IAI releases aluminium sector’s decarbonisation dataset in line with the International Energy Agency’s Beyond 2 Degrees findings

  • Decarbonisation dataset powers the aluminium industry’s move to tackle CO2 emissions  
  • Data shows individual pathways for greenhouse gas reductions across mining, refining and smelting 
  • Smelting emissions to fall by about 90 per cent from 2018 to 2050 under B2DS 

The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) has released a series of figures in a new decarbonisation dataset, just six weeks before Glasgow hosts COP26 – the United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

The decarbonisation figures unveiled by the IAI are in line with the International Energy Agency’s Beyond 2 Degrees Scenario (B2DS), which sets out a pathway in line with global climate goals.  

A 77% per cent reduction in total CO2e emissions by 2050 would be needed under the scenario released by the Institute as it highlights the sector’s efforts to combat climate change.  

Data across the four critical areas of aluminium production – mining, refining, smelting and recycling – were examined as part of the dataset, which compares 2018 information with the sector’s implied greenhouse gas budget for 2050. 

While the sector works to reduce emissions, demand for aluminium products is predicted to grow by 81 per cent as economies grow, urbanise, and build up their infrastructure. 

“There is no single solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aluminium sector. It will require significant investment in technology as well as commitment across the entire value chain,” states Marlen Bertram, IAI’s Director, Scenarios & Forecasts.

Beyond 2 Degrees: The Outlook for The Aluminium Sector

According to the data, significant reductions can be found through refining and smelting.  

Smelting could see a reduction of almost 90 per cent from 823m tonnes to 90m tonnes. In 2018, 670m tonnes were electricity-related emissions and under the pathways, this will fall to just eight million by 2050. 

Refining alumina could see greenhouse gas emissions fall by almost half from its 2018 level of 171m tonnes to 90m tonnes by 2050.  

“Recycling aluminium (one of the most recyclable elements on the planet) could rise by 183 per cent. Overall, we have calculated that all actions to maximise recycling and resource efficiency could decrease CO2 emissions by 20% compared to a business as usual 2050 scenario. The aluminium industry is confident that the various actions and initiatives to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions during production and increasing recycling from end-of-life products will put it at the forefront of the extraction industries combatting climate change.” notes Ms Bertram 

A Greenhouse Gas Pathways Working Group made up of IAI member companies and regional associations worked collaboratively to understand and better articulate credible ways to achieve global climate goals for the industry.  

In March, the IAI published a report – Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050 – which identified three pathways to cut emissions over the next three decades. The three pathways are decarbonisation of electricity, reduction of direct emissions and increased recycling and resource efficiency. 

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