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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24 CEMENT AMERICAS • Spring 2019 • www.cementamericas.com FEATURE The paper notes that SCMs are typically added at cement plants in most countries but are added at ready-mix con- crete facilities in the United States, including California. However, the paper fails to mention that there are also sub- stantial barriers to increasing the use of SCMs in California, regardless of whether blending takes place at the cement plant or concrete facility. The primary barrier is the lack of a steady local supply of SCMs such as fly ash and slag, which are waste products from coal-fired electric power and steel manufacturing, respectively. Given that California does not have coal-fired power generation or steel manufacturing, the California cement industry must import SCMs from other regions. In contrast, the Chinese cement industry has access to a large, local and steady supply of SCMs due to the country's heavy reliance on coal-fired electricity and steel manufac- turing. As a result of these market conditions, efforts to require or incentivize the increased use of SCMs in Califor- nia could actually increase global GHG emissions. Given that SCMs are not produced locally in California and are highly utilized in areas where they are produced, increasing demand in California would curb their use else- where. This artificial "reshuffling" of materials could cre- ate an illusory benefit, with GHG decreases in California being offset by increases in other areas. Diverting cement substitutes to California from distant locations will also increase transportation-related emissions, which means that this artificial reshuffling of supply could, on net, actual- ly increase global GHG emissions. Policymakers Have An Opportunity To Unlock And Accelerate Additional GHG Emissions Savings By Facil- itating The Adoption Of Portland-Limestone Cement (PLC) In California. The California cement industry, unlike other cement indus- tries, has limited ability to reduce GHG emissions through the blending of SCMs at the plant. It could, however, signifi- cantly reduce GHG emissions if the state adopts standards that permit the use of Portland-Limestone Cement (PLC), which would allow an additional 10 percent of limestone to be added to the final product. The use of PLC in California would advance the state's envi- ronmental goals, including the reduction of GHG emissions in the cement industry, while providing comparable perfor- mance. PLC has been used in Europe for more than 40 years and in Canada for over a decade. In the United States, a majority of states have accepted PLC standards, which include testing requirements to classify cement for use in high sulfate soil regions, such as California. Given the size of the California Department of Transpor- tation (Caltrans) and the fact that many other entities use its standards, the agency's approval of these standards is an essential first step toward producing and using PLC throughout the state. Permitting the use of PLC is the quickest and most cost-ef- fective pathway to reducing GHG emissions in the Califor- nia cement industry. It is estimated that, given production dynamics, the widespread use of PLC could reduce the cement industry's GHG emissions by as much as 9 percent. Conclusion The California cement industry is proud of the progress that it has made in decreasing its GHG emissions, and we look forward to engaging with policymakers, regulators, and other interested stakeholders to find new ways to reduce the industry's carbon footprint while minimizing the risk of emissions leakage. However, a constructive conversation about how the industry can continue to contribute to California's climate change objectives cannot be based on sensational claims and intentionally misleading analysis. Rather, it must be rooted in a complete, accurate and even-handed account- ing of the facts, as well as full consideration of the industry's unique circumstances. The Coalition for Sustainable Cement Manufacturing & Environment comprises all the Portland Cement manufac- turers operating in California.

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