A binding agent in concrete: a mix of cement, aggregates and water that is a basic construction material

GHG emissions

11Mt of CO2eq (Process emissions about 60%, energy use emissions about 30%, with the remainder from transport and operations). Approximately 1.5% of Canadian emissions.

Options for decarbonization

Switch from fossil fuel to net zero energy supply, carbon capture and storage, low carbon cement mixes and alternative cement chemistries, reduction in demand/efficient use

Stage of transition

Early emergence

Current obstacles:

Decarbonisation technologies are capital intensive, some are immature, while others face regulatory policy barriers. Weak demand for low carbon cement and high building sector sensitivity to material prices; cumbersome codes and standards processes slow to adopt innovations; competitiveness concerns

Economic/social opportunities

Job creation while developing and implementing new technologies, reduction in air pollution and associated health risks; climate adaptation/resilience applications

Industrial policy/competitiveness

Cement production in Canada is dominated by multinational parent companies; international collaboration can accelerate decarbonization

Priorities for action

Public investment in demonstration and commercial applications of viable low carbon cement technologies; government procurement of low carbon cement and support for material-efficient design; movement to performance based codes and standards; research and development on novel technologies.

Longer-term issues

Alternative cement chemistries; alternative building materials

Indicators of progress

Per cent change in GHG emissions from cement manufacture; market penetration of low carbon cement

Assessement table: Cement

Alternative fuels

Biomass and/or waste

Electrification of heat


Hybrid approaches

Low carbon cements

Substitution of clinker

Changing cement chemistries

Carbon capture, utilization and storage

Carbon capture, utilization and storage