Sustainable cement: the simple switch that could massively cut global carbon emissions

Despite the extensive environmental and technical benefits achievable, the construction industry has been slow to take up sustainable cement technologies, which have instead been focused primarily in smaller niche markets. This has limited the industry’s ability to decarbonise.

August 22 is Earth Overshoot Day, which marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This results from massive consumption of ecological resources and accumulation of waste. A large portion of this comes from heavy industry and the way we build our cities.

Interestingly, Earth Overshoot Day in 2020 is almost exactly two years since Greta Thunberg initiated the first school strike for the climate. Over the past two years, she has inspired millions of people to fight for climate justice and a better future, and the European parliament declared a “climate and environmental emergency”.

At the same time, over those two years humans have emitted more than 80 billion tonnes of CO₂, and Earth has experienced the second hottest year on record. Despite the heightened awareness of the climate crisis, it is clear that much more needs to be done.

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