In the United States, the industrial sector is responsible for a significant share of emissions at about 29%. These emissions are projected to increase 17.6% through mid-century. While other economic sectors are projected to see flat or declining emissions, the resulting climate and health benefits would be offset by increases in industrial emissions under a business-as-usual scenario. In addition, the U.S. imports as much as it produces in industrial climate pollution. Each year, the U.S. imports manufactured goods with 1.4 gigatons of embedded greenhouse gas emissions—the same amount of climate pollution produced by all factories in the U.S. combined.
Share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector when end-use of electricity is distributed.
Amount of embodied carbon in manufactured goods imported into the United States.
Ranking of the U.S. steel industry’s CO2 emissions intensity among 15 major steel producing countries.
While much action on Buy Clean has been focused on the state level, the push for federal Buy Clean policies is gaining steam. President Joe Biden has expressed a willingness to use federal purchasing power as a key force in efforts to fight climate change and the BlueGreen Alliance is committed to advocating for the adoption of Buy Clean legislation at the federal level.
How Clean is the U.S. Steel Industry?
Steel produced in the United States is among the cleanest in the world when it comes to carbon emissions, but the U.S. still imports large amounts of steel from countries with higher carbon intensity, according to a November 2019 study commissions by the BlueGreen Alliance. The study found that the U.S. ranks fourth worldwide—just after Italy, Spain, and Turkey—in producing the cleanest, lowest-carbon steel.
The report also found the globally, the iron and steel industry account for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector, or over 6% of global GHG emissions. Additionally, energy use and GHG emissions from iron and steel is likely to continue increasing because demand for steel is growing faster than efforts to reduce emissions.