Reading: The Concrete Problem

man carrying gray pipe
Photo by Yury Kim on

A reading that describes how the cement industry contributes to global warming. This reading by Carbon Brief discusses the production of traditional cement and how this contributes to 8% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. It further highlights the projected increase in demand for concrete, particularly in developing countries, and how this could potentially raise emissions further. 

Students will learn about global large-scale cement production and the resulting carbon emissions. They will also learn about alternate and ‘novel’ methods of production that are being researched and the complexities of switching to these modes of production. They will further understand the practical, political and economic complexities with respect to cutting emissions as per global standards. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is cement and how is it produced?
  2. List some of the reasons ‘emissions per tonne of output’ has reduced in cement production? In contrast, why are sector emissions still on the rise? 
  3. Discuss the current ‘roadmap’ of cement production with respect to the 2C scenario.

About the tool

Tool Name‘Q&A: Why cement emissions matter for climate change’
DisciplineChemistry, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineEnvironmental Chemistry, Cement, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Pollution
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Climate and the Anthroposphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Developed byJocelyn Timperley, Carbon Brief
Hosted atCarbon Brief Website
Computer SkillsBasic