PCA, GCCA team on carbon emissions

By |  September 26, 2022
Photo: mcdc/E+/Getty Images

The Portland Cement Association and the Global Cement & Concrete Association say that while there have been steps made in the right direction toward carbon-emission goals, there is a still much work to be done. Photo: mcdc/E+/Getty Images

The Portland Cement Association (PCA), and the Global Cement & Concrete Association (GCCA), showcased the industry’s decarbonization progress since launching its Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality in October 2021 and reviewed next steps to accelerate efforts.

While PCA focused on U.S. cement companies’ advancements, GCCA provided a global perspective at a New York Climate Week 2022 panel event.

Selwin Hart, special advisor to the UN Secretary General for Climate Action & Just Transition, delivered the keynote speech, issuing a strong call for governments to take a more active role in helping to expedite industry efforts. Panelists also addressed specific policies focused on building a green, net zero concrete future, and discussed tools available to stakeholders and policymakers worldwide.

“Cement and concrete are now at the heart of the U.S. infrastructure plan,” says Mike Ireland, president and CEO of PCA. “There is much work to be done. PCA in collaboration with GCCA and so many others are doing amazing things already. Our industry has long recognized the need for emissions reduction and has taken steps to increase efficiencies for many years, but we’re in a unique position to do much more. We’re already seeing encouraging signs of progress on our roadmap. We must collaborate across the entire value chain to reach carbon neutrality.”

Hart says there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to limiting carbon emissions and calls on GCCA to lead the way.

“The world is way off track from keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming limit alive and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement,” he says. “We urgently need all hands on deck. GCCA represents 80 percent of the cement industry – responsible for 7 percent of global CO2 emissions. You have the power to shape history.

“Your global association was the first heavy industry association to set a net-zero commitment,” Hart adds. “But that means the easy part is done. We need you to be champions of net-zero credibility by bringing your entire industry and supply chain on board, including specific plans on how you will all reach net-zero, and what immediate steps you’ll take to cut emissions significantly each year.”

PCA says the association and its and member companies have been working with industry partners globally, including research groups, along with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions working toward a future of carbon neutrality.

“We’re coming up on one year since we formally launched our Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality and we’ve exceeded our expectations for near-term progress in such a short time,” says Ron Henley, president of GCC of America and chairman of PCA. “We aimed to increase the use of available lower carbon cement products and we’re already seeing more requirements from architects and builders requesting lower carbon cement options.

“Carbon capture, utilization and storage is another big issue we want to accelerate addressing and we have a number of pilot projects looking at this from various angles,” he adds. “We are working with the administration to get more funding to expand and provide breakthrough technologies. We are committed to engaging the necessary stakeholders, and are pursuing dialogues with regulators, other industries, academics and many others to make this work.”

Filiberto Ruiz, president and CEO of Votorantim Cimentos North America and vice chairman of PCA, says cement producers need to expedite emissions reductions.

“Since 1980, cement producers have reduced energy usage by 40 percent,” Ruiz says. “But this is not enough. We need to accelerate reductions across the value chain. At the cement plant, we can continue reducing emissions and add value to materials otherwise headed to landfills by reusing them as fuel. In the U.S., cement producers are only displacing their use of fossil fuels by 15 percent, on average, in comparison to 30 or 40 percent in other countries. Recently, we have been working with the Department of Energy to reduce the use of fossil fuels, but to do so we need new permitting and other regulation changes.”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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