Tech and policy solutions ‘could cut cement emissions by 24%’

The sector is the second largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide globally

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By Jonny Bairstow

A combination of technology and policy solutions could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the cement industry by 24% below current levels by 2050.

That’s according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), which say the sector is the second largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide globally, making up around 7% of global emissions.

Cement is a key ingredient of concrete, which is used to build homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure – the study suggests as global population rises and urbanisation grows, cement production is set to increase between by up to 23% by 2050.

Despite increasing efficiencies, carbon emissions from the cement industry are expected to rise by 4% globally by this time.

To reduce this the report calls for government and industry to work together to improve energy efficiency, switch to alternative fuels and deploy innovative technologies like carbon capture.

It also says optimising the use of concrete in construction by maximising the life of buildings and encouraging reuse and recycling, as well as reducing waste, could also help slash related emissions.

Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said: “The cement industry is a major part of the global economy but also an important source of global energy demand and carbon emissions.

“It is therefore essential that policy-makers and industry work together to ensure best-practices are adopted that put the industry on a long term sustainable path that is compatible with our long term climate goals.”