SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: February 25, 2019

SNIP: Cement, the key component of concrete and one of the most widely used manmade materials, is now the cornerstone of global construction. It has shaped the modern environment, but its production has a massive footprint that neither the industry nor governments have been willing to address.

Because of the heat needed to decompose rock and the natural chemical processes involved in making cement, every tonne made releases one tonne of C02, the main greenhouse warming gas.

Nearly 6% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, and up to 8% of the world’s, are now sourced from cement production. If it were a country, the cement industry would be the third largest in the world, its emissions behind only China and the US.

So great is its carbon footprint that unless it is transformed and made to adopt cleaner practices, the industry could, on its own, jeopardise the whole 2015 Paris agreement which aims to hold worldwide temperatures to a 2C increase.

Annual cement production has quadrupled from nearly one billion to over 4 billion tonnes a year in 30 years. In the next decade it is expected to increase a further 500m tonnes a year. Unless there is a dramatic change, cement emissions are expected to continue to rise beyond 2050.