Cement is terrible for the climate. California just passed a law to fix that
By Ingrid Lobet
California has taken on a major source of climate change pollution: the carbon emitted from cement used in the construction of buildings and highways. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed SB 596, which will require carbon emissions per ton of cement produced to be cut by 40 percent below 2019 levels by 2035.
“California is now the leader in driving decarbonization of the cement industry,” said state Senator Josh Becker (D), lead sponsor of the legislation.
The law instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop a net-zero emissions strategy for cement by 2045. It also tasks CARB with creating a metric to easily compare the climate impact of different types of cement. No such metric currently exists.
Passage of the bill marks the first time the state has required specific reductions of an economic sector, said Becker, a first-term legislator and vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies.