The trillion-dollar question

If you like quiz shows you will love the moment when they ask the trembling candidate the million-dollar question! So much is at stake – and its all in these few seconds …

Now – while we‘re cheering the poor candidate, let‘s take a look at some really big numbers: Worldbank estimates the reduction of the world’s overall GDP by the corona pandemic to be approx. 4%-points annually, which translates to approx. US$ 7 trillion losses for 2020 and 2021. A 2020 report by the WWF states that climate change could cost the world up to US$ 10 trillion by 2050 and in 2008 the NRDC (Natural Resources Defence Council) had calculated the cost of climate change to amount to US$ 175 trillion (that is 175 + 12 zeros) by the end of the century. We haven’t used numbers of this size since the big inflations a century ago – however, there is no inflation as such today! These numbers just overrun our range of imagination and it is hard for me to prevent myself from losing connection to the urgency they refer to.

These days one of the biggest conventions of senior industry executives of the international cement industry will be held – the IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Conference which features this year’s slogan “sustainable strength through innovation”. Just how much of that is needed! Transforming the industry which produces the world’s most produced product into a carbon neutral, digitized future will change the methods, materials, tools, processes, structures and even business models of this huge world-wide community drastically. Let’s cheer to everybody who is contributing to this endeavour!

Yours truly

Matthias Mersmann


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