By Seth Borenstein. Courtesy of Associated Press News.
Heat trapping carbon dioxide emissions from making cement, a less talked about but major source of carbon pollution, have doubled in the last 20 years, new global data shows. In 2021, worldwide emissions from making cement for buildings, roads and other infrastructure hit nearly 2.9 billion tons (2.6 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide, which is more than 7% of the global carbon emissions, according to emissions scientist Robbie Andrew of Norway’s CICERO Center for International Climate Research and the Global Carbon Project. Twenty years ago, in 2002, cement emissions were some 1.4 billion tons (1.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide.
“Cement emission have grown faster than most other carbon sources,” said Stanford University climate scientist Rob Jackson, who leads Global Carbon Project, a group of scientists that track worldwide climate pollution and publish their work in peer reviewed journals. “Cement emissions were also unusual in that they never dropped during COVID. They didn’t grow as much, but they never declined the way oil, gas and coal did.”