India's steel demand is likely to more than quadruple in the next 30 years, resulting in rise in carbon dioxide emissions by around 600 million tonnes, a report by the think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said on Thursday.
The report, released on the second day of the 20th edition of World Sustainable Development Summit 2020, a TERI flagship event, said the CO2 emissions from India's steel sector could increase up to 837 million tonnes (MT) by 2050 if steel demand continues to grow, "having serious implications for the environment through its contribution to climate change."
"India's steel demand will more than quadruple from around 111 million tonnes to 489 million tonnes. The carbon dioxide emissions from the sector are projected to go from 242 MT to 837 MT.
"This is equivalent to around 35 per cent of India's total current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industry, which would be incompatible with limiting the worst effects of climate change," said the report titled 'Towards a Low Carbon Steel Sector: Overview of the Changing Market, Technology, and Policy Context for Indian Steel'.
The report on Low Carbon Steel has been prepared by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) India, a research platform based in TERI in New Delhi.
TERI has suggested a comprehensive package of measures that would keep the sector competitive while reducing its environmental impacts.
The report recommends maximising the use of domestic scrap and deploying energy efficiency measures, as well as facilitating greater resource efficiency throughout the economy.
"This can start by building on the progress under the Perform, Achieve and Trade scheme and India's upcoming Resource Efficiency Strategy. This can be achieved cost-effectively, helping make the steel sector, and the Indian economy more competitive. Combining greater energy and resource efficiency could lead to a reduction in emissions by up to 45 per cent," the report said.
The report also suggests establishing pilot and demonstration plants to test emerging low-carbon technologies.
"TERI expects that by the 2040s, more radical decarbonisation technologies, which are currently in the demonstration stage, would be commercially available in India.
"Of particular interest is the substitution of coal or natural gas as a reducing agent with hydrogen, allowing India to reduce its import dependency and reduce emissions," it said.
The report also recommends stimulating the demand for low-carbon steel, through developing standards, public procurement schemes, or voluntary buyers' clubs.
It also suggests introducing a penalty for emissions in steel sector, 2030 onwards, to send a clear signal to the industry to start planning for deeper decarbonisation technologies.
"Measures such as these could put the sector on a pathway to reduce emissions to near zero levels soon after 2050, making India the first country to industrialise while decarbonising its steel production," it said.