The Aluminum Association commended the Joint Presidential Statement by the U.S. and China, which lays out concrete and achievable goals for addressing climate change, and in a time frame that emphasizes the immediacy of these challenges.
The U.S. aluminum industry has long been part of the solution to address climate change in many respects. Automakers are using lightweight, military-grade aluminum to help achieve far greater fuel economy for their fleets. The construction market relies on aluminum for increasing the energy efficiencies of new buildings. And the increasing rate of recycling is saving energy consumption in the packaging market.
The U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement promises to make these kinds of gains enjoyed in the U.S. commonplace in China within a short period of time. If implemented well, China’s new cap and trade system should provide ample incentives for carbon-intensive aluminum smelters in China to be phased out.
“We welcome China’s commitments to a cleaner manufacturing future, and the use of aluminum will be a meaningful solution to the challenges of global climate change,” said Heidi Brock, president and ceo of the Aluminum Association. “As they work to address climate change, we believe China should commit to setting appropriate standards for aluminum production emissions and coal usage, taking offline production assets that do not meet those standards.”
In 2005, China supplied 13% of the world’s aluminum. Today, spurred by energy subsidies, Chinese producers supply roughly half of this metal. China’s tax regime also incentivizes the export of this excess, carbon-intensive production which has displaced energy-efficient, sustainably produced North American aluminum.
The Aluminum Association is working to raise the visibility of a variety of issues with the U.S. government related to the global trade of aluminum — calling on relevant authorities to investigate claims of unfair trade practices like the deliberate misclassification of metal to avoid taxes, and urging bilateral discussions between China and the U.S.