12 Apr 24 | 3 min read

The European Construction Clean Transition Dialogue

Donal O’Riain

12 April 2024 – Earlier this week I attended the Construction Clean Transition Dialogue, one of a series held in Brussels. The dialogue was hosted by Wopke Hoekstra, the EU’s Commissioner for Climate Action and attended by senior officials from DG Clima, DG Grow, DG Energy and DG Competition.

The agenda was both simple and urgent: how do we accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon world while remaining competitive. Europe has a track record in fostering innovation and leadership, yet more needs to be done in leading by example in adopting and implementing technologies which can radically accelerate the clean transition.

Credit: Wopke Hoekstra on X (@WBHoekstra)


Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, painted a chilling picture of just how serious the situation we face is, and reinforced the urgent need to accelerate our transition to clean tech in every sector. According to Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber, our current trajectory means at best we are looking at 3.0C of global warming.  At this level, 1/3 of our current landmass would be uninhabitable.

We need to accelerate fundamental changes to the way we do business

My takeaway from this dialogue is that we need to accept, adopt, and accelerate fundamental changes to the way we do business to have any chance of reaching Net Zero by 2050.

My own industry has a huge responsibility: cement is the source of almost 8% of all global emissions, and we have a duty to accelerate and implement low carbon solutions, not just in Europe but beyond.

Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber lamented that Europe was not a leader in scalable low carbon tech and innovation. In fact, in the case of cement, Europe is the global leader in low carbon cement technology and through EOTA, Europe now has a cement standard permitting a 70% reduction in the carbon intensity. We now need to go faster in adapting national norms and accelerating a demonstration programme to capitalise fully on this potential from 2026.

Europe can lead by example

Europe has the responsibility of providing global leadership in pioneering the use of this technology. Emerging economies lack resources, financial and energy. Their clean transition requires scalable technologies that are cheap and quick to implement. If they are to take them up, they first need to see them in action in Europe.

At Ecocem we are gearing up to full commercialisation of ACT, our scalable low-carbon technology, by 2026. We need other first movers in the cement industry to do the same. At a time when it feels like hope is in short supply, low-carbon cement technologies can make a real and rapid difference.

We are already seeing high levels of interest in China, the Middle East, the Far East, and the US. But the responsibility for leadership in this crucial clean transformation of the global cement industry falls on Europe.

Contact & information

  • To get in touch directly with an Ecocem spokesperson contact us here
  • For more information on ACT, our low carbon cement technology, click here

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