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Embodied Carbon UPSC NOTE

 What is Embodied Carbon?

  • Embodied carbon—also known as embodied greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—refers to the amount of GHG emissions associated with upstream—extraction, production, transport, and manufacturing—stages of a product's life.

  • Nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from the built environment — encompassing the production of building materials, energy consumption in buildings, and city transportation

Embodied Carbon in Construction Materials

  • Cement and concrete: Almost half of all embodied carbon of a building comes from cement and concrete. 

  • Concrete is the second most used item after water on earth

  • Unsurprisingly then 50% of all human production by mass is concrete and 8% of all global green house gas emissions come from the cement sector alone

  • The largest component leading to emissions in concrete is cement

  • While concrete can be supplemented by materials like fly ash, slag, and more innovative materials like limestone calcined clay, geopolymers, other composites, etc. the emissions from cement can still come down only by 50%

  • Steel and aluminium: Another quarter of all embodied carbon of a building comes from these metals. 

  • While it helps to increase recycling of these materials, it remains critically dependent upon the scrap availability and its quality.

Urgent need

  • Enhancing energy efficiency in buildings is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of achieving net zero emissions

  • Passive design features and efficient equipment can substantially reduce energy demand, offering substantial emission reductions. 

  • Renewable energy plays a pivotal role in the transition to net zero, but its integration requires overcoming challenges related to grid stability

  • Integrating renewable energy in a development or a process depends on many factors including associated economic benefits.

  • Most of the energy needs come from personal decisions like our own criteria of comfort or collective decisions like how we develop our homes, cities, and transportation systems. 

  • It is important to influence and engage each segment of society to acknowledge the need for development templates that adapt to climate change and at the same time are low in carbon emissions


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Embodied Carbon UPSC NOTE
Embodied Carbon UPSC NOTE
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