If we are to work together to achieve climate neutrality by 2045 – and at the same time secure a high level of welfare in Sweden through strong industrial production – a conversion is required. We have identified a number of measures that are crucial for climate-neutral cement and concrete production and a climate-neutral built environment.
• A sustainable built environment requires a life cycle analysis
Investments in housing and infrastructure must take place with a long time horizon. Design and material selection need to be informed by scientific life cycle analyses. Avoid special municipal demands on construction and adopt instead a national approach for climate requirements in order to support the right choice of materials, the resource-efficient use of materials and continued efficiency improvement in the construction sector.
• Sustainability requirements in public procurement
Make greater use of sustainability requirements in public procurement in order to drive demand and the availability of sustainable solutions in the whole built environment sector. This is key. Around one third of the cement produced and used in Sweden is currently procured indirectly using the requirements specified by the Swedish Transport Administration. Public actors need stronger ordering competence when it comes to climate impact and life cycle analysis.
• Support the transition to biofuels
Develop instruments to support a faster transition to biofuels in industrial production. In this respect we in Sweden can make better use of residual products from forestry. At the same time we must guarantee sustainable forestry and protect wetlands and biodiversity. Biomass from the forest should be used primarily for highly processed products and in areas where there are no alternatives.
• Emission rights trading
Trading in emission rights should continue to be the main instrument to reduce carbon emissions in cement production. This system results in gradual improvements. Major technology shifts require supplementary and supporting instruments.
• Carbon capture – public initiatives for research and development
Targeted, long-term public initiatives are required in order to support the highly competitive process industry as it strives to achieve greater technological advances in the field of low-carbon technology. For the cement industry, this primarily means the development of efficient, commercially available carbon capture technology. Significant initiatives will be required in research, development and demonstration.
• Create commercial solutions to utilise and store carbon dioxide
To prevent process emissions from industry from being released into the atmosphere, there is a need to develop commercial and large-scale solutions to utilise carbon dioxide in industrial processes (CCU) and to store carbon dioxide geologically (CCS).
• National strategy for storing carbon dioxide
The Swedish Energy Agency should be mandated to draw up a national CCS strategy. It needs to include the need for instruments, an identification of system solutions including storage site(s), technological development in full-scale installations, market models, issues of risk and responsibility, legal considerations, international collaboration and issues of acceptance.
The strategy should be developed in close dialogue with the process industry. Knowledge and collaboration in this respect may be obtained from places such as Norway, where, there are good storage conditions.
• More clearly defined mandate for authorities
The transition process for more climate-friendly production is being slowed down partly by uncertainty about how environmental permits are issued and how environmental inspections are performed. Authorities responsible should be given a more clearly defined mandate to support a transition process.
• Material-neutral allocation of public funds
Allocation of public funds for development and innovation in the construction sector should be distributed in a broad, material-neutral way. This avoids incorrect priorities, sub-optimisation and uneven competition. It also stimulates the opportunity to develop technical construction solutions with combinations of materials.
• Commercial conditions for a circular economy
Concrete is a fully recyclable material, but handling and transport create financial thresholds for recycling in concrete production. Incentives are needed for a higher degree of recycling, including of whole concrete structures.
• Access to electricity
An increase in the electrification of transport solutions and industrial processes requires access to electricity with a minimal climate footprint at competitive prices. The conditions for indirect compensation in Sweden for increased electricity costs should be reviewed, and when electricity production changes, political vigilance is required in order to guarantee satisfactory supplies and an effective market.