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MPA responds to UK government’s 2050 carbon reduction roadmap for the cement industry

World Cement,

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has responded to the publication of the government’s 2050 carbon reduction roadmap for the UK cement sector. The report, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff and DNV GL, in collaboration with those departments and industry, sets out potential pathways for carbon reductions under a range of scenarios, including with and without carbon capture and storage (CCS). As published, the report is incomplete as more work needs to be done to characterise and cost the various decarbonisation options. MPA would have preferred to see this work completed before publication to ensure clarity and certainty on the work ahead, but will continue to cooperate with the government on the development of the Roadmap.

Commenting on the report, Dr Pal Chana, Executive Director MPA, said: “The UK cement industry has taken a leading position in exploring long-term trajectories for carbon reduction in what is a highly energy intensive industry. The UK cement sector has already made major strides in reducing carbon emissions and, as part of this, became the first in the global cement industry to publish its own national carbon reduction roadmap in 2013. This new report, commissioned by DECC and BIS, is the government’s next steps on our pioneering work and the MPA and its member companies have cooperated closely with the project team to identify potential technologies and reduction pathways.

“The UK cement industry set itself, in its own roadmap, the ambition of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 81% over 1990 (Kyoto Protocol baseline year), if CCS can be technically and economically deployed; and of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 62% without CCS, subject to other aspects outside of their control also being delivered, such as decarbonisation of the electricity grid. The government roadmap is consistent with the industry’s ambitions and presents a range of pathways and scenarios comprising a number of technological interventions, which have yet to be fully costed.

“UK cement producers will work with DECC and BIS to explore the feasibility of the new pathways, but as the report itself acknowledges, the measures to cut carbon emissions need to be technically feasible and economically viable. MPA believes that carbon reductions need to be achieved while maintaining the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers. There is no point in making it more expensive to produce cement domestically than it is to import cement from other countries, as this simply displaces the carbon emissions somewhere else – a classic case of ‘carbon leakage’.”

Dr Chana concluded: “We are proud of our record on carbon reduction. We have reduced absolute emissions by 55% since 1990 and by 23% per tonne since 1998. We can and will go further, but we have to be technically and economically realistic. This report continues the conversation with the government with a view to securing a long-term perspective for the industry, economy and environment.”

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