circular economy requires access to sustainable, secure, and resilient aluminium supply chains. On behalf of our member companies and the 1.75 million workers they directly and indirectly support across the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan, we are fully committed to working closely with you and your senior officials in pursuit of our shared interests.”
Read the full briefing here.