Cement Wars

Our feature on page 20 outlines the battle taking place out West between Sierra Club California and California’s cement producers.

Sierra Club California claims that California’s cement plants have higher emissions per ton of cement than similar facilities in China, India and other major cement-producing regions, and issued a scathing report to that extent.

The Coalition for Sustainable Cement Manufacturing & Environment (CSCME) states that the Sierra Club report “paints an inaccurate and intentionally misleading picture of the California cement industry.”

One of the biggest beefs CSCME has with the Sierra Club report is its use of random benchmarking:

“The paper’s conclusion that the California cement industry is ‘substantially dirtier’ than cement industries in other nations is based exclusively on the results of its so-called “benchmarking” analysis. Although the benchmarking analysis is flawed in several respects, the authors’ most egregious error is in manufacturing “apples-to-oranges” comparisons. Specifically, the authors measure CO2 intensity on a per ton of cement basis, which introduces an extreme bias against the California cement industry.”

The truth is:

  • The California cement industry has significantly reduced its carbon footprint, while greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from other cement industries, such as China’s, have grown exponentially (20 percent decrease in California between 2000 and 2015 versus China’s increase of more than 200 percent over the same time frame).
  • The California cement industry is just as carbon efficient as other high-performing cement industries when measured on an apples-to-apples basis.
  • Locally produced cement is the most environmentally responsible option for meeting California’s needs for durable and resilient infrastructure.

The battle may be just beginning but that’s the end of the story.

Mark S. Kuhar, editor

[email protected]

(330) 722‐4081 • Twitter: @editormarkkuhar

Related posts