2021: Year in Review for Climate Change Wins and Losses

By Nick Cunningham, an independent journalist covering the oil and gas industry, climate change and international politics. Originally published at DeSmog.

As 2021 comes to a close, we look back on a year that was full of climate chaos, relentless oil industry propaganda, and frustrating progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But 2021 also saw a significant number of victories against the expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. and around the world, and some glimmers of hope for climate action. 

The year started with a conspiracy-fueled coup plot on the U.S. government by President Trump and his supporters in what was ultimately a failed attempt to stay in power. Two weeks later, President Biden was sworn into office, and he quickly signed a flurry of executive orders that included the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline and a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Those moves signaled an intention to prioritize climate change during the Biden era after years of giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. 

But the oil industry and its allies fought hard this year to delay meaningful climate policy, part of a decades-long campaign to protect corporate profits at the expense of people and the planet. Campaigns of misinformation and misleading PR continue to characterize public discourse around energy and climate change, even as those corporate strategies and tactics evolve

On a hopeful note, renewable energy and electric vehicles made substantial strides, putting the entrenched fossil fuel industry on the defensive. Looking forward, the clean energy transition will continue to progress even absent big federal policy. And strong grassroots movements once again demonstrated their ability to stop major oil and gas pipeline projects around the country, even against steep odds. 

Biden Administration Actions

President Biden held an international climate summit in April, where he unveiled a 50-52 percent emissions reduction target by 2030, and over the course of his first year in office he announced a slew of executive actions: new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas wells, a cutoff of financing for overseas fossil fuel projects, and ordering the federal government to achieve “net zero” emissions from its buildings and operations by mid-century, for example. 

But his administration has not implemented the policies needed to get to the 2030 target, and in many cases, Biden has backed down from taking on the fossil fuel industry. The Biden administration, for example, has given up on its plan to freeze new drilling leases on federal lands, and auctioned new acreage to the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico in November, with more auctions slated for 2022.

The Department of Interior also published its review of the federal oil and gas leasing program in November, and stopped far short of putting limits on new drilling on public lands, as President Biden had promised during the 2020 presidential campaign. 

And while President Biden scrapped Keystone XL, his administration has declined to intervene when it comes to other pipelines, including not shutting down the Dakota Access pipeline, despite the project continuing to operate without a valid easement. Meanwhile, even as the state of Michigan is seeking the closure of the 68-year-old Line 5 pipeline, which poses water quality and safety risks to the Straits of Mackinac, the Biden administration has not taken a position. 

Biden looked the other way on the Line 3 pipeline, while water protectors were arrested in droves in northern Minnesota as they attempted to interrupt construction. Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, completed construction of the oil sands pipeline in early October over vigorous opposition led by Indigenous activists.

Any hope of large-scale emissions reductions during the Biden era will come from the Build Back Better Act, the climate and social policy bill which has $550 billion in renewable energy and electrification programs. At the time of this writing, after a half-year of negotiating, the bill is in limbo at the behest of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who profits from coal industry interests. 

Meanwhile, in a sign of how thoroughly the administration is playing on the oil industry’s turf, it has accepted the misleading assertion put forward by the oil industry that only more drilling will resolve current high energy costs.   

Not only did the Biden administration call on Middle East oil producers in OPEC to produce more oil, but it has repeatedly called on the fracking industry to drill more. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in mid-December that a ban on crude oil exports was not on the table, and she urged frackers to increase their drilling activity.

“I do not want to fight with any of you,” Granholm told the National Petroleum Council, whose members include the executives of ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and other oil companies. She urged drillers to “please, take advantage of the leases that you have,” and, she also urged them to “hire workers. Get your rig count up.”

Pleas for more drilling came only a few weeks after the COP26 international climate talks in Glasgow, the closely-watched follow-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement. President Biden appeared in Scotland to trumpet U.S. climate action, where his soaring rhetoric was conspicuously not reflected in climate policy back home. 

His appearance was illustrative of the summit on the whole. COP26 had some notable successes, including calls to “phase down” coal around the world (but not a “phase out”), and incremental ratcheting up of emissions targets and renewed commitments for financial aid to developing countries, but the international meeting was widely seen as another failure of global leaders who talk a lot about climate change but refuse to do what is necessary to cut emissions. 

Fossil Fuel Wins and Losses  

Many of the notable developments on climate change and energy came outside of federal government policy.

