Considering the unpredictability of the oil market and the environmental concerns raised by climate scientists world over due to its excessive use, it‘s no longer a question about whether or not we should continue investing in fossil fuels. It is about how soon shall the switch be made entirely to renewable sources of energy. At a time when a tremendous risk of climate changes gape wide in our face, Trump administration’s decision to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all US waters is facing opposition from coastal governors, attorneys general, defense department and the environmentalists alike.
Let’s take a closer look at the issue. By the end of the article, we shall see why it is better to invest in renewable energy sources like offshore wind power than offshore oil.
Trump’s proposal to expand offshore oil and gas drilling: Things we need to know
On Jan 4, 2018, Trump administration unveiled a five-year plan that proposes the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all United States coastal waters, including the permanently protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic. The new proposal is a clear departure from the former President Obama’s ban on drilling on the protected regions of the Arctic and the Atlantic.
What the Supporters Have to Say
While the move is being opposed by a majority of people, it has a few takers too. Supporting the plan, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that harvesting the natural resources in those regions will create jobs, and could allow for a new flow of money to the state and the federal governments. According to President Trump, expanding offshore exploration would lead to the promotion of the scientific study of the regions that were previously protected.
Why the Proposal is Being Opposed
Calling the proposal a recipe for environmental disasters, numerous Atlantic-coast governors oppose the drilling in four planning areas, ranging from Maine to the Florida Keys.
An important point to be noted here is that earlier in 2016, Obama administration had also proposed offshore oil and gas exploration for the Atlantic. It could not materialize due to the concerns raised by the Defense Department over its possible effect on training exercises and military readiness.
Another reason why the move is facing flak from environmentalists is that offshore drilling led to Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, spilling 215 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The serious environmental effects of the spill are still being felt, even after eight years of one of the worst environmental disasters.
Why It is Time to Move to Renewable Power, like Offshore Wind Energy
Renewable energy, like offshore wind energy, can address a host of inter-related issues.
- A lot less expensive: It can bring down the costs in certain markets and will be a lot less expensive than non-renewable energy sources in the years to come.
- Creates certainty in the market: Oil prices are highly unpredictable and the volatility is likely to remain high. This can be economically expensive. Offshore wind power can boost investments by improving market certainty. According to Greenpeace, the transition to 100% renewable energy will lead to the rise in investment to $1 trillion (USD) per year, by 2050.
- Safe for the environment: In a climate facing extreme dangers of severe floods, droughts, heat waves and other calamities, it can be extremely beneficial for the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.
- Creation of more jobs: According to Forbes, the renewable energy sector has created a significant number of jobs worldwide. While 2015 witnessed a slump in the growth of jobs relative to previous years, the number of jobs in renewable energy sector continues to rise.
There is no denying the fact that increased U.S. oil production will deliver short-term economic benefits. What’s really worrying is the fact that dependence on oil as a source of energy will certainly lead to serious risks to not just business investments but also to national security and the environment. The need of the hour is to accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources.
Follow us for our next blog on what oil companies are doing in renewables and carbon emission reductions.
by Ajay Narayan