UN chief: Coal-free cement, concrete the name of the game

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Sources: United Nations, Geneva; CMCM staff

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres opened the Global Cement and Concrete Association Annual Conference by video message, assuring attendees “You are fundamental to building a better world [and] were one of the first global industries to set a pathway to net zero by 2050,” while imploring them to take actions projected to help maintain 21st century temperature increases at 1.5°C or less:

• Sunset coal-fired power in cement production by 2030. (A 2040 horizon applies to producers in nonmember Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development countries.);

• Work with governments to develop the policy, regulation and investment to speed-up cement and concrete sector decarbonization; and, 

• Set ambitious emissions reduction targets and transition plans toward net zero; make them in line with the new UN-backed Credibility Standard, which provides guidance on accountable net-zero pledges.

Secretary-General António Guterres

The address to the mid-June gathering in Zurich was part of Secretary-General Guterres’ Acceleration Agenda to “supercharge climate action in every country and every sector.” Looking to September’s Climate Ambition Summit, timed with the UN General Assembly in New York, he closed his message to GCCA with, “I hope to see you there—demonstrating the commitment of concrete and cement industries to building a cleaner, safer, sustainable future for people and planet.”

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