Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • The production of Portland cement is a highly carbon-intensive process. Every pound of cement results in the emission of approximately 0.9 pounds of CO2, with approximately half of that resulting from the heating of kilns and the other half released by the chemical reaction of calcination. Contemporary formulas for concrete call for about 7 to 15 percent cement38 by weight, and around 90 percent of concrete’s carbon emissions are accounted by cement, which makes it the focus of most existing and emerging green technologies.

38 Miller, S. (2022, October 20) Study of barriers to cement sector net-zero emissions strategy to support SB 596 implementation [Virtual session]. California Air Resource Board Kick-off Workshop for SB 596 Cement Sector Net-Zero Emissions Strategy, Sacramento, California. 

  • In California, the production of cement accounted for about two percent of statewide carbon emissions in 2020, and just below 10 percent of total industrial sector carbon emissions.39 While increasingly ambitious targets towards emissions reductions had long focused on switching over electricity and transportation to more sustainable systems, concrete’s significant impact on CO2 emissions has now led a spotlight toward innovations, methods, and policies which will reduce its impact.

39 Next10 Green Innovations Index 2022; Available at: