Cement is one of the global economy’s most carbon-polluting industries. Responsible for about 8% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2015. If it were ranked with individual countries, the cement industry would be the third-largest greenhouse-gas emitter in the world behind only China and the United States. And this already outsized footprint is only projected to grow in the coming decades as economic development and rapid urbanization continue across Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
“Today’s society would not have been possible without concrete,” said Robert Courland, author of the book Concrete Planet. It’s the most abundant synthetic material in existence, and according to the Cement Industry Federation, an Australian trade group, if you divvied up all of the concrete used around the world each year, three tons of concrete would go to every person on the planet, making it the world’s second most-consumed resource after water.
With its abundance, concrete takes a mammoth toll on the environment. The process for making Portland cement, the most common form used to produce concrete, for example, is one of the most carbon-intensive manufacturing processes in existence; manufacturing just one ton yields upwards of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Given the monumental scale of its carbon footprint, cement alone could make or break efforts to slow global warming. For Gregory, the only way forward is to keep pushing the whole industry to accelerate its efforts.
Increasing construction using more sustainable wooden materials can be one of solutions to improve the situations.
Wood doesn’t release carbon, instead trees pull it out of air and store it in its wood.
Marcello Rossi, a freelancer science and environmental journalist based in Milan published a great article on this matter. Strongly recommended to have a look: