Climate Change

A sense of urgency with regard to climate change issues has resulted in various spin-offs for this industry, whether with regard to regulatory, economic, and competitiveness issues, or other aspects. In the case of the Brazilian aluminum industry, it has been marked in recent years by a greater understanding of this issue and clearer view on the comparative advantages of this segment.

Such a strategic look has driven a vigorous cooperation with governments and other associations towards setting guidelines that contribute to a course of lower greenhouse gas emissions and higher rates of efficiency and competitiveness.

The study on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Brazilian aluminum value chain – from mining to recycling – that ABAL carried out in 2010 then indicated that the carbon footprint for Brazilian aluminum is less than half the global average.

CO2 emissions are concentrated primarily in the production processes of primary aluminum and alumina, which together account for about 90% of the total, including direct and indirect process emissions (including transportation and energy).

Given this comparative advantage, which is mainly due to the prevailing clean, renewable hydro-electric matrix, world-class process technology and high recycling rates, this industry has been deeply concerned about the growth in imports of finished aluminum products. Also noteworthy is the fact that each ton of finished aluminum product entering the market and not being produced domestically, represents 5.3 tons of CO2eq in further emissions.

ABAL-associate industries have shown significant progress in both efficiency and emission depletion in primary aluminum production. Between 1990 and 2010, there was an increase of 67% in production, while CO2 emissions rose 62% and perfluorocarbon emissions (PFCs) fell by about 57%.

Reducing emissions in the production of primary aluminum

1990 2010 2010 / 1990
Primary Aluminum Production (ton) 920,873 1,536,100 67%
CO2 (ton) 1,574.095 2,545.304 62%
CF4 (ton) 302 129 -57%
C2F4 (ton) 26 11 -58%