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Cement production is responsible for as much as 8 percent of global human greenhouse gas emissions. According to Watts Up With That, the most popular climate news site on the internet, however, new research published in Nature Geoscience finds cement eventually reabsorbs most of the carbon dioxide released during its creation.
In the cement production process, carbon dioxide molecules are released directly as limestone is converted to lime, the key ingredient in cement. Additional carbon dioxide is emitted as fossil fuels are burned to heat the lime sufficiently to break it down. The new research shows the process of carbonation draws carbon dioxide into the pores of cement-based materials, and thus the buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects that require cement ultimately remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over time. University of California, Irvine, earth system scientist Steven Davis, one of the co-authors of the study, stated, “It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. The cement poured around the world since 1930 has taken up a substantial portion of the CO2 released when it was initially produced.”