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New figures show reduction in emissions intensity

World Cement,

Figures released today by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) show a further reduction in CO2 emissions intensity per tonne of cement produced.  Data made available by 46 companies, with over 900 production facilities globally, show a 3.8% reduction in specific net CO2 emissions since 2005 and a 14.3% reduction since 1990.

As well as showing a reduction in CO2 per tonne of cement produced, the data also reveals a reduction in absolute CO2 emissions from companies reporting to the CSI database. These dropped for the first time since data has been gathered, from 596 million t in 2007 to 577 million t in 2008. This reduction reflects the impact of the economic downturn and global slowdown in construction activity.

The figures are encouraging because they demonstrate that modern blending methods, alternative fuels and the improved energy efficiency of new cement kilns are providing a reduction in the amount of CO2 emitted per tonne of cement produced. The CSI stressed that the important aspect of the findings are the specific, not absolute reductions. “Building and infrastructure projects, particularly in developing countries, will continue to increase demand for concrete – of which cement is the key ingredient. Independent predictions show that this demand will see cement production almost double in the next 20 years,” explained Dr Howard Klee, programme director at the CSI.

The CSI's global cement database, Getting The Numbers Right (GNR) is a voluntary, independently-managed CO2 and energy performance system that provides annual data on the cement industry. It uses a common protocol for measuring, reporting and data analysis, allowing the industry and policy makers to assess the influence of kiln technologies, fuel selection, plant location and other variables on emissions management. Today's figures include data released for the first time on an individual country basis, including CSI member facilities in China, the USA and UK.

Companies reporting into the CSI's GNR database cover two thirds of output outside China; or about one third of global cement production. The data highlights significant regional differences regarding the main levers for CO2 reduction. For example, in India cement plants are among the most thermally efficient in the world, while Europe leads in the use of alternative fossil fuels.

China, which is responsible for almost 50% of cement produced globally, has reduced net emissions significantly, thanks to an ongoing programme of kiln replacement.

“The technologies used in the region for building new cement plants are now among the most advanced in the world,” explained Dr Klee, who has seen five Chinese companies join the CSI in the past few months.

The latest data, released on 13 July, covers cement production in 2008. There is a one year embargo on data release to comply with anti-trust regulations.

Data can be viewed online at

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