Cement Americas

APR 2019

Cement Americas provides comprehensive coverage of the North and South American cement markets from raw material extraction to delivery and tranportation to end user.

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www.cementamericas.com • Spring 2019 • CEMENT AMERICAS 23 FEATURE In other words, the result is more of a "feature" of the anal- ysis than a "finding" from it. Instead, the authors should have measured CO2 intensity on a per-ton-of-clinker basis, which provides a more objective measure for comparing carbon efficiency across industries. CSCME is confident that an apples-to-apples comparison that corrects for this bias would show that the Sierra Club's analysis is highly mislead- ing and that the California cement industry is just as car- bon efficient as other high-performing cement industries around the world. Locally Produced Cement Is The Most Environmentally Responsible Option For Meeting California's Needs For Durable And Resilient Infrastructure. In its attempt to paint a distorted picture of the California cement industry, the Sierra Club paper neglects to point out that locally produced cement is the most environmentally responsible option for meeting the state's infrastructure needs due to: • The stringent environmental regulations under which California plants operate. • The GHG emissions associated with transporting cement from other markets. First, the California cement industry is subject to some of the most stringent local, state, and federal regulations in the world with respect to toxic and criteria air emissions (e.g., mercury, particulate matter, NOx, SO2). In contrast, the Chinese cement industry releases toxic and criteria air emissions on a breathtaking scale. As not- ed in a 2017 study co-authored by the principal author of the Sierra Club paper: "Consistent with the Chinese cement industry's large production volume, total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the industry are very high, as are associated air pollutant emissions, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM). These emissions cause significant regional and global environmental problems. The cement industry is the largest source of PM emissions in China, accounting for 40 percent of PM emissions from all industrial sources and 27 percent of total national PM emissions." Second, if California does not source its cement locally then it will most likely import it from countries that can logisti- cally and economically access the coastal market, particu- larly China. This involves not only producing the cement, but transporting it from a plant to a port, loading it onto a ship, sending it halfway around the world using bunker fuel, unloading it at a port in California, and then transport- ing it in diesel-powered trucks through California's port neighborhoods and other communities before it eventually reaches the end customer. This series of activities results in significant GHG emissions that are likely to outweigh any insignificant differences in the GHG emissions associated with producing clinker. In short, the Sierra Club paper sidesteps the most important question, which is: How does California source the cement it needs in the most environmentally responsible manner? Instead, the paper focuses on making politically motivat- ed arguments that erroneously paint the Chinese cement industry as a model of environmental performance and that ignore the environmental and climate change benefits of locally sourced cement. Policymakers should take action to ensure that the cement that California consumes meets the state's stringent environmental standards and to avoid the additional GHG emissions associated with importing cement from China and other distant locations. There Are Significant Barriers To Increasing The Use Of Scms In California In An Environmentally Responsible Manner. The Sierra Club paper argues that, when measured on a per-ton-of-cement basis, the California cement industry has a higher emissions intensity than China's (as well as most others outside of California), primarily due to differ- ences in the use of SCMs. Biased Benchmarks: How Much Caffeine is in Your Coffee? To appreciate the bias that is inherent to a cement-based benchmark, consider an intuitive example: the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Imagine a benchmarking analysis that aims to compare the "caffeine intensity" of coffee pro- duced by two different coffee shops: China Coffee and California Coffee. Assume that both coffee shops use the same coffee beans and brew the coffee the same way, but China Cof- fee puts cream in the coffee (à la Dunkin Donuts) and California Coffee allows customers to add cream them- selves (à la Starbucks). If measurements are taken at the point of sale, one would mistakenly conclude that the caf- feine intensity of coffee at China Coffee is lower than at California Coffee. If, however, measurements are taken behind the counter and before any other substances are added, one would correctly conclude that the caffeine intensity of coffee at both shops is similar.

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