Publication Detail

Literature Review on Policies to Mitigate GHG Emissions for Cement and Concrete


Journal Article

Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy, Energy and Efficiency Institute

Suggested Citation:
Busch, Pablo, Alissa Kendall, Colin Murphy, Sabbie Miller (2022) Literature Review on Policies to Mitigate GHG Emissions for Cement and Concrete. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Journal Article UCD-ITS-RP-22-15

The production and use of cement, the binding agent in concrete, emits seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. Achieving climate change mitigation targets, such as those proposed in the Paris Agreement, requires emission reductions from this sector. The body of research on technical solutions to cement and concrete decarbonization is wide, but technical measures must be coupled with effective policy to achieve decarbonization. This study undertakes a review of previous research on cement and concrete decarbonization and analyzes the most common proposed measures along their level of action, involved stakeholders, barriers to implementation, and coordinated policy actions.
The review yielded 37 studies from peer-reviewed articles and technical reports. Analysis showed consensus on the primary technical measures to decarbonize. For cement production, measures include (I) improved energy efficiency, (II) fuel switching, (III) carbon capture utilization and storage, and (IV) reduction of the clinker-to-cement ratio. For concrete production and its end-uses common proposed measures include (V) alternative binders, (VI) material and construction efficiency and (VII) CO2 uptake by concrete.
While the literature shows an emerging consensus around technical solutions for decarbonization, there was less clarity about preferred policy solutions and key barriers. The reviewed studies consistently focused on technical solutions and roadmaps to achieve decarbonization, but often omitted discussion of barriers to implementation or specific policy actions to overcome them. Further research is needed to consider the feasibility and costs of implementation; identify potential points of entry for policy actions at different jurisdictional scales; and identify enforcement needs.

Key words: Cement, Concrete, Climate policy, Decarbonization, GHG emissions, Carbon intensity