California Senate Passes Bill to Slash Cement Emissions

California Senate Passes Bill to Slash Cement Emissions

The California Senate approved by a vote of 31 to 9 groundbreaking legislation to eliminate carbon pollution from California’s cement plants. Senate Bill 596 by Senator Josh Becker directs the Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve carbon neutrality in the cement industry no later than 2045 and to establish interim targets for reducing cement’s greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity. The bill builds on a pledge by California’s cement industry to be carbon neutral by midcentury and will identify key barriers and solutions to turn that commitment into action.

NRDC is sponsoring SB 596 in partnership with a broad coalition. The bill now moves to the Assembly where it will be heard in the Natural Resources committee on June 23rd. The Legislature has until September 10th to send bills to Governor Gavin Newsom.

 

Cement’s Giant Carbon Footprint

Cement is a dry powder mixed with aggregate, sand, and water to produce concrete. Cement plants manufacture clinker—produced by heating limestone and clay in a rotating kiln at very high temperatures—as the “glue” that binds a concrete mix together.

And concrete is everywhere. It is the most widely used material on earth (last year 30 billion tons of concrete were produced globally) and demand is growing due to urbanization. Traditional cement production is also highly polluting. While cement typically constitutes 10-15% of concrete’s mass in a typical mix, it accounts for 80-90% of its GHG emissions and is a major source of local air pollution. Together, the ubiquity of concrete and the emissions-intensity of making cement means the cement industry would rank as the world’s fourth-largest emitter if it were a country, contributing nearly 8% of global carbon dioxide output. Here at home, cement manufacturing is California’s second-largest industrial source of carbon pollution after oil and gas production.

Clearly, these trends need to change—and fast—if we are going to achieve our climate targets both within and beyond California. Thankfully, momentum is growing to unlock solutions for this essential industry.

Getting to Net-Zero

Cement is often referred to as a “hard-to-abate” industry because a majority of the GHG emissions from making ordinary Portland cement (the industry standard) result from the chemical process of limestone calcination, not the combustion of fossil fuels for energy use. Accordingly, while near-term GHG reductions are possible through fuel switching to lower carbon energy sources (California’s cement plants are the state’s largest consumers of coal and petroleum coke), improving material use and production efficiencies, and enhancing the use of so-called supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) in concrete, producing carbon neutral or negative cement will require transformative carbon management technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

SB 596 responds to both the near- and long-term abatement opportunities for California’s cement industry by directing ARB to develop a glidepath out to 2045 with strong interim targets to demonstrate progress, including a 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2035. Like the successful process used to develop ARB’s short-lived climate pollutant reduction plan, this will allow for a robust dialogue with industry and other stakeholders to identify key market and regulatory barriers; evaluate a range of solutions across new and existing measures; and prioritize actions that meet essential criteria, such as enhancing California’s competitiveness, improving local air quality, and leveraging state and federal incentives to support economic and workforce development.

Looking Across the Cement-Concrete Supply Chain

For these solutions to take hold, however, California must develop complementary policies to stimulate demand for the use of low carbon cement in concrete. Since public agencies are the largest purchasers of concrete in California (about 40% of all concrete in the state is used for roads and sidewalks), a great place to start is adding concrete to California’s Buy Clean program, which requires contractors to use low carbon building materials to compete for state contracts. Another is to hasten the shift away from prescriptive cement content specifications and toward performance-based specifications, which afford concrete producers the latitude to achieve significant cost and GHG reductions in their mix designs without sacrificing performance. NRDC worked with then-Assembly Member Rob Bonta on a bill to take both of those steps before his appointment to Attorney General, and we are continuing to explore legislative and regulatory pathways to work the demand side of the coin as California’s cement supply gets cleaner under SB 596.

About The Author

 Alex Jackson joined NRDC in 2009 and currently oversees climate law and policy in California. He has led several legislative campaigns for NRDC, including enacting California’s 2030 statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit and extending its cap-and-trade program. His areas of focus include carbon markets, energy efficiency, renewable energy, building decarbonization, and short-lived climate pollutants. He is a board member of the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy (CFEE), where he sits on the energy steering committee. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy, history, and government from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is based in Sacramento, CA. 

 

Related Books

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

by Paul Hawken and Tom Steyer
9780143130444In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. Available On Amazon

Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy

by Hal Harvey, Robbie Orvis, Jeffrey Rissman
1610919564With the effects of climate change already upon us, the need to cut global greenhouse gas emissions is nothing less than urgent. It’s a daunting challenge, but the technologies and strategies to meet it exist today. A small set of energy policies, designed and implemented well, can put us on the path to a low carbon future. Energy systems are large and complex, so energy policy must be focused and cost-effective. One-size-fits-all approaches simply won’t get the job done. Policymakers need a clear, comprehensive resource that outlines the energy policies that will have the biggest impact on our climate future, and describes how to design these policies well. Available On Amazon

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

by Naomi Klein
1451697392In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Available On Amazon

From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.

