Can the global cement industry cut its carbon emissions?

(Eco Business, 16 Jul 2019) If the cement industry were a country, it would be the largest carbon emitter after China and the US. Cement manufacturers are trying to lower emissions through innovation, but the challenge is significant.

It’s everywhere around us but cement is not a material we tend to give much thought to. The powdery substance is a key ingredient in concrete, which has been called “the most destructive material on Earth”.

Cement is responsible for around 7 per cent of global carbon emissions. If the cement industry were a country then it would be the largest carbon emitter after China and the US.

To be in line with the Paris Agreement, the cement industry must reduce its annual carbon emissions by at least 16 per cent by 2030, according to a report published by UK thinktank Chatham House last year.

However, economic growth in the next 30 years, particularly in developing countries, is predicted to increase cement demand from four to over five billion tonnes a year. The largest producer of cement is China, followed at a distance by India and then the EU, according to Chatham House.

How can the cement industry lower emissions?

Changing the recipe for cement, making cement kilns more efficient, powering them with biofuels and using waste heat to generate electricity can all reduce carbon emissions.

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Eco Business, 16 Jul 2019: Can the global cement industry cut its carbon emissions?