Another reason we need to stop developing: `If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world.’

Much of the focus on reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions is upon reduction and elimination of fossil fuels. Many do not realize that reducing emissions to zero also means offsetting emissions from agriculture, and especially curbing use of cement. Cement production yields an enormous about of CO2:

In 2015, it generated around 2.8bn tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 8% of the global total – a greater share than any country other than China or the US.

More recent numbers here.

Zeroing it either means curbing development or finding substitutes, and probably, given how things go, a combination of the two. This is a reason why I am so virulently anti-development, in addition to ecosystem destruction and putting people, assets, and revenue base at risk in a serious flood plain.

These figures are from R. M. Andrew: Global CO2 emissions from cement production, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 195–217, 2018.

Apart from concerns for climate impacts, there are documented health effects from the production of cement near where limestone is mined and the cement is produced, and for incidental emissions, such as non-exhaust particulate matter from the heavy road traffic which carries it. See, for instance,

Thorpe, A., & Harrison, R. M. (2008). Sources and properties of non-exhaust particulate matter from road traffic: A review. Science of The Total Environment, 400(1-3), 270–282.

This is a matter pertinent to the quality of life in the Town of Westwood, Massachusetts, where I live, and nearby towns through which Route 109 (“High Street”) and Hartford Street pass:

In particular, there is a cement production facility in Medfield which accounts for a significant portion of heavy truck traffic:

The Town of Westwood is already exposed to unhealthy particulates from the nearby Interstate 95/Route 128 traffic which streams 24/7. This additional burden of particulates, produced by trucks passing several per five minutes in both directions on High Street, travelling in excess of the 30 mph speed limit, poses an unnecessary risk to the people of the Town particularly children.

It is not appropriate for this post, but, in the long term, I intend to measure this traffic, the exceedance cement truck traffic over speed limits, impacts to care of roads, and estimate health effects. That traffic travels faster than legal speed limits is no surprise (MIT), but in the case of cement trucks, this practice can be particularly dangerous, setting aside risks of particulate pollution.

About ecoquant

See Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
This entry was posted in Anthropocene, attribution, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, cement production, civilization, climate, climate disruption, climate economics, development as anti-ecology, economic trade, emissions, extended producer responsibility, global warming, greenhouse gases, Humans have a lot to answer for, Hyper Anthropocene, planning, pollution, sustainability, the right to know, the tragedy of our present civilization, unreason, Westwood, zero carbon. Bookmark the permalink.

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