ExxonMobil and Chevron lost several high-profile battles with their own shareholders. Exxon lost multiple seats on its board to an investor group demanding a more aggressive shakeup of corporate strategy, a particularly striking development given Exxon’s steadfast pursuit of oil and gas production growth, which stands out even among its peers.

Since then, Exxon has kept its spending on new oil and gas projects in check, even if a wholesale corporate transformation is not underway. On the same day that Exxon and Chevron suffered investor blowback, a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must cut its emissions by 45 percent by 2030.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil’s lobbyists were exposed this year, admitting on tape to “aggressively fight[ing] some of the science” of climate change and supporting “shadow groups” that oppose climate action. A few months later, the U.S. House of Representatives brought the executives at Big Oil into a committee hearing on climate disinformation.

Taken together, the events were something of a reckoning for Big Oil, and illustrated the dramatic upheaval in global financial markets, with the transition of financial flows away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy moving into a higher gear in 2021. Aggressive production growth is no longer a tenable position for oil and gas companies. 

2021 also saw several major oil and gas pipeline projects reach their denouement – with victories for both industry and pipeline opponents alike. 

The PennEast pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that would have carried gas from the Marcellus Shale to eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, won a highly anticipated case in the U.S. Supreme Court in June, granting the pipeline company the right to condemn state land for the project’s construction. However, the victory was a pyrrhic one; the pipeline was canceled three months later due to the inability to obtain state-level water quality permits. 

The campaign against the Mountain Valley pipeline, a gas pipeline that would carry Marcellus shale gas to the southeast, is ongoing. In early December, the project suffered an enormous blow when its permit for a compressor station that would have allowed for a southern extension into North Carolina was rejected by Virginia regulators.

However, on December 14, a separate regulatory body approved a key permit for the main section of the pipeline through Virginia, despite an extensive track record of water quality violations by the company building the pipeline. The project still needs to obtain multiple permits at the state and federal level, and while it is aiming to reach completion in the summer of 2022, pipeline opponents contend that completion is far from assured. 

Another Marcellus gas pipeline, the Mariner East 2, was hit with criminal charges by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General for environmental crimes in October. The 300-mile gas pipeline running the length of southern Pennsylvania, remains under construction even as it struggles with technical problems on terrain prone to sinkholes, erosion, and landslides. Completion of Mariner East 2 is also uncertain. 

Other campaigns to block fossil fuel projects were more decisive. In July, activists in Memphis defeated the proposed Byhalia pipeline, an oil pipeline that would have cut through a predominantly Black community in the city.

Meanwhile, activists put two more nails in the coffin of the fossil fuel expansion in the Pacific Northwest. In January, Washington state regulators nixed what would have been one of the largest gas-to-methanol projects in the world, after several years of opposition from community groups.

Then, bookending the year, in early December, the 15-year battle against Jordan Cove, an LNG project proposed in southern Oregon, and its associated Pacific Connector gas pipeline, finally came to an end. Oregon landowners, environmental groups, and Native American tribes celebrated the project’s demise. 

Several high-profile defeats of long-distance pipelines now have observers wondering if the era of major pipeline building has come to an end

Energy Transition Picks Up Speed

Another promising trend that is gaining momentum is the proliferation of bans on natural gas hookups in new homes and businesses, which would eliminate a growth market for gas. Over 50 cities, primarily on the West Coast, have prohibited gas hookups in new construction, but New York City appears to join the group, with the City Council passing legislation on December 15 to become the largest city yet to block new gas connections. 

The rapid growth of renewable energy and electric vehicles is also accelerating. While U.S. policy is fickle, the economics of clean energy have only grown clearer. Solar and wind are growing faster than ever, and 2021 saw a seismic shift in the auto industry, with just about all major global automakers committing to shifting towards electric vehicles.

To bolster the trend, over 50 U.S. utilities have joined together to speed up the build out of a nationwide EV recharging network. Based on clean energy’s superior technology and cost profile compared to fossil fuels, the transition is inevitable. The only question is how quickly and how smooth the transformation will be. 

Climate Denial and Misinformation

Campaigns of misinformation unsurprisingly remained a prominent feature of climate change discourse in 2021, although efforts to expose industry-backed PR campaigns hit new milestones even as the tactics continue to evolve. 

