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Advancing the Cement Industry’s Climate Change Plan in British Columbia: Addressing Economic and Policy Barriers


The cement manufacturing industry is both energy intensive and carbon intensive. The industry contributes to approximately 5% of global, man-made CO2 emissions. As a result, the cement industry is highly engaged in responding to the climate change challenge. Globally the cement industry has developed a comprehensive strategy for reducing emissions through energy efficiency, fuel substitution, material substitution, and long-term research into both manufacturing processes and cement and concrete applications. While governments across North America grapple with taking action to addressing climate change, British Columbia (BC) is moving in advance of other Canadian jurisdictions in establishing a stringent price signal for greenhouse gas emissions. The newly instated carbon tax has the potential to significantly impact the competitiveness of BC’s cement industry. This is of concern as provincial efforts to green the BC economy will require more, not less, cement given the many sustainability properties of cement and concrete products. If the competitiveness of the BC cement manufacturing industry is disadvantaged in relation to the global industry, the province’s future cement needs will be met through imports from other jurisdictions, namely Asia. Under this scenario, when emissions resulting from the transportation of imported cement are taken into account, this will lead to net increases, rather than decreases, in global greenhouse gas emissions. This paper provides an overview of the BC carbon tax and the competitiveness considerations of the cement industry, including the economic impacts of BC’s carbon tax on the cement industry. This paper assesses the policy and economic barriers that must be addressed in order for the cement industry to the advance its own globally developed and proven climate change strategy. Finally, the cement industry’s recommendations on moving forward are provided.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Azin Moradhassel
Bob Masterson
Climate change