Let’s Add Steel and Cement to the Climate Crisis

In my estimation, most people think we can just change our current fossil fuel energy to renewable energy and it is business as usual.  A co-climate crisis activist friend of mine was even clueless after I told her what was on my list as solutions.  What are people thinking?  Everything we do and buy uses fossil fuels.

Well, if you go to your garden to pick a tomato, no fossil fuels are needed.  But, we have to produce all of our food then!  Yes, that is the direction we need to go.

So, when I read this article about heat intensive industries, like steel and cement, that have no real green energy alternatives, I thought, “Just add another massive challenge to this climate crisis.”  There are some solutions but they can double the cost.  The article, “This climate problem is bigger than cars and much harder to solve,” is by David Roberts in Vox on October 10, 2019.  Roberts does a great job detailing all of the energy options and their costs.  See the link below.

Well, and you might say, “Who cares” because it is something most of us rarely think about.  It is not something we buy at the store each week.  But, our whole economy depends on them greatly.  All of our buildings and roads use cement and steel.  There are also other heat intensive materials and processes like glass, fertilizers, refining, petrochemicals, etc.

Translated, this means that besides few options in green energy, these items are producing a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere when produced, as well.

So what do we do?  In my mind, and there are other people in this camp, we need to scale back severely our notion that we have to have continuous growth.  As a reminder, we are on a finite planet so continuous growth is going to hit a brick wall eventually.  Climate crisis aside, there are only so many resources.

We can live simply.  It is possible . . . but what type of economy will we have when we do.  We have to learn to let go of our current lifestyle.  There just may be something much better on the other side.




4 thoughts on “Let’s Add Steel and Cement to the Climate Crisis”

  1. It strikes me that people are happy to push the climate change protest until they realise they will have to pay double for things. And what if, like most people, you don’t have the capability to pay double for everything or anything at all? We can all plant tomatoes in our gardens or on our window sills but it’s about more than a few fruit and veg and it’s all very well strapping yourself to a train in London but the actual infrastruture and the knock on effect of changing many things we take forgranted means they will be completely unaffordable on any level if they are changed to account for climate damage. I think we are way too far down the line of economic fragility and dependancy on cheap to take that into account anytime soon.


    1. Thank you for your comment. If I am understanding you, I agree with you. This whole climate crisis is very complicated. I don’t mean to reduce it to a solution like simply growing your own tomatoes. How do we reduce our fossil fuels when we all need a job and heat and electricity? We are caught between a rock and a hard place, as the saying goes. Here is the US, oil is subsidized so we pay very little for gas, which I think is wrong. It keeps everything as business as usual. If we were paying what the rest of the world is paying, it would force us to change our lifestyle. It would cost too much to go to our jobs and pay for things that come from far away.

      I see solutions and where we need to go but it means changing our whole system. It would mean doing away with the whole consumer economy and capitalism. There may be a few industries that can stay, like the medical industry and schools, etc. , but the rest of useless stuff needs to go. Changing the system would mean losing jobs in all industries and not just the fossil fuel sector.

      Climate protests and strapping yourself to a train may seem to be something that doesn’t work but what do we do? I think what XR and Greta have done is put this issue front and center, which was never done before, in front of the whole world. We need to solve this or we are not going to make it. How we do that, I don’t know. But, this is a start.


    1. It will be hard to do away with all fossil fuels or replace all of them with renewable energy, I agree, but we need to go in that direction. We are destroying the Earth that gives us life. Yes, activists and all people do not want to pay any more for their products. We need to live locally and produce things locally. We have a long way to go here in the US to do that. I have heard friends that know that the climate crisis is real say they can’t live without their air conditioning. Really? It isn’t that hot in the summer in Illinois near Chicago. Change will be difficult but there are so many things we can live without.


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