How Cement May Yet Help Slow Global Warming

For decades, the world has, almost unanimously, accepted the evidence that human activity has contributed to global warming. Industries that generate enough carbon dioxide (CO2), the main culprit for global warming, are continuously monitored and hopefully regulated. They are usually heavily reliant on fossil fuels and the potential of transitioning to green, renewable energies is ever present. However, what if there is something right before us in our built environment, often taken for granted in its composition, that is cleverly designed so as to reduce the negative effects of climate change? Cement might be the answer.

At first glance, considering the impressive load of impact concrete has in terms of energy and resource consumption, any idea of cement being a part of the solution seems far-fetched. This is due to the fact that, in order to produce it, large amounts of energy are necessary for extraction and the process emits large amounts of CO2. It seems ironic, at the very least, to suggest cement as a catalyst for progress in preventing climate change.

Nevertheless, if we look at its properties more closely, the story changes and new possibilities emerge. By their nature, concrete structures provide insulation, acting as a thermal barrier that significantly reduces air conditioning use in areas where temperatures soar. In addition, large cement structures act as shelter and shade, lowering temperatures in the environment and reducing electricity consumption during extreme ambiances.

What is truly amazing is that, overall, cement and concrete materials could enable the avoidance of up to 19.2 gigatons of CO2 if they were to replace technologies, materials and construction techniques currently employed in the building industry or other product manufacturing processes. Every ton of cement replaced with alternatives such as natural fibers and lightweight materials is equivalent to the emissions savings of about one average EU citizen for an entire year.

Still, initiatives such as carbon capture and usage technologies, that aim at reducing the release of carbon dioxide after its production, are also making their way into the industry. With the implementation of these strategies, production processes can significantly reduce their emissions of CO2 and thus contribute to lower the threshold of global warming.

In a time of climate change, environmental degradation, and increasing human need for space and resources, for many businesses the goal has become not just profitability, but sustainability. In an effort to reach that goal, the use of cement in construction might act as a potential solution that, contrary to popular belief, could help reduce the negative effects of global warming. Although this solution is not a certainity as of yet, it is certainly worth further investigation and consideration.

Whether it is in the form of using insulating materials, researchers developing new advancements such as carbon capture and usage technologies, or the raw material that is cement itself, the industrial building sector can serve as a potential area in which to address the effects of global warming on the planet. The potential of cement in offering a viable solution to climate change is a prospect worth exploring, as it may yet prove to be an important element in our fight against global warming.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

Leave a Comment