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New York regulations encourage the use of lower-emissions concrete » Yale Climate Connections

One of the world’s biggest sources of planet-warming carbon pollution is concrete.

In large part, that’s because cement, which binds the concrete together, is made by heating rocks like limestone more than 1,000 degrees.

This chemical reaction releases carbon dioxide, and the production process uses a lot of energy, much of which comes from fossil fuels.

Jang: “We know that concrete is such a carbon-intense industry.”

Mariane Jang works on sustainability with the New York State Office of General Services.

She says to reduce emissions from concrete, producers can replace some of the cement with industrial waste like slag and fly ash or other alternative ingredients.

To encourage the use of this lower-emissions concrete, New York State recently passed new regulations.

Starting next year, concrete used in large New York State projects will need to meet certain emissions standards. And the state plans to raise those standards over time.

The new rule only applies to government projects.

Jang: “But … the state builds a lot of highways and infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, ports.”

So by making the state’s concrete supply cleaner, Jang says New York will help accelerate the transition to lower-carbon concrete.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media

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