Clean Air Carolina Joins the Call for Clean Steel Industry Power

Oct 9, 2018

Charlotte, N.C. – Clean Air Carolina Executive Director June Blotnick teamed up with global campaign organization Mighty Earth on Oct. 3 to call for the U.S. steel industry to move toward carbon-free renewable energy, starting with Charlotte-based Nucor Corporation (NUE), the country’s largest steel producer.

“With Nucor’s national headquarters in Charlotte, we are here to urge the largest steel company in the country to move away from carbon-based fuels to meet their massive demand for electricity, and towards a clean energy future using carbon-free renewable energy,” Blotnick
said. “We need them to be a leader.”

Blotnick joined a group gathered in Charlotte for Mighty Earth’s unveiling of its new report, Cold Steel, Hot Climate: America’s Biggest Untapped Clean Energy Opportunity, which makes the business case for companies like Nucor to embrace clean energy. The need for action to address the climate crisis has particularly hit home for North Carolinians in the wake of Hurricane Florence, she noted.

“Increasing the use of clean energy is one of the quickest ways to reduce air pollution and grow the local economy at the same time, ” Blotnick said. “North Carolina is still reeling from a hurricane that was made more intense and destructive by climate change. We need better solutions now, and committing to 100 percent clean energy is an obvious win for Nucor and communities the company operates in. It’s a win, win, win issue. It will make Nucor more competitive, grow our local clean energy economy, and give North Carolinians cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier communities.”

The Cold Steel, Hot Climate report analyzes opportunities for the steel sector to take action to address the climate crisis. Nucor operates in 25 states and controls approximately 29 percent of the domestic steel market using a production method called electric arc furnace (EAF), which consumes massive amounts of electricity, according to the report.

Sixty-eight percent of American steel is produced using the same EAF method and steel – an inherently carbon-intensive material – is the leading source of industrial emissions on the planet, producing about 2.3 gigatons of CO2 emissions each year, equivalent to the annual emissions of 569 coal-fired power plants, said Margaret Hansbrough, Cold Steel, Hot Climate author.

In making the clear business case for Nucor to embrace a serious transition to clean energy, Hansbrough noted that the cost of clean energy has plummeted and is increasingly cheaper than fossil fuels. “If Nucor wants to remain competitive and stay on top in a global economy where the race is on for countries and companies to pursue the lowest carbon opportunities for growth, then it has to think about what comes next, and clean energy steel is next,” she said.

Hear June Blotnick talk about clean energy jobs in North Carolina.

The transition would be a win for the climate, a win for green jobs, and a win for healthy communities. In North Carolina Apple, Facebook and Amazon have already committed to sourcing 100 percent clean energy and accelerating the greening of the grid.

For more information on Mighty Earth’s analysis, go to: www.mightyearth.org/steel

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