China’s cement consumption grew more this century than the rest of planet’s has since the invention of cement
Remarkably, this is 60% of the global total. Cement, of course, equals infrastructure. And China is building a lot of that. Building a highway system the size of America’s in roughly a decade and moving a couple of hundred people from villages into newly built urban areas in the same time.
This volume of cement consumption is historically unprecedented, but the percentage is perhaps not. Historical USGS statistics indicate that America consumed roughly half of the world’s cement in the mid 1920s. But things have changed. America went from consuming 46% of the world’s cement in 1926, the first year USGS has international figure to a mere 2% today.
However, what is even more remarkable is how rapidly China’s production of cement has grown this century. Last year the rest of the world produced 1.68 billion tonnes of the stuff. In 2000, China produced 597 million tonnes. China’s cement production has therefore increased by 1.9 billion tonnes this century.
Or to put it more strikingly, China’s cement production has increased more this century than the rest of the world’s has since the invention of cement.
This astonishing growth can be seen in this graph from an old piece I wrote on cement production in China.
I only write this because of my deep upset at Tom Hardy being snubbed in the current round of award nominations. Evidently playing a physicist is more worthy than playing a normal guy talking about concrete in a car for 90 minutes.