In a shift away from overt climate denial, the fossil fuel industry is now leaning very heavily on proposing false solutions and positioning themselves as leading actors on solving climate change, with misleading campaigns to promote gas-reliant blue hydrogen, “renewable” natural gas, “net zero” commitments, and carbon capture. Delay is the new form of climate denial, and false green solutions and promotional PR are central features of this new corporate strategy.

Right-wing and fossil fuel-backed groups also falsely blamed climate policy for high energy prices and rising inflation in the U.S., and then quickly pivoted to arguing that more fossil fuels are the solution. Those efforts have paid off – fears of high gasoline prices and inflation have put the Biden administration on the back foot and arguably delayed and watered-down the Build Back Better Act.

Worsening Crisis

All the while the climate disasters continue to increase in severity and frequency, and 2021 was a banner year on that front, with a frightening display of climate chaos across the globe. Freezing storms in Texas, a record hurricane on the Gulf Coast, floods in China and Germany, horrific wildfires in California and Siberia, record temperatures from the “heat dome” in the Pacific Northwest, the “atmospheric river” that inundated British Columbia, and the December tornadoes in Kentucky and dust storms across the Great Plains. 

We head into 2022 with a mix of dismay, fear, anger, and a bit of hope. The climate crisis is becoming more severe and more daunting. Progress is dismally slow and governments of all stripes have been unwilling to take decisive action. Industry propaganda continues to muddy the public sphere. The Biden administration’s signature climate policy is hanging on by a thread.

At the same time, the oil industry is on the defensive, with growth prospects nearly closed off. It is losing both its social license from the public and the battle of economics. And environmental and social movements have repeatedly demonstrated that they can block, delay, or halt what may seem like an inevitable industry expansion. 

As climate disasters continue to mount, these dynamics – both positive and negative for the climate movement – are likely to intensify. 

We’ll continue to report on these events in 2022 and beyond. 

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. PlutoniumKun

    Thanks for this summary, mixed news as always.

    The bright spot on all this is that there continue to be a series of genuine breakthroughs in green technology and there is obvious evidence of tipping points being crossed in energy markets. Fossil fuels are on the run and there are signs of at least some seriousness in public policy around the world (not in the US obviously). Some of the tech breakthroughs are genuinely really exciting and could allow for a transition far faster than many thought possible a few years ago.

    The bad news is that it seems to be too late. A few years ago if asked I would have predicted that runaway climate change probably wouldn’t set in until around 2040 or 50, with the really bad stuff happening a couple of decades later. I was far too optimistic. We are seeing widespread breakdown now. Back when a student in the 1980’s I spent a lot of time looking at lake core samples from the immediate post-glacial period. It was very obvious looking at them that climate adjustments could be remarkably rapid and catastrophic. You can see this written in the geological record pretty much anywhere in the northern hemisphere if you know what you are looking for. This was at a time when modellers were assuming fairly linear progressions (many models still do, it’s not just economists who love bad models). I recall at the time feeling grateful that I wasn’t alive during one of those catastrophic adjustment phases. Seems I was optimistic about that too.

  2. Steve H.

    I’m reading Peter Wadhams’ ‘A Farewell to Ice’, which answered a question I’ve had for decades. In 1990, as I was working on my environmental science degree, Wadhams was just publishing his results from being in a submarine under in the Arctic, measuring the extent of ice depth. The modelling I was taught was based on surface ice extent, a two-dimensional frame, but the ice was melting in the third dimension as well.

    Water is the most wonderful stuff in the universe for stabilizing temperature, and melting ice provides an enormous buffer to temperature change. Apparently many organizations are still modelling based on surface ice, and the models keep coming up too conservative already. As that buffer decreases, I expect a ‘nobody could have foreseen’ leap in temperature in the next few years.

    The education taught me to think with numbers. The indoctrination convinced me that policy was why U.S. pollution was dropping. The numbers showed me it’s because we shipped it to China. That fits with industry crushing science as unEconomical, which is an old story.

    Reading Wadhams helps me understand that it’s not my fault I didn’t know. Nor the school’s. The scientific framework was being developed, but climate change was faster than our understanding of it. And those who were in deep enough to see the data and understand what it meant suppressed it (see Royal Dutch Shell).

    Old stories. Cui bono, cui malo. Divide et impera.

    Both Janet and I lost our fathers this year, and for both of them there came a point, that the quality of life they would have after rehab was not enough to motivate them to the fight. “I need to let go.” I mean, jeez, the Onion article was from 2005, before the GFC, much less fire tornados and Covid.

