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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Cement emissions have doubled in 20 years

A study shows that gas emissions from cement making, a lesser reported cause of global warming, have doubled in the past 20 years.

In 2021, emissions from the manufacture of cement to build buildings, roads and other infrastructure amounted to about 2.9 billion tonnes (2.6 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide, accounting for more than 7% of all emissions. Global carbon emissions, according to Robbie Andrew, greenhouse gas emissions scientist at the CICERO Center for Climate Research and Global Carbon Project in Norway. Twenty years ago emissions from cement manufacturing were about 1.4 billion tonnes (1.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide.

Driven by China, global cement emissions have more than tripled since 1992, most recently increasing by 2.6% annually. Not that more cement is being made and used globally. At a time when other industries should use less polluting processes, the cement industry is going in the opposite direction. According to the International Energy Agency, the carbon intensity of cement – ​​that is, the degree of pollution emitted per tonne – increased by 9.3% from 2015 to 2020, mainly due to China.

“Emissions from cement are growing at a faster rate than other carbon sources,” said Rob Jackson, a climatologist at Stanford University who heads the Global Carbon Project, a group of scientists that measures global climate pollution and Publishes his studies in journals.

“Cement releases were unusual as they did not reduce during COVID. They did not grow as much, but they did not decline like oil, gas and coal. Honestly, I think it’s because the Chinese economy never stopped completely,” Jackson said.

Cement is unusual compared to other materials such as steel in that not only does it require a lot of heat to make, which causes emissions, but the chemical process of making it produces a lot of carbon dioxide, which is the main is gas. Cause of global warming.

Making cement requires a raw material that is made by digging limestone from the ground and heating it to between 2,700 and 2,800 °F (1,480 and 1,540 °C) to convert it into calcium dioxide. But that process removes carbon dioxide from the limestone, shooting it into the air, Andrew explained.

Rick Bohn, vice president in charge of sustainability for the Portland Cement Association, said, “In the United States, 60% of our CO2 is an intrinsic part of our lives… the reality is that concrete is a universal building material. No such construction project Not one that doesn’t use at least some concrete.”

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Seth Borenstein and Twitter

@borenbears

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. Associated Press is solely responsible for the content.

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