America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation

10 Mar

The Obama administration is pursuing an energy policy that will just accelerate environmental destruction. Extracting oil and gas from unconventional sources (shale, tar sands, deep sea) is risky and uncertain, degrades the environment directly, and wastes energy and water in the process.

All drilling activity requires energy, which produces GHGs [greenhouse gasses]; producing unconventional oil and gas, however, usually requires far more energy than drilling for conventional fuels and so emits a correspondingly greater amount of GHGs.

Conventional oil and gas supplies are usually carried to the surface by natural forces once a well is drilled, whereas unconventional fuels are too dense to move by themselves (as in the case of tar sands) or are embedded in rock (as in the case of shale oil and gas) and so must be extracted using energy-intensive techniques. Hence, in addition to all the emissions we can expect from the prolongation of the fossil fuel era, we will experience a GHG increment from the growing reliance on unconventional hydrocarbons. Based on this sort of reasoning, the EIA calculates that global emissions of carbon dioxide will rise by 43 percent between 2008 and 2035, jumping from 30.2 billion to 43.2 billion metric tons. Such an increase will erase any hope of averting the apocalyptic consequences of planetary warming.

via America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation.

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