The Environmental Impact of Cement Plants

Cement is everywhere, and the building material makes a huge impact on the environment in terms of emissions, according to the San Francisco Sentinel. This article outlines the cement-making process.
December 21, 2008, 11am PST | Judy Chang
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"As California tries to fight global warming–with or without the rest of the country–cement manufacturing remains one of the trickiest industries to regulate.

'I don't think there's anybody quite like cement,' said Mike Tollstrup, one of the state officials overseeing California's effort to fight global warming on its own. 'There are not a lot of facilities. Cement is used everywhere. There are significant issues of leakage. If we don't do it right, the potential for increasing emissions is a real concern.'

n 2006, California adopted Assembly Bill 32, a law mandating that by 2020, the state cut greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels. The California Air Resources Board, which will oversee implementation, released a Proposed Scoping Plan at the end of October mapping out how the state will reach its goal.

Cement is one of the industries singled out by regulators because, as Tollstrup says, it's both necessary and necessarily polluting.

Unchecked, carbon emissions from the cement sector would rise 23 percent, from 9.7 million metric tons in 2004 to 12.6 million metric tons in 2020, according to state statistics."

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Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 in San Francisco Sentinel
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