Last week it was announced that the Indian-owned Tata Steel will close its two blast furnaces in Port Talbot with nearly 3000 jobs expected to be lost.
Fundamentally, the driver of this decision is the green agenda. It is the high cost of energy that we have in this country and the systems that impose such extra burdens on our manufacturing industry that other countries don’t have to face.
Jacob Rees Mogg delivers his verdictGB News
The blast furnaces will supposedly be replaced by an electric arc furnace in a few years’ time, which argues that it’s better for the environment.
But as is often this case with imports, it just offloads carbon emissions somewhere else at the expense of reducing British industry.
Steel making is done in two parts. First, the iron has to be extracted from iron ore creating what is known as pig iron or crude iron. Second, the pig iron is then turned into steel in a furnace.
Electric arc furnaces will only help with the second part of the steelmaking process, meaning we will have to import the pig iron.
So while l on paper these developments will significantly reduce our carbon emissions, we will merely be offloading them to countries such as China or India.
It’s reminiscent of energy imports in which we offload the carbon emission to other countries rather than using our own domestic supplies. Indeed, importing the pig iron from India and China will be more carbon intensive than making it ourselves due to the carbon emissions generated by shipping.
When we in our wisdom voted to leave the European Union, which was no doubt in part of it for freeing ourselves from red tape and over regulation in the trading bloc, I don’t think anyone expected us to out-green the green fanatics in Brussels.
That’s exactly what we’ve done. When we left, we created a replica of green policy infrastructure, including the emissions trading scheme, and the emissions trading scheme is a huge burden on some of our industries.
And it’s expected that we will copy the protectionist carbon adjustment mechanism from the EU.
These are effectively extra taxes on industry and therefore on you, which put the 35,000 UK jobs in the steel industry are at risk.
So instead of throwing jobs on the furnace, we ought to burn the emissions trading scheme and the other green policies to crisp so we’ll get on with genuinely competitive steel production.