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Report: Cement industry can reduce carbon emissions

concreteAn initiative by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) indicates cement production can be “decoupled” from much of its associated carbon dioxide emissions.

The global cement industry is a major contributor to rising levels of greenhouse gases.

The WBCSD’s Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) represents the collective effort of 18 leading cement companies from around the world,while the WBCSD’s “Getting the Numbers Right” (GNR) system is a sector-wide global information database that provides accurate, verified data on the cement industry’s CO2 emissions and energy performance.

According to a new report — “Cement Industry Energy and CO2 Performance: ‘Getting the Numbers Right’ ” — cement production by companies participating in the GNR initiative increased by 53 per cent from 1990 to 2006, whereas absolute net CO2 emissions increased more slowly, by only 35 per cent, showing evidence of a decoupling of production and related emissions.

To date, the GNR is the system with the widest data coverage in the cement industry, providing aggregated data on more than 800 individual cement facilities worldwide over more than 100 countries. The database currently includes data for the years 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2006.

“GNR shows that an effective measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) system can be developed and managed by an industry,” said Howard Klee, CSI project director. “Furthermore, reliable and up-to-date emissions data is critical for emissions benchmark-setting in a sector like cement.”

He added, “While we have very good data coverage in some countries (notably in Europe, North America and Latin America), the CSI would like to see other cement companies and trade associations participate in the GNR system. We have made a good start with nearly 50 per cent of the data from India, but are still not well represented in China and the CIS countries. The better the information, the better policy-makers and industry will be able to understand future performance potential and design policies that deliver effective mitigation.”

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