Canadian government and Cement Association to partner on low-carbon concrete production

The resulting roadmap will help the sector reach net-zero carbon concrete by 2050

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable
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The Canadian government and the Cement Association of Canada agreed on a roadmap to low-carbon concrete production as part of the country's push for clean technologies.

Developing and implementing the roadmap will provide the Canadian cement and concrete industry with the technologies, tools and policy needed to hit the target of net-zero carbon concrete by 2050, the two entities said in a joint statement.

The partnership has potential to reduce 15 mega-tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions cumulatively by 2030, and then ongoing reductions of over 4 mega-tonnes annually, they said.

"Through this partnership... we are helping to make Canada a global leader in green concrete," François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said. "We will work with the cement and concrete sector to take on a leadership role in the fight against climate change, while creating good jobs and driving Canada's economic recovery."

Canada is building on its investments in climate change action and clean technology, most recently with the Budget 2021 plan to provide CAD$17.6 billion ($14.6bn/Dh53.6bn) towards a green recovery that creates well-paying middle-class jobs, builds a clean economy and protects against climate change.

The roadmap, when complete in December 2021, is in line with Canada's climate plans and Budget 2021 goals that identify the cement sector as a key contributor to the country's net-zero future.

The partnership between the government and cement industry will "accelerate the decarbonisation of our sector and enhance our capacity to deliver the durable, resilient, safe and zero-carbon buildings and infrastructure of the future," Marie Glenn, chairwoman of the Cement Association of Canada, said.

Canada is projected to use at least 55 million tonnes of cement over the next five years, making the public-private collaboration "a significant step forward" to help decarbonise the industry, Michael McSweeney, president and chief executive of the Cement Association of Canada, said.

The partnership will set up an industry-government working group that will be tasked with identifying short and long-term actions to move towards building a low-carbon economy in the cement sector, according to the statement.

It will also advance the commercialisation of low-carbon cement and concrete solutions, establish carbon reduction milestones for the sector, collect the data necessary to track progress against milestones as well as help accelerate market demand for low-carbon cement and concrete.

The working group's set of planned activities includes building knowledge and opportunities for low-carbon products and developing a work plan to build market acceptance of low-carbon concrete. The group also aims to develop Canada's low-emissions supply chain, support research and development, set green procurement rules and promote cleaner fuels for transporting building materials.

Its key priorities will include ensuring the Canadian cement industry can meet its climate change targets, according to the statement.

Cement production is identified worldwide as a major greenhouse gas emission source, producing 1.5 per cent annually in Canada and 7 per cent worldwide, it said.

In Canada, concrete is one the most widely used construction materials with an annual production rate of 60 million tonnes while cement, one of the main concrete components, has a production rate of 14 million tonnes, the government statement said.