    “Climate Change Wins and Losses.” There are no climate change wins. Accept it, it’s baked in. There are winners and losers, though. And the winners won’t necessarily have private jets. They’ll have dense social networks that help them stay alive, and people in their lives that they love and that love them. And they’ll still dance in the night.

    1. Alex Cox

      Royal Dutch Shell have announced they’re dropping the Royal Dutch part and moving corporate HQ to England, so as to avoid those pesky EU environmental rules and fines.

  3. Herb

    Steven is correct there are no climate wins. Unless we immediately mobilize the world community to accomplish what I call the climate Triad;

    Accelerated Emission Reductions

    Large scale removal of carbon dioxide and methane from the atmosphere

    Direct Climate Cooling, particularly of the Arctic to refreeze arctic ice and lower global temperatures

    Absent such a program this is what we have to look forward to:

    “ Assuming constant cloudiness, we calculate a global radiative heating of 0.71 W/m2 relative to the 1979 baseline state. This is equivalent to the effect of one trillion tons of CO2 emissions. These results suggest that the additional heating due to complete Arctic sea ice loss would hasten global warming by an estimated 25 years”


  4. rivegauche

    TY for “2021 Year in Review for Climate Change Wins and Losses” and these first comments, above. Some good news, mostly bad.

    Last night I stumbled on “Plant of the Humans” –Michael Moore, executive producer. It features Director Jeff Gibbes on location at different sites and events. Has anyone seen it and, if so, what do you think? Have been fighting feeling devastated and hopeless with some success, but now after the info presented in this …

    1. Solarjay

      Hoo boy. That movie is a complete disaster and so full of either lies, mistakes or outright misdirection it’s hard to know.
      The first and basic wrong is the statement that” solar panels will never repay the energy it took to make them”. Without this Statement he has no film.
      That statement is 100% wrong. All the studies show about 1-2 yrs, he provides no evidence to counter that.

      Solar panels use rare earths, 99% wrong. Only SIGS technology does and it makes up a tiny fraction of the world market. 95% + is crystalline silicon, which is made with mined metallurgy grade quartz, not beach sand, another wrong. The rest is cadtel.
      I can go on and on and on to prove them wrong, it’s just too easy and makes it so sad that this film has been so influential. If his goal was to slam the environmental groups, fine I don’t have a big issue with that, but don’t go there by lying about solar and wind.

      But here is one of the best most complete disassemblies of that film. It’s very well done and very thorough. Once you actually watch this you realize how thoroughly Moore and Gibb on purpose had an agenda.


      1. KLG

        Yes, they had an agenda and the movie was pure polemic, not that polemic is necessarily bad. But catching McKibben out on “not knowing who funds 350.org” was priceless. He looked like a complete tool, if not fool, which was very disappointing…Bill McKibben was the first modern canary in the coal mine with The End of Nature in ~1988.

        1. rivegauche

          McKibben did come off as an idiot there and earlier when Gibbs approached him at an outdoor green energy/environmental event. Gibbs asked McKibben if he was for or against the use of biomass. After seconds of silence, McKibben replied that he loves, loves his wood burning stove. I think he said he uses it daily before rushing out of camera range.

        2. Soredemos

          McKibben has been covered on naked capitalism in the past. The verdict is not exactly nice.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I own a DVD of “Planet of the Humans” and I have watched it a few times, and will watch again to see if I can catch the lies Solarjay complains about. I did view the youtube video critique Solarjay referenced in his comment. It’s chief complaint seems to be the age of much of the footage in “Planet of the Humans”. The critique repeatedly examines scenes from the film, most of them circa 2010, and looks at what is true circa 2020. The narrator of the critique concludes that Jeff Gibbs deliberately left off dates in telling his story because he let his agenda lead his facts instead of vice versa.

      I am not especially troubled by the antiquity of the scenes in the film. I believe it is more likely that Jeff Gibbs had very little budget to work with, and made his film using the footage he had collected. I very much doubt he is sitting on an archive he cherry-picked to deliberately defame the environmental movement, its leaders, and Corporate Business. Instead I saw case-after-case where claims were not matched by the facts from behind the scenes. I saw a lot of liars caught with their pants down circa 2010. Facts on the ground may have changed since 2010, but I am skeptical that all the lies and liars are gone. I am skeptical that the environmental movements and their leaders were merely mistaken rather than co-opted, or that Corporations have seen the light and feel a real concern for the environment and CO2 emissions — which I believe Solarjay’s youtube critique suggests at its conclusion.

