World’s Cement Makers Seek 25% Cut in Emissions

by | May 22, 2009

cement-plant2Perhaps acting in advance of global climate talks, a coalition representing the world’s leading cement makers agreed May 20 to target emissions reductions of 25 percent.

Cement makers are one of the largest carbon-emitting industries, contributing five percent of global emissions, an amount that is exceeded only by the steel and oil refinery sectors.

The Cement Sustainability Initiative represents 18 members who produce about 30 percent of the world’s cement. The cement makers’ plan to reduce emissions, they say, will not slow a construction boom in poor countries.

The approach, program director Howard Klee said, is essential to winning over cement makers in poor countries, which have rejected any absolute cap on emissions. Developing counties produce 80 percent of the world’s cement, he said.

The initiative is creating a system for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions, with a goal to share technology and best practices for emissions cuts, Reuters reports.

Klee said the group may be able to cut emissions by 25 percent by modifying the production process.

To make cement, producers heat limestone with clay minerals to about 1,500 degrees Celsius to produce what is called “clinker.” The process releases high levels of carbon emissions.

The initiative hopes to substitute residues from steel production and coal-fired power stations for clinker.

More emissions cuts may come from the use of biofuels for heat generation and carbon capture and storage for burying the emissions.

The European Climate Exchange says it expects the amount the amount of carbon credits traded on its platform to double this year. Cement producers are among the purchasers of carbon credits.

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