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12 Apr 2019, 13:20
Julian Wettengel

Need measures to reduce carbon footprint by cement industry – WWF Germany

WWF Germany

Environmental organisation WWF Germany has published a background paper on the climate impact of cement production and proposes several measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the industry. “The building sector is a problem child of climate protection,” said Michael Schäfer, head of climate and energy policy at WWF Germany. “Not only heating and cooling strains Germany's climate efforts, also the materials used in construction still leave a very deep climate footprint.” By changing cement production, the country’s industry and construction sector could become more climate-friendly, and also boost Germany as an industrial location if companies emerge as pioneers of sustainable cement production, says WWF in a press release. The NGO proposes introducing financial incentives for investments in climate-friendly cement, updating construction regulation to include stricter climate requirements, and creating legal certainty in Germany for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or Utilisation (CCU).

Two percent of German and eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from cement production, writes WWF. The material is indispensable for infrastructure and building construction and demand will likely increase, so finding a low- or no-CO₂ process of producing it is essential for climate protection. The German government said in March it will make available 45 million euros for investments to decarbonise industry, for example cement, starting immediately. In Germany, there is widespread public opposition to CCS, which is considered costly and potentially harmful to the environment. This criticism, coupled with regulatory uncertainty, has led to test projects being discontinued.

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