The time has come to get serious about decarbonising the emission-intensive materials sector. The production of basic materials (cement, iron and steel, paper and board, aluminium and chemicals and petrochemicals) accounted for around 25% of global CO2 emissions in 2014 (Figure 1).
After three unprecedented consecutive years of decline, early estimates have brought the bad news that China’s energy-related CO2 emissions appear to have risen in 2017. Very preliminary estimates for the months passed of 2018 suggest that this trend is continuing. Is it time to give up hope that CO2 emissions can be controlled?