Cement Americas

SPR 2018

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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14 CEMENT AMERICAS • Spring 2018 • www.cementamericas.com Cement Association of Canada (CAC) President and CEO Michael McSwee- ney recently delivered remarks to House of Commons Standing Commit- tee on Environment and Sustainable Development: Good morning, Madam Chair and Members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today on what our industry considers one of the government's most import- ant files. The cement and concrete industry contributes $73 billion in direct, indi- rect and induced economic impact and employs directly and indirectly over 151,000 Canadians. Our industry supports strong action on climate change, including putting a price on carbon. As of this year, all but one cement facility in Canada oper- ates in a province that has already priced carbon. As governments have moved toward carbon pricing, they have had to con- sider the impact of carbon pricing on the competitiveness of Energy Inten- sive Trade Exposed sectors. Cement is among Canada's most exposed sec- tors, uniquely vulnerable to its com- petitors in import and export markets that don't have similar carbon pricing systems. Thankfully, with the exception of Brit- ish Columbia, carbon pricing systems across Canada, including the forth- coming Federal Backstop Carbon Pric- ing System, on the whole strike the right balance between incentivizing emissions reductions, while introduc- ing other measures to protect and even enhance Canadian industry com- petitiveness as we transition a low car- bon economy. Why are carbon pricing and EITEs important to a discussion about cli- mate change and the built environ- ment? Because while well-designed carbon pricing systems can foster low-carbon innovation in the indus- tries that support Canada's built envi- ronment, these innovations cannot flourish in a policy environment that does not actively pull them into built environment decision-making. Consider that, on aggregate, all three levels of government purchase direct- ly and indirectly some 60 percent of all building materials consumed in Cana- da – concrete making up the majority of those materials. Now consider: 1. Our building and energy codes are minimum codes, not the gold standard many Canadians believe them to be, and unless significant- ly changed, will serve to impede low-carbon innovation, not accel- erate it; 2. Procurement decisions made by governments in general emphasize lowest cost tenders and only rare- ly consider GHGs or even climate adaptation; 3. When governments have consid- ered climate change in the built environment, they have done so with prescriptive policies – for example, policies like "wood first" – rather than leveraging the market toward comprehensive and sys- temic Clean Growth innovation. Let me offer an example. Our sector recently came together to promote a new cement, Portland limestone cement, as an opportunity to reduce GHGs from concrete. PLC reduces the GHG footprint of concrete by 10 per- cent. If adopted as a full replacement for all cement sold in Canada, Contem- pra could yield annual CO 2 reductions of almost one megatonne, at no addi- tional cost. While PLC meets the same performance standards as general-use cement, has been used in Europe for decades and is recognized in the 2010 National Building Code of Canada, it does not enjoy deep market adop- tion. This is because the construction industry, codes and standards bodies and the public procurement agencies responsible for planning and com- missioning infrastructure projects do not yet value or incentivize new inno- vations in low-carbon construction materials and design. Governments as purchasers of more than half of all concrete produced in Canada, with the stroke of a pen, could make PLC the default cement in the majority of all projects across Canada. And yet our industry's efforts to make this happen are inexplicably rebuffed. With this one innovation, we can address about 2 percent of the emissions gap that this government has identified Canada needs to fill to realize its 2030 target. P a v e m e n t i n f r a s t r u c t u r e o f fe r s another important example. Robust third-party lifecycle assessments irre- futably demonstrate the cost and cli- mate benefits of concrete pavements over asphalt pavements – they last longer (40 to 50 years), cost less over their life and can improve fuel efficien- cy by up to 7 percent. These proper- ties result in a savings of up to 12,000 tonnes of GHGs per lane-km, over a 50-year lifespan compared to a com- parable asphalt road. Contrast these two examples with the CAC President Talks Environment and Sustainable Development Michael McSweeney

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