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Should We Still Be Drilling For Oil?

oil rig in the ocean
by Jan-Rune Smenes Reite

With so many ways to collect clean energy and with climate change getting worse. It does make you ask how even after research shows the harmful effects that drilling for oil can have why are we still using it?

We are still reliant on fossil fuels to generate electricity. But, there are many options other options available to generate electricity to power our homes like biomass, hydroelectric power, wind, and solar energy is a cleaner alternative to gas, coal and oil.

What Is A Fossil Fuel?

Fossil fuels are found in the Earth's crust and are from decomposed plants and animals. Fossil Fuels are made over a process that requires heat and pressure over millions of years. It is not a renewable source of energy and we have a finite supply in the earth’s crust.

A type of fossil fuel is oil. Oil is a liquid that is extracted from the ground. This can be found underground all over the planet. In 2020 it was recorded, oil accounted for 31.6% of the world’s total energy supply.

How Do We Collect Oil?

The oil is held beneath the ground in traps or reservoirs. To extract the oil, you would need to drill into a reservoir containing crude oil. The oil is extracted and undergoes hydrocarbon cracking to create useful products to be used. For example, these can be used to power our cars and homes. However, in 2021 it was recorded that oil emitted 11.84 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide when burned. This is damaging our environment and increases the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

How Does Oil Affect Our Environment?

Not only does it produce a lot of Carbon Dioxide, but accidents can happen when extracting oil. Oil spills do happen, and this is extremely damaging to the surrounding area. When an oil spill occurs this physically harms the plant and animal life in the area. Disrupting the ecosystem.

When this happens, it is cleaned up, but animals and sea life don’t stay in one place waiting to be cleaned up. It’s almost impossible to make sure every creature in the area has the oil cleaned off them. The oil will coat the animal’s skin and can be extremely difficult to remove. For example, if an animal is covered in oil it can reduce its chances of survival. If oil attaches to a sea otter's fur it can remove its insulating properties putting it at risk for hypothermia.

It doesn’t just affect aquatic life and animals but also humans. Oil consists of toxic compounds and when it’s burned it releases those toxic compounds into the surrounding area. It can cause severe health problems like heart damage, reducing the effectiveness of the immune system and at times death. So, should we still be using oil to generate power considering the disastrous effects it can have on people, animals and the environment?


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