      If I were you, I would not watch “Planet of the Humans” if you “Have been fighting feeling devastated and hopeless ….” While “Planet of the Humans” may have an agenda I do not agree that it was pure polemic. I believe the agenda was to portray mendacity skewered by images and the words of people from behind the scenes. It may be mendacity circa 2010, but is there any less mendacity circa 2020?

  5. Solarjay

    Here is a quick basic economic rundown of the costs of a solar panel. These are estimates I’ve gotten from people who know this data.
    They cost about $.20 per watt, some more some less.
    Profits are tight, say $.02, 10%
    Overhead, interest on the loan, labor etc $.05 25%
    Cost of materials $.05, 25%
    Energy $.05, 25%

    Assuming $.05 per kWh, and 1/2 of materials is energy then it’s about 1.5kWh per watt.
    A watt of solar produces about 1-1.7 kWh per year in the US depending on your location. Which means it’s about 1-1.5 years to recoup the energy cost to make.
    Ok let’s add in shipping and other installation costs, let’s add +1 year or about 2-2.5 years for full energy recoup. Time to recover money is longer of course.

    How long do they last, warranties are generally 25 years and that is at a 80% output, pretty amazing. And yes mostly they are lasting 20+ years. I often service 35 year old panels.
    Or they have a zero carbon production lifespan of about 22.5 years+.

    Recycling is now happening. The aluminum frames most easily recycled. The cells can be melted and reused with a significant energy savings. The glues for assembly are lost. The recycling will further reduce the cost of energy to make other panels.

    To say that a solar panel will never recover the energy it took to make is such a stretch of simple economics that it could not be done without purposefully wanting to obscure the truth.
    I leave the why up to others.

      1. solarjay

        Yes there are a few, here is one, but more are coming.

        Right now because there are not too many its expensive to do. And because there is no actual US manufacturing of solar panels ( almost all US “made” panels are just assembled from foreign made components) all the collected materials would be shipped overseas for reprocessing.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Here is my quick rundown of solar and wind: Europe may be building a super-smart Grid with marvelous load balancing … but the u.s. Grid has trouble load balancing conventional power sources when lines go down, e.g. the Northeast blackout of 2003 or the more recent problems in California and Texas. Adding solar or wind power sources adds to the balancing problems in the u.s. Grid. Maybe there is some money in Biden’s bill to help matters, but so far the u.s. government does not seem to be doing much to fortify the Grid to make it more reliable, and Corporate players seem to have their own contrary agenda.

      As for whether solar panels are ‘renewable’– I suppose I would first ask where they are made. I have trouble with the idea of ‘renewable’ if it is done piecemeal, scattered across the nether reaches of the global distribution channels. I am more than a little skeptical about how ‘recyclable’ they are after so many embarrassing details of u.s. recycling efforts of much easier to recycle materials come to light.
      Can solar cells recover the energy it takes to make them? I have little doubt that they can. But without improvements to power distribution, to the Grid, I am not sure it matters. Energy only available during daylight hours and stuck in the middle of a desert cannot do much useful work.

      If solar and wind were such no-brainer sources of energy with all the economic numbers in their favor where is the problem? Why are solar energy sites and wind power sites so slow to stomp out their uneconomic and CO2 generating rivals?

  6. Ira Leifer

    Hard to imagine that with the backbone of a jellyfish, there would be democratic administrative successes. In any case, the US is a minority of global energy use, and a miniscuality of global energy growth, so minor successes here that have no chance of replication in the growth areas are irrelevant (BORG speak for negligible).

    China is making strides with reforestation (as an anti-desertification program), but instead of replicating, wood fuel is an increasing EU and US “renewable” energy source.

    Here is an interesting article about how well the transition is working for the EU. Net effect shift carbon intensity to China (where products formerly made in the US and EU are now made).

  7. Susan the other

    This summary is very encouraging. Especially the tidbit about “investor blowback”. I’d like to read about investor demands that frackers and drillers cap off their wells and prevent methane leaks – rather than burning the stuff. But I’m still left with the tacit understanding that all we can do is effectively ‘shelter in place’ as it all unfolds. Extreme climate is everywhere. Nobody can do an optimistic cost-price analysis on this one. I think the age of profit is over. Except for very small gains, and those which will be realized from big government projects. Countries that have not relied on profiteering, as opposed to the US and the Anglosphere, might be in a better position to adapt. Which is why investor blowback is so surprising. Capitalism will be looking for a new justification. And they might do a reasonable job finding efficiencies and creating good new technologies. And scaling back consumerism. Recycling. etc. Thanks for this post.

  8. MarkT

    Speaking as a meteorologist, all I can say (again) is that certain people need to be tried for crimes against humanity. People who knew but decided to mislead deliberately, by “muddying the waters”. Because “Profit Uber Alles” within an economics framework that writes everything inconvenient off as “externalities”. I do hope that a miracle carbon-capture technology is invented very soon. But I am not very optimistic.

  9. MarkT

    Thinking aloud. Someone once said that “Heaven is amongst us”. Perhaps hell will soon be too?

  10. rjs

    the infrastructure bill was the biggest loss…it will have the largest carbon footprint of any domestic policy initiative since Eisenhower built the interstates…

    just start with the concrete and asphalt we’d use for road building & repair..

    concrete is made of various combinations of sand, gravel and cement…all the various types of cement have lime (CaO) as their basic material…that lime is produced by heating limestone (CaCO3) (sometimes by burning coal) to produce lime and carbon dioxide, ie: (CaCO3 > CaO + CO2); hence, cement production itself emits 0.654 tons of CO2 per ton of cement produced, not including the CO2 emitted in generating the 1300 C degree temperatures needed for that reaction to take place…

    meanwhile, the basic material for making asphalt is bitumen, popularly known as tar…bitumen is the thick goo that’s left over from oil refining…trouble is, oil from shale is so light (sometimes it’s almost like gasoline) there’s little bitumen left over from refining it, so most bitumen now has to be mined from somewhere…we’ve got a few deposits, like in Utah, Kentucky, & California, but for any quantity we’ll have to import it from the tar sands of Canada or Venezuela..

    then there’s bridges, which will need steel…like cement production, steel making has CO2 emissions from both the process (using coking coal) and the electricity needed to make it….CO2 emissions from steel manufacturing are almost double the amount of steel that is produced: 1.85 tons of CO2 per ton of steel.

  11. Scott1

    Imagine the fossil fuel corporations as equivalent to feared artificial intelligence with no need of a food chain as we have known it. Even weather and then ocean levels moving livable land back from the shores 200 miles. They predict that in North Carolina the ocean will be 50 miles East of Raleigh, just as it was something like 400 million years ago.
    The speed of changes was never predicted to be as quick as it is because the “methane bubble melt” was never factored. The advanced atmospheric levels of methane were not figured for because they had not left evidence the way CO2 had. The last time as it will be this time increased methane occurred and did its deeds over 15 years.
    On You Tube there are new episodes from one automotive mechanic firmly advising no one fall for the Electric Vehicle sales pitches of major car makers. It is really something that companies such as Mercedes Benz, GM and Ford are now moving into production of Electric Vehicles. Batteries light enough to make even 200 mile range aircraft are close. Hatred of airplanes that are loud inspire unbelievably powerful NIMBY responses. Six passenger commuter planes that are quiet will change the transportation options. Our wonderful world might come to resemble the one all the pulp science fiction magazines promised in their stories.
    I can invent the necessary war, since Machiavelli tells us that if the struggle is with the environment nothing is likely to happen. “A struggle with the environment is not enough to make a nation.” is exactly what he said. If there is anything that defines one nation from another, new from the old, it is the culture. For the Western capitalistic world what other culture is there as big and widespread as fossil fuel run car and truck engines?
    So imagine the Sun War. On one side would be the gas powered machines of the Alien Artificial Intelligence sentience banks their army of mercenaries and on the other Electric Vehicle Corps with the invulnerable electric tank that glue closed all the valves at every oil derrick.
    Ah, as I say, it is commitment that gives life meaning. Commitment to another way for sourcing of energy would mean in the ideal war. The fossil fuel corporations are fronts for countries with small populations that don’t care about the food chain certain they will have enough as everyone else starves in the ditches and on streets as wide as a city building hallway.
    For my war I really do need the electric tank.

  12. MarkT

    The troposphere is only 10 km deep. There’s only so long that you can pump shit into it until you get a bad reaction. Yet we want to go to Mars???

  13. MarkT

    Mars. A planet which once had life. We are going to a lifeless planet while destroying life on this planet. Bizarre.

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