To what extent are EU steel companies susceptible to competitive loss due to climate policy?
Okereke, C. and McDaniels, D. (2012) To what extent are EU steel companies susceptible to competitive loss due to climate policy? Energy Policy, 46. pp. 203-215. ISSN 0301-4215
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.03.052
In recognition of their competitive vulnerability, a set of special rules have been devised for managing sectors such as steel and cement within the EU ETS. These rules basically seek to set sector specific performance benchmarks and reward top performers. However, the steel sector as a whole will receive the vast majority of its allowances for free in Phase III. Perceptions of competitive vulnerability have been largely based on inherently hypothetical analyses which rely heavily on counterfactual scenario and abatement cost estimates often provided by firms themselves. This paper diverges from these approaches by providing a qualitative assessment of the two key reasons underpinning the competitive vulnerability argument of the EU Steel Companies based on interviews and case study involving the three largest producers of steel within the EU – AcerlorMittal, Corus, and ThyssenKrupp. We find that these arguments provide only partial and weak justifications for competitive loss and discriminatory treatment in the EUETS. This strategy is difficult to counter by governments due to information asymmetry; and it appears to have proved very successful insofar as it has helped the industry to achieve free allocation in Phases I-III of EU ETS by playing up the risk of carbon leakage.