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Cement Producers Need Big Carbon Cuts to Keep Paris Goals Within Reach

The global cement industry will have to double down on greenhouse gas emission reductions to keep the goals of the Paris agreement within reach, according to a new report from the UK-based Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Cement and concrete are “the most consumed product in the world after water,” and the industry “accounts for 6% of global carbon emissions, making it the second-biggest source of carbon emissions from global industry after steel,” The Guardian reports. “Its wider effects are even more problematic, as the built environment accounts for more than a third of the world’s carbon emissions.”

While the sector has been trying for years to reduce emissions, or find ways to sequester the carbon it produces, “the results have failed to keep pace with the need to cut carbon emissions,” the paper notes.

But CDP Chief Executive Paul Simpson insisted carbon reductions are within the industry’s reach. “Cement companies need to invest and innovate in order to avoid impending risks to their operations and the wider world,” he said. “There is a solution—cement companies just need to invest properly in finding it.”

The CDP’s analysis of 13 of the world’s biggest publicly-listed cement companies calls out the European industry as a serious laggard whose emissions have not fallen as expected since the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was introduced in 2005. Companies in India, by contrast, are leading the sector in reducing their carbon emissions, “partly because they benefit from newer and more efficient manufacturing plants,” The Guardian notes.