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12 May, 2006

Worth a try?

Wow.  If the research reported by the Guardian is correct, the production and use of cement-based building materials such as concrete account for 5-10% of global carbon dioxide emissions.  Compare that to 4% contributed by the aviation industry.

The article goes on to discuss an alternative* to cement. This, a byproduct of oil refining, seems to promise a two-fold saving: using one tonne of carbon concrete instead of the traditional variety could save 3½ t of carbon dioxide (see the text for the slightly debatable reasoning).

*: A supplement or partial replacement, perhaps, but not really an alternative, as oil refineries don't produce enough byproducts to fulfil global demand. Increasing petrochemical output isn't a (rational) option.

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