• Cement manufacturers may be reluctant to invest in or work with green cement startups given the risk they may not approved for use in construction projects in a timely manner. California should seek to be more proactive in ensuring these new materials are approved for use in a timely manner. For example, Caltrans’s Authorized Material Lists (AML) could approve new cements and cementitious materials as soon as possible given proven strength and safety of these green technologies.
  • In 2021, Caltrans officially approved the use of Portland-limestone cement (PLC)59 —a step in the right direction, but one that came far later than in other states. PLC was approved and in use in Colorado in 2008 and Oklahoma and Utah by 2009;60 The delay caused the state to miss out on significant potential emissions reduction by the cement industry. By engaging in proactive qualification of new materials, rather than lagging the country, California can spur on private sector investment in green cement research and development. There has been some limited proactive legislation regarding carbon capture, namely SB 905 (2022, Skinner) which simplifies permitting for carbon capture projects, establishes several regulations regarding property rights and responsibilities, and clarifies data collection.61 Although this is a positive development, more proactive and swift regulatory approaches to both process emissions-reducing and carbon capture technologies are necessary for rapid decarbonization.
  • California can expand regulatory frameworks for carbon emissions limits to concrete. Currently, the Buy Clean California Act restricts procurement of several materials (steel, glass, and insulation) by state entities to be below certain global warming potential (GWP) limits, measured in terms of CO2e. While this law only binds state agencies, and does not restrict private market purchases, many agencies, such as CalTrans, have significant purchasing power and can effect change industry wide. SB 788 (2021, Becker) proposed extending the Buy Clean California to cover concrete as well. While SB 788 passed the Senate, it died in the Assembly. However, there have been some steps taken toward encouraging the use of green concrete technology throughout the state.

59 California Department of Transportation. (2022, January 25). Caltrans Approves Use of Low-Carbon Cement to Help Combat Climate Change. Caltrans. Retrieved June 12, 2023, from https://dot.ca.gov/news-releases/news-release-2022-003.

60 Innis, A. 2018. Portland-Limestone Cement after 10 Years in the Field. “Moving Advancements into Practice” (MAP Brief). National Concrete Pavement Technology Center, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. http://www.cproadmap.org/publications/MAPbriefOctober2018.pdf

61 Creation of a carbon capture regulatory framework (SB 905). International Energy Agency. (2022, November 4). https://www.iea.org/policies/16836-creation-of-a-carbon-capture-regulatory-framework-sb-905