To bring the cement sector in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, its annual emissions will need to fall by at least 16 per cent by 2030.1 Steeper reductions will be required if assumptions about the contribution from carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies prove to be optimistic.
The main focus of this report is on those emissions mitigation solutions that require the transformation of cement and concrete and are thus unique to the sector. More than 50 per cent of cement sector emissions are intrinsically linked to the process for producing clinker, one of the main ingredients in cement. As the by-product of a chemical reaction, such emissions cannot be reduced simply by changing fuel sources or increasing the efficiency of cement plants. This report therefore focuses on the potential to blend clinker with alternative materials, and on the use of ‘novel cements’ – two levers that can reduce the need for clinker itself by lowering the proportion of clinker required in particular cement mixtures. Despite widespread acceptance among experts that these are critical, they have received far less policy focus.