carbon management

  2013 2014
CO2 emissions directly from cement production (kg/t per tonne) 694 679
CO2 emissions from crushed rock (kg/CO2 per tonne) 3.7 3.8
CO2 emissions from sand and gravel - land-won (kg/CO2 per tonne) 3.9 3.5
CO2 emissions from asphalt production (kg/CO2 per tonne) 27.4 33.9
CO2 emissions from ready-mixed concrete production (kg/CO2 per tonne) 1.0 0.8

The cement industry has been especially successful, recording a reduction of 25% in carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of cement produced between 1998 and 2013. This reflects major efficiencies and increasing use of non-fossil fuels. While some 40 per cent of carbon emissions from cement manufacture are generated through the combustion of fuels, 60 per cent come from the chemical reaction of heating calcium carbonate. The development of carbon capture and storage technology will be critical to the industry’s longer term ability to reduce these latter emissions.

MPA has worked closely with The Carbon Trust to embed carbon reduction into the aggregates sector, leading to the production of an Aggregates Carbon reduction microsite with open access here. Asphalt technology demonstration projects are underway and a package of operator guidance and resources is being prepared for a new industry carbon portal.

MPA The Concrete Centre has focussed on the potential role of concrete structures in helping to mitigate the effects of climate change, notably through the use of the thermal mass characteristics of concrete to moderate temperature changes in buildings – an issue of increasing significance for designers and occupiers. We have also participated in carbon reduction work led by the Government’s Chief Construction Adviser, Paul Morrell and are contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Construction Strategy targets to reduce construction sector dioxide emissions by 15 per cent between 2008 and 2012.

An issue of increasing concern to the sector is the myriad of market measures introduced in Europe and the UK to reduce carbon emissions. The third phase of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS) started on 1 January 2013 and as well as cement and lime installations it now includes larger asphalt plants for the first time. A review of the list of sectors deemed vulnerable to carbon leakage (where production is moved to countries with less constraints on carbon emissions) took place in 2014 and Cement and lime remained on the list. This will help these industries to remain competitive while continuing to reduce emissions. However, the high cost of EU ETS and the UK Carbon Price Support, which is passed through to customers by power generators, remains a threat to competitiveness.

It is vital that cement and lime are given access to UK compensation packages and MPA are lobbying strongly for this. Following a review of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, many simplifications have been introduced although the scheme remains a tax rather than a revenue neutral scheme as originally intended. The Government intends to undertake a full review of the scheme in 2016. In terms of the Climate Change Levy (CCL) MPA successfully led calls for the Government to exempt mineralogical processes from the Climate Change Levy. The exemption, came into force from 1 April 2014 and is of benefit to many MPA product groups including cement, lime, concrete and dimension stone.

Aspiration:
To ensure that the sector makes a full contribution to meeting the carbon reduction targets set out in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan and in the Government’s Strategy For Sustainable Construction.