LOW carbon concrete provider Ecocem is to brief the Government on how it can reduce carbon emissions from concrete by 70pc by 2020. Donal O’Riain, Chief Executive of Ecocem, told a conference on the built environment this week that the environmental and health damage caused by cement plants since 2000 is nearing €2 billion.
He told the Better Building conference held at Croke Park that Ecocem will soon be submitting a proposal to Government, as part of the Climate Change Bill, detailing how the cement and concrete sector can reduce its carbon intensity by 70pc between now and 2020. He said Ecocem had successfully contributed to reducing Co2 emissions in the cement sector by two million tonnes over the past 10 years.
Mr O’Riain was critical of the slow pace of change when it comes to reducing emissions and said the State needs to focus not only on the scale of emission reductions but equally on the steps, strategies and policies required to bring about carbon neutrality.
He said although there was no scarcity of green technology ideas in Ireland what was lacking was “constructive leadership” to drive change. “We have plenty of options in terms of green technology ideas as not scarce, what is scarce is constructive leadership and over the last year the developments we have seen haven’t been entirely reassuring,” he said. He said the current Climate Change Bill had been leached of all policy content. “Our first attempt 13 years ago was far superior, we need at national level to pull up our socks,” he said. Mr O’Riain stated that the debate on climate change was being “side-tracked as a priority” owing to the “triumph of vested interest in terms of carbon producing industries” teamed with policy reversals.
“The manufacture of construction materials creates 11pc of the world’s carbon emissions of that 5pc is from cement. It is the most polluting manufacturing industry in the world in terms of Co2, so when you want to build better the first choice is better choice of low carbon materials and within that the low carbon cement,” he said. The Better Building conference held at Croke Park was attended by more than 500 people.