UN special advisor pleads 'decarbonise now!'

UN special advisor pleads 'decarbonise now!'
21 September 2022

Selwin Hart, special advisor to the UN Secretary General on Climate Action and Just Transition, said: "Despite being well behind the eight ball the window to reduce global warming to 1.5˚C is still open. We have the technologies and financial tools to make the best of this opportunity, we can still limit the general increase to 1.5˚C but we need to act now. This is my central message – 2050 is fine – a good milestone but what matters is what we do now and the actions taken now."

Mr Hart was speaking at the Global Cement and Concrete Association's (GCCA) 'Towards Net Zero – Cement and Concrete Action and Progress 2050 Roadmap – One Year On' meeting, taking place at the start of New York Climate Week. Unfortunately, the reality is that: “the world is more inline to exceed 2˚C global warming by 2050 and national commitments currently place us at 3˚C warming by the end of the century," Hart added. “What you [as an industry] do now matters.

Mr Hart challenged the cement and concrete industry to use its powerful voices and resources to speed up climate action in every country, but especially in the G20 countries which are responsible for about 80 per cent of the cement and concrete sector's emissions. He also advised that the COP27 meeting, being held later this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, was an opportunity to regain the momentum in the climate agenda and for the cement and concrete sector to demonstrate the progress it has made on its decarbonisation goals.

Thomas Guillot, GCCA's CEO, added that the only dip in CO2 emissions we have seen are because of COVID-19 disruption in 2020. The industry must now accelerate the transition to green cement and this means decisive action from regulators and an increase in project investment to decarbonise. 

The industry's progress to decarbonise can be seen in several areas. The GCCA launched its Net Zero Accelerator programme a year ago to lower emissions for 85 per cent of the world, outside of China, starting in North America and Western Europe. But this only accounts for 16 per cent of the world’s cement production.

Among GCCA's members, 10 cement plants have also been assigned to operate carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology by 2030. Since the GCCA's roadmap started four years ago, 100 projects have been announced for decarbonisation among its members.

Published under Cement News