TANGSHAN, China — In China, when top party officials set a goal, everybody follows. Beijing’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 has sent local officials scrambling to cut emissions, causing upheaval at steelmakers, with facility closures resulting in massive layoffs.
HBIS Group, the nation’s No. 2 steelmaker, shut down its works in Tangshan in Hebei Province that had employed upward of 4,000 workers and ran three blast furnaces last December. Authorities said it lacked proper measures to limit pollution.
“We all lost jobs and don’t know what to do,” said a man who had been temporarily laid off. Plans call for building a state-of-the-art mill with environmentally friendly features within the city, but no specific opening date has been revealed.
HBIS is one of many steelmakers being forced to reduce capacity under pressure from local governments, which are eager to slash CO2 emissions to please Beijing. The trend is already pushing up steel prices, with higher costs spilling over to downstream manufacturers.