Concrete responsible for 8 per cent of all CO2 emissions, report says

Superfluous use of concrete has been called into question after research found that cement – its key ingredient – was responsible for 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Research by the think tank Chatham House, reported by the BBC, underlines the need for drastic changes in the production and use of concrete, the world’s most used man-made material, because of the way in which cement is made.

More than 50 per cent of these emissions are intrinsically linked to the process for producing clinker, one of the main ingredients involved in the manufacture of cement, the report found.

It said important changes were needed to align with the Paris Agreement targets, which require the cement sector’s annual emissions to fall by 16 per cent by 2030. Yet global demand means the sector is in fact rapidly expanding.

The Chatham House report acknowledges the difficulty in reducing concrete use with immediate effect. Much of the world’s infrastructure relies on the material to enable the provision of clean water, sanitation and transport links. 

The research demands progress across several areas. By widening improvements in energy efficiency, shifting away from a dependence on fossil fuels in cement production and leveraging cement substitutions, it is hoped that considerable reductions in carbon emissions can be made. 

The report is one of many related to global and national carbon emissions to be published in 2018. The IPCC’s latest report warned that the world has just 12 years left to moderate COemissions and halt devastating global warming. 

Article adapted from original publication in Architect's Journal.
Image: Wikipedia user: downtowngal, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

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