Shutterstock The world has a cement problem. On the one hand, it’s an incredibly versatile, relatively cheap building material. On the other, it’s a massive greenhouse gas emitter. Both the industry itself and outside parties are working to address the issue. One set of efforts seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of the cement production process, while the other aims to develop alternative materials — some of which help remove carbon. Both are making measured progress, but change may not be coming fast enough. While we all generally know what cement is, it helps to start with a clear definition. Cement is essentially a binding agent that’s used in construction. It’s a powder made from lime and clay, and it can be mixed with water to form mortar or with sand, gravel and water to make concrete. Cement is the most widely used human-made material in existence and is the source of about 8 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to U.K. think tank Chatham House . If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter in the world after China and the United States. Cement companies need to more than double their […]

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