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More than just the enviormental benefit, one of the main points of HSR.. and regular rail, for that matter, is that it is a mode of transport not dependant on oil, but instead largely electricity. Yes, for construction too. - arcfurnace steel is a fairly economically viable proposition. This reduces the amount of very expensive synthetic fuels we are going to need in the long term. This also implies that once the problem of producing abundant low-carbon electricity is solved, rail construction itself gets much less polluting, because the carbon footprint of the steel drops.

There are also cement chemistries that are outright carbon negative as they absorb more carbon during hardening than it takes to produce them, so the carbon foot print of rail is not unavoidable. The physical  footprint however, is really quite difficult to avoid or reduce except by going entirely below ground or with elevated tracks.

by Thomas on Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 04:19:36 PM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 04:38:22 PM EST
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Airports have a huge footprint too.
by njh on Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 10:42:11 PM EST
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