Last Wednesday, February 12, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) hosted Collector Chris Neidl and Columbia University’s Dr. Julio Friedmann for a 1-hour informational session about the NYS Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act (LECCLA). Representatives from some of the state’s most active and influential environmental advocacy organizations attended the event in person and remotely via webinar.
If made into law, LECCLA would require New York State agencies to procure concrete on the basis of climate impact. The OpenAir Collective has been centrally involved in the bill’s development and advocacy for the past several months. Concrete’s binding ingredient, cement, is a leading source of global CO2 emissions, but finished concrete also has significant potential to mineralize and lock away carbon collected from industrial point sources or the open air (from DACC). In the long term, DACC-sourced CO2 could find a permanent home in some portion of the billions of tons of concrete poured every year worldwide. As the most used substance on earth after water, that adds up.
Dr. Friedmann and Chris delivered back-to-back presentations. Dr. Friedmann, one of the world’s leading experts on carbon removal technology and policy, kicked the discussion off with an excellent backgrounder on why concrete and cement are so challenging to decarbonize, and why carbon capture and utilization (CCU) applications will be critical to solving that puzzle. Chris then followed with an overview of LECCLA’s policies and how they work, wrapping up with a summary of where the bill stands at the moment in Albany.
An edited video version of the session can be viewed (and shared!) at this link. OpenAir extends a big thank you to NRDC for hosting the event, and for all who attended.