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MPA urges restraint on carbon reduction

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has this week called on the Government to resist moves to increase its commitment to a –30% carbon reduction target until further comparable unilateral commitments are made by other major economies.

The call comes just days before international governments are set to declare their domestic carbon reduction commitments under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

Dr Pal Chana, MPA executive director cement and lime, said: ‘The Government should stick to its current EU policy commitment of –20% when the issue is debated at the European Council meeting on 11 February, unless other countries agree to fall in line.

‘The EU has taken a leadership role in climate change and has adopted the ambitious unilateral target of a –20% reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 based on 1990 levels.’

The European Council of 10–11 December 2009 reiterated the EU’s conditions to move from –20% to –30%. These are ‘that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities’.

‘These conditions have so far clearly neither been met by the principal emitters of the ‘other developed countries’ nor by ‘developing countries’,’ said Dr Chana.

‘Copenhagen has demonstrated that, while other countries are willing to take action to tackle climate change, they are not willing to take comparable or equivalent actions to those proposed by the EU.’

According to Dr Chana, the UK cement and lime industries are fully supportive of the Government’s ambitious CO2 reduction targets, but need a level playing field at a global and European level in order to maintain a healthy domestic manufacturing industry.

‘Carbon leakage, where cement and lime production moves offshore to countries without comparable carbon constraints, taking our climate change responsibility and jobs with it, is a real threat if the Government and the EU unilaterally adopt a –30% reduction target. It is vital that the UK Government recognizes this and acts accordingly,’ he said.

The UK the cement industry has already taken a number of steps to minimize its carbon footprint, including massive investment in process efficiency; significantly increasing the use of waste-derived fuels in place of virgin fossil fuels, particularly biomass; and increasing the supply of blended cements that contain less of the energy-intensive material: cement clinker.

Taken together, these measures have seen the UK cement industry reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2008.


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