WWF UK

Cement can cut 90 per cent of emissions

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Source: WWF UK

The global cement industry can avoid up to 90 per cent of emissions projected according to a new WWF report. A blueprint for a climate friendly cement industry says that the highly energy intensive industry, responsible for 8 per cent of global emissions, has the tools available to reduce its carbon footprint while continuing its forecast growth. “Cement companies do not suffer from a shortage of options to reduce their climate impact,” said Oliver Rapf, Head of WWF’s Climate Business Engagement Unit.

“The solutions proposed in WWF’s new report can help the industry move in the right direction, setting targets and taking action that will lead to deep cuts in emissions quickly.”

The report finds reduction potentials through a more efficient use of cement and by increasing the amount of additives and substitutes. Large energy efficiency potentials have been found both to conserve thermal and electrical energy in the production process.

As vital as the setting of technical directions and standards for industry is to have a supporting policy framework from governments of both industrialised and developing countries.

“There is a booming global demand for construction materials and nowhere is this more visible than in emerging economies”, said Dongmei Chen, Director of WWF China’s Climate Change and Energy Programme.

The report notes that China is trying to become a leader in cement plant technology and already holds a 20 per cent share of the international market. Chinese technology is much less expensive and costs amount to only 20-50 per cent of imported technology.

Dry kilns, far more efficient than the fomer shaft kiln technology, represented only 12 per cent of Chinese capacity in 2000 but largescale investment in this technology is currently taking place. By 2005 it had reached a market share of 53 per cent and by 2010 new dry kilns will provide over 70 per cent of the total output.

“Our report proves that it is possible to disassociate economic growth from increased greenhouse gas emissions,' said Chen. 'This is a valuable lesson for industry and politics, especially when discussing development in emerging economies like China.”

WWF announced the findings on the eve of discussions about sectoral approaches for greenhouse gas reductions, taking place at the UN climate talks in Poznan this month.

'Reducing emissions in major polluting sectors like cement is about technology action and policy regulation which creates strong incentives in developing countries', said Damien Demailly, Energy Officer at WWF-France. “We need leadership by industrialized countries and a proactive approach by industry to tap the massive reduction potentials revealed by WWF’s analysis.”

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