Road mapping crucial to greening the heavy industry sector, experts at the inaugural of the three-day workshop on ‘Virtual Roadmap Workshop for Decarbonisation of Cement Sector in India’

Cement sector in India

Underscoring the need for definitive road mapping to decarbonise the cement sector in India — one of the largest emitters of Greenhouse Gasses — stakeholders, industry representatives, and experts taking part in a workshop jointly organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), LeadIT Secretariat, and the Strategic Partnership for the Implementation of Paris Agreement (SPIPA), in New Delhi, called for policy, technical as well as economic interventions to green the sector.

Delivering her welcome address at the three-day workshop on ‘Virtual Roadmap Workshop for Decarbonisation of Cement Sector in India’, Dr. Vibha Dhawan – Director-General TERI, pointed out that the Indian industry has made important progress in reducing energy emissions. “But to attain -term sustainable growth more fundamental changes are required,” Dr. Dhawan said.

The building block of modern infrastructure — the cement sector — leaves behind a large carbon imprint. Technological solutions which would allow for close to zero-emissions production of cement are within reach. The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), launched by Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in 2019, along with local partner TERI, is working towards preparing a sectoral roadmap for the cement and steel sector by facilitating dialogues as well as technical and methodological guidance.

Dr. Måns Nilsson, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), said the decarbonisation processes of heavy industries such as cement, steel and petro-chemicals throw up economic as well as technical challenges. “We need better partnerships between governments and industries and research institutions. We need a better framework for these collaborations; if we do not have a roadmap, the measures will not be coherent,” said Dr. Nilsson.

In his special address, Mr Klas Molin, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden, asserted it is time for “actual commitments and plans”. “Sweden is happy to team up with India, a key nation in every way, in an area that is vital for our very survival,” said Mr Molin. In his special address, Mr Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India, said it is imperative to “implement the promises made in Glasgow as rapidly as possible”. “We welcome the engagement of LeadIT on decarbonizing this important sector, in line with commitments taken at COP 26. Under the SPIPA project, the EU will work together with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to support the LeadIT initiative, through technical inputs and studies,” Mr Astuto added.

The LeadIT secretariat has developed analytical tools for road mapping industry transitions. In her opening remarks, Dr. Gökçe Mete, Head of LeadIT Secretariat at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), said, “We have the industry transition tracker as an example where you can track and trace over 100 roadmaps from around the world on heavy industry.” At the recently-concluded COP26 at Glasgow, ministers and CEOs from around the world had collectively agreed to update and design roadmaps for industrial transition as an enabler for the decarbonisation of heavy industries added Dr Mete.

In her presentation, Dr. Somya Joshi, Head of Global Agendas, Climate & Systems Division, emphasized industry roadmap planners are crucial for knowledge sharing, adopting a structural approach to setting and achieving targets, as well as avoiding bottlenecks. “Ambitious targets are often put in place, but it is important to plug the gap between rhetoric and reality,” she said.

Cement industry representative Mr Mahendra Singhi, MD & CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, pointed out that carbon capture, its utilization or storage, is crucial to make the Indian cement sector net-zero. Dr Muthukrishnan M from the GMR group observed that from a business perspective, it is important to consider the economic feasibility of green cement. Jai Kumar Gaurav, Senior Advisor, Climate Change and Circular Economy, GIZ India, highlighted the need to finance the technology needed to decarbonise the sector.

Experts attending the three-day workshop will discuss the vision and challenges in greening the sector.