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How the Western world, and particularly the US, reduced GHG emissions...
Offshoring of manufacturing and an increase in natural gas electricity production are primarily responsible for the reduction in GHG emissions.
Reductions in GHG emissions in the Western world…
The Western world encompasses various countries, including the United States, Canada, countries in Western Europe, and others. These countries have made efforts to reduce GHG emissions through various initiatives and policies, including the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 2 above pre-industrial levels.
Many Western countries have implemented measures to transition to cleaner energy sources, such as renewable energy (solar, wind, hydropower), and have taken steps to improve energy efficiency in industries, transportation, and buildings. Additionally, some countries have introduced carbon pricing mechanisms, renewable energy targets, and stricter emissions standards for vehicles and power plants.
While progress has been made, the effectiveness and extent of emission reductions vary across countries. Some Western countries have experienced significant reductions in GHG emissions due to factors such as outsourcing manufacturing, directional drilling, and the decline of coal-fired power generation.
The US has a new goal for GHG emissions reduction over the next decade. President Biden announced that America would aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50 to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030. The EU has pledged cuts of 55%, compared with 1990 levels.
Let’s take a closer look at how these GHG emission reductions have been achieved.
Outsourcing of manufacturing…
Manufacturing in the Western world has undergone significant transformations in recent decades, shaped by factors such as globalization, technological advancements, and changing economic priorities. While manufacturing remains important, the relative contribution of the sector to GDP and employment has declined in many Western countries—a trend known as deindustrialization.
One major aspect of this decline is the outsourcing of manufacturing activities to regions with lower labor and production costs, primarily in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Western companies have taken advantage of global supply chains, tapping into the benefits of offshoring to enhance their competitiveness. This shift has led to a reduction in manufacturing employment within Western countries.
Technological advancements have also played a significant role. Automation, robotics, and digital technologies have transformed manufacturing processes, boosting efficiency and productivity. While these advancements have reduced the demand for manual labor in some areas, they have created new opportunities for skilled workers in advanced manufacturing sectors, which often require specialized knowledge and expertise.
Western economies have experienced a notable transition toward service-based industries. Sectors like finance, technology, healthcare, and creative fields have gained prominence, driving economic growth and employment. However, some Western countries have focused on high-value manufacturing, specializing in the production of advanced and specialized products that require significant research, development, and innovation.
Directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing revolution…
Directional drilling is a technique used in industries like oil and gas exploration, mining, and civil engineering. It involves drilling wells or boreholes that deviate from the vertical axis, allowing for drilling at angles, horizontally, or in curved trajectories to reach specific target locations.
This drilling method utilizes specialized equipment, including a drill bit, drill pipe, mud motor, and measurement-while-drilling (MWD) tools. The drill bit cuts through the ground, while the drill pipe provides structural support and flexibility. The mud motor, powered by drilling mud, rotates the drill bit and enables changes in drilling direction.
Directional drilling offers several benefits, including increased access to resources, reduced surface footprint, and improved well productivity. By drilling along controlled paths, operators can reach specific targets efficiently and minimize environmental impact. This technique has revolutionized industries by expanding the reach and efficiency of drilling operations allowing for rapid deployment of hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique used to extract natural gas and oil from underground reservoirs. It involves the injection of a high-pressure fluid mixture into a wellbore to create fractures in the rock formations deep below the Earth's surface. The fluid, consisting mostly of water along with sand and small amounts of chemicals, is pumped into the well, generating fractures that allow for the extraction of hydrocarbons.
The process begins with drilling a well into the target formation and inserting steel casing that is cemented in place. Then, the fracturing fluid is injected into the well under high pressure. The fluid enters the rock formations, creating fractures and expanding existing ones. Sand or other proppants are added to the fluid to hold the fractures open, facilitating the flow of oil or gas to the wellbore.
After the fracturing process, the injected fluid, along with naturally occurring fluids in the reservoir, is partially recovered through the well. This fluid, known as flowback, is collected and treated. The well then enters the production phase, where oil or gas is extracted. Hydraulic fracturing has been instrumental in unlocking significant energy resources.
The Western world, and in particular the USA, has reduced GHG emissions through two primary methods:
The offshoring of industrial manufacturing and raw material extraction.
The replacement of electricity generation from coal to natural gas.
All of the subsidies and policies regarding renewables and electrification have done little to reduce GHG emissions, producing only 13% of the electricity in the USA in 2021.