 

This article originally appeared on OnEarth

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeiwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptruesswsvthtrukurvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

LATEST VIDEOS

The Great Climate Migration Has Begun
The Great Climate Migration Has Begun
by Super User
The climate crisis is forcing thousands around the world to flee as their homes become increasingly uninhabitable.
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
by Alan N Williams, et al
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease…
Earth Has Stayed Habitable For Billions Of Years – Exactly How Lucky Did We Get?
Earth Has Stayed Habitable For Billions Of Years – Exactly How Lucky Did We Get?
by Toby Tyrrell
It took evolution 3 or 4 billion years to produce Homo sapiens. If the climate had completely failed just once in that…
How Mapping The Weather 12,000 Years Ago Can Help Predict Future Climate Change
How Mapping The Weather 12,000 Years Ago Can Help Predict Future Climate Change
by Brice Rea
The end of the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago, was characterised by a final cold phase called the Younger Dryas.…
The Caspian Sea Is Set To Fall By 9 Metres Or More This Century
The Caspian Sea Is Set To Fall By 9 Metres Or More This Century
by Frank Wesselingh and Matteo Lattuada
Imagine you are on the coast, looking out to sea. In front of you lies 100 metres of barren sand that looks like a…
Venus Was Once More Earth-like, But Climate Change Made It Uninhabitable
Venus Was Once More Earth-like, But Climate Change Made It Uninhabitable
by Richard Ernst
We can learn a lot about climate change from Venus, our sister planet. Venus currently has a surface temperature of…
Five Climate Disbeliefs: A Crash Course In Climate Misinformation
The Five Climate Disbeliefs: A Crash Course In Climate Misinformation
by John Cook
This video is a crash course in climate misinformation, summarizing the key arguments used to cast doubt on the reality…
The Arctic Hasn't Been This Warm For 3 Million Years and That Means Big Changes For The Planet
The Arctic Hasn't Been This Warm For 3 Million Years and That Means Big Changes For The Planet
by Julie Brigham-Grette and Steve Petsch
Every year, sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean shrinks to a low point in mid-September. This year it measures just 1.44…

LATEST ARTICLES

trees to plant for climate2
Plant These Trees To Improve City Life
by Mike Williams-Rice
A new study establishes live oaks and American sycamores as champions among 17 “super trees” that will help make cities…
north sea sea bed
Why We Must Understand Seabed Geology To Harness The Winds
by Natasha Barlow, Associate Professor of Quaternary Environmental Change, University of Leeds
For any country blessed with easy access to the shallow and windy North Sea, offshore wind will be key to meeting net…
3 wildfire lessons for forest towns as Dixie Fire destroys historic Greenville, California
3 wildfire lessons for forest towns as Dixie Fire destroys historic Greenville, California
by Bart Johnson, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon
A wildfire burning in hot, dry mountain forest swept through the Gold Rush town of Greenville, California, on Aug. 4,…
China Can Meet Energy and Climate Goals Capping Coal Power
China Can Meet Energy and Climate Goals Capping Coal Power
by Alvin Lin
At the Leader’s Climate Summit in April, Xi Jinping pledged that China will “strictly control coal-fired power…
Blue water surrounded by dead white grass
Map tracks 30 years of extreme snowmelt across US
by Mikayla Mace-Arizona
A new map of extreme snowmelt events over the last 30 years clarifies the processes that drive rapid melting.
A plane drops red fire retardant on to a forest fire as firefighters parked along a road look up into the orange sky
Model predicts 10-year burst of wildfire, then gradual decline
by Hannah Hickey-U. Washington
A look at the long-term future of wildfires predicts an initial roughly decade-long burst of wildfire activity,…
White sea ice in blue water with the sun setting reflected in the water
Earth’s frozen areas are shrinking 33K square miles a year
by Texas A&M University
The Earth’s cryosphere is shrinking by 33,000 square miles (87,000 square kilometers) per year.
A row of male and female speakers at microphones
234 scientists read 14,000+ research papers to write the upcoming IPCC climate report
by Stephanie Spera, Assistant Professor of Geography and the Environment, University of Richmond
This week, hundreds of scientists from around the world are finalizing a report that assesses the state of the global…

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.