There's a lot of talk these days about the state of our energy supply. One side wants alternatives to oil; the other wants more oil now, tapping reserves to solve energy problems for the coming decades. Although neither side can offer definitive long-term solutions to our energy problems given the current state of these energy industries, it appears that there may be more hazard on the "more oil now" side. Should we exploit oil reserves now, or ignore the oil crisis to develop alternative energy sources? Here are some of the issues involved. The major argument on the pro-oil side is that we are too dependent on foreign oil. OPEC can (and does) raise prices as they like, and this threatens our economy.
[...] Development of oil shale reserves is already underway. (Seebach, 2005) Let's make that a priority, instead of squandering our liquid reserves for minimum benefit and maximum profit in today's crisis moment. This is a technology we already know; it is a question of refining the technology and scaling it up. While that industrial process is going on, let's also make a massive investment in developing a sustainable, renewable energy supply capable of serving the huge energy demands of this country. [...]
[...] They think that reserves should be left as exactly that: an emergency stash to be used only in dire emergency, not to support "business as usual." This side argues that unless we focus seriously on alternative power solutions right now, we are only creating a worse disaster for the relatively near future, when we will be truly running out of oil world- wide, and have no equivalent power source to turn to. They also point to the fact that continued use of petrochemicals worsens the greenhouse gas problem, so as long as that is our primary power source, we are continuing to make a bad situation worse. [...]
[...] Things like this bring into question the entire argument that it is an economic "necessity" to use liquid oil reserves right now. It is also obvious that we do have oil reserves we could use, without depleting our long-term emergency supply. On the green side of the fence, it is commendable to use renewable sources that do no environmental harm. Advocates push for solar and wind power, hybrid vehicles and more fuel-efficient machinery to get more power with less fuel. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee