Environmental Impacts of the Global Increase in Demand for Oil Essay

To what extent are the environmental impacts of the planetary addition in demand for oil acceptable? [ 15 Markss ] After the industrial revolution. the demand for oil has been increasing globally. Over 100 million metric tons of oil are transported around the universe on norm a twenty-four hours. There are states like the US which consume about one one-fourth of planetary oil end product. which must be supplied from oil militias. normally from states like Saudi Arabia ( Guinness. 2011. p. 245 ) . This shows that the subject of oil ingestion is a planetary issue as all states need oil to develop and supply for their populations. The issue with this big ingestion of oil is the fact that oil is a non-renewable beginning of energy and therefore has a bound. Oil is formed from the remains of dead workss and animate beings in resistance stone which is found in marine countries and therefore requires engineering such as grapevines and boring machines to pull out the oil.

The deductions of this has caused serious environmental effects which inquiries whether pull outing oil to provide the demands of the world’s population should be permitted when the environment has to pay the cost. illustrations being oil leaks into the sea and the effects of that. With a turning planetary population. energy companies are seeking to happen beginnings of energy and are hence seeking to build tracts and paths to invariably feed people’s demands and demands. This has lead to companies seeking and boring for oil in fragile environments. such as the Alaska grapevine which crosses 3 mountain scopes.

The ground why companies are looking into countries full of permafrost is because planetary heating is doing the ice in the Arctic Circle to run and oil rich sea beads are now being uncovered. The execution of the Alaska grapevine has non caused any major environmental jobs as many obstructions had been avoided when building this undertaking. such as raising the grapevine on piles so that that the het oil would non do the ice to run. However. the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. which occurred in 1989 did take topographic point and still affects the environment. carnal species and worlds to this twenty-four hours. The oil oiler named Exxon Valdez was transporting 1. 2 million barrels of oil when it ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. sloping 240 000 barrels.

The oil slipperiness finally covered 25 000 km2 coastal and off-shore Waterss and 1700km of coastline ( RGS Worcester. n. d. . parity. 2 ) . A major oil spill like this has resulted in lay waste toing environmental impacts. which has caused societal and economical impacts every bit good. The clean-up procedure. which included firing the oil ( comparatively effectual as it reduced 113. 400 litres of oil to 1. 134 litres of removable residue ) . spraying chemicals on the oil which reached the shoreline and mechanical killing methods. did non eliminate the oil fast plenty as the environmental impacts are still present after 21 old ages. 10000 people were involved in the clean up and it took 4 summers and cost 2 billion dollars. This big figure of people put their occupations on clasp and attended to the effects of the oil spill. which could hold caused a diminution in the economic system in Alaska ( Exxon Valdez oil spill. n. d. . parity. 5 ) .

The biggest impact of the oil spill was on the wildlife. Some 2. 000 sea otters. 302 seaport seals and about 250. 000 sea birds died within a few yearss after the oil spill ( Graham. 2003. parity. 1 ) . A lessening in biodiversity and the ecosystems in Alaska affect the environment significantly as it disrupts nutrient ironss and causes animate beings like ducks and other Marine animate beings to lose their beginning of nutrient. The biggest impact. in footings of wildlife. is the herring population and the consequence on the herring industry in Alaska. The spill occurred during engendering season that the recesss and bays where herring traditionally laid their eggs were choked with oil. Within four old ages. the herring population has disappeared. This has affected Alaskans in footings of their occupations and their beginning of nutrient.

Licenses to angle herring commercially had been deserving 100s of 1000s of dollars before the spill but became worthless. go forthing many fishermen confronting immense sums of debt. Farmers used to gain 150000 dollars a twelvemonth but this has dropped to 5000 dollars. demoing the extent of the impact of the loss of herring ( BBC News. 2010. parity. 9 ) . A weaker economic system consequences in economical jobs within the country and a alteration in employment construction as kids of these fisherman can no longer hold the chance to be a herring husbandman. Economic jobs can besides ensue in societal jobs such as domestic force. intoxicant maltreatment. self-destructions and divorces. chiefly due to monolithic unemployment.

This illustration shows that the environmental impacts can hold their ain impacts. which once more inquiries whether the extraction of oil is worth all these effects. After 21 old ages. 20000 gallons of oil still stay on the beaches of Prince William Sound ( BBC News. 2010. parity. 30 ) . Therefore. the clean up hasn’t been really effectual. It’s besides worth indicating out that possibly all the environmental impacts still haven’t been determined. for illustration the dirt and flora could besides hold been affected by the oil spill as the oil may hold seeped through the sand of the beaches. This would impact the growing of flora drastically. Peoples don’t know plenty to foretell how long the effects are traveling to last as they can run from old ages to centuries. One wonders how long states can go on to pull out and devour oil when they still don’t to the full know the extent of the environmental effects of oil spills and if their opportunities of happening are more likely.

The production of oil is besides a procedure which causes a assortment of negative effects on the environment. An illustration is the pitch sands oil extraction in Canada – the state which supplies the US with the most oil as it doesn’t have issues sing conveyance. conditions and the fact that there are grapevine installed from Canada to the US. There is adequate natural gas to heat 3 million places from the extraction of pitch littorals oil in Canada. However. it is expensive to pull out the oil out of the littorals ( 120 million dollars over the last 12 old ages have been invested ) which has lead to environmental debasement in the signifier of extra usage of H2O to pull out bitumen. The bitumen is so refined and the toxic sludge ( non like conventional oil – chiefly awful drosss ) that is left over after dividing oil from drosss is normally dumped in pools and lakes.

In some instances. the toxic pools are so large that they can be seen from infinite. The Athabasca River in Canada has a big figure of toxic pools. some being 60 kilometers long in length. These companies. like SUNCOR ( Canadian energy company ) . are dumping around 1. 8 billion litres of toxic stuffs like sludge and drosss in these pools. they will finally make H2O in the delta ( Sustainable Guidance. 2011 ) . The effects of these drosss in the H2O can be lay waste toing to the wildlife. There is a lessening in the figure of fish as the sludge clogs up the fish’s gills. doing it difficult for them to take a breath.

The alteration in the ecosystem and nutrient concatenation will besides do a diminution in fish as smaller species like plankton may be affected by the drosss. The fish may besides be contaminated and migratory birds which eat these fish will endure and perchance decease as they won’t eat healthy meat. Moose is another species which are affected by the toxic pools as their beginning of nutrient is contaminated and diminishing. This has lead to a figure of endangered species. There is a 35 million estates cone-bearing forest ( larger than the Brazilian wood ) which is full of endangered species. There have besides been instances where environmental issues like toxic pools are non released to the populace as these inside informations have been ‘covered up’ by companies like SUNCOR. go forthing conservationists like Green peace in struggle with these energy companies.

This illustration has shown the harmful effects of oil production on the environment. which once more makes us oppugn whether this is all worth it ( Sustainable Guidance. 2011 ) . To a really little extent. the environmental impacts of the planetary addition in demand for oil are acceptable. It can be said. with great certainty. that oil production and ingestion does non profit the environment. The environmental effects may non be frequent but when they do occur. they cause a ruinous consequence. which takes the environment and the people decades or even longer to retrieve. These impacts are hence non acceptable. which is why states should get down puting in bring forthing renewable energy such as solar panels and air current turbines.

Governments can’t all of a sudden start diminishing the sum of oil they consume as the people are already used to populating with a high criterion of life. The populations around the universe should be educated about the job and should be encouraged to get down trusting on renewable beginnings of energy. However. this raises the job for developing states and NICs.

It will be highly hard to develop without devouring big sums of oil and will therefore do the rate of development to diminish. This leaves these types of states at a disadvantage. which inquiries whether it is acceptable for all states to devour a smaller sum of oil when there are states with different degrees of development. Clearly the issue needs to be discussed before any schemes can be implemented.


BBC News. ( 2010. July 6 ) . Alaska town easy heals after 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. bbc. co. uk/news/world-us-canada-10548872

BBC News. ( 2010. June 17 ) . Analyzing the bequest of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. bbc. co. uk/news/10324021

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill ( n. d. ) . In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 24. 2013 from hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill

Graham. S. ( 2003. December 19 ) . Environmental effects of Exxon Valdez spill still being felt. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. scientificamerican. com/article. cfm? id=environmental-effects-of

Guinness. P. ( 2011 ) . Geography for the IB sheepskin. Cambridge. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

RGS Worcester. ( n. d. ) The Exxon Valdez – environmental calamity in a delicate environment? Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //schoolweb. rgsw. org. uk/resource. aspx? id=52612

Sustainable Guidance. ( 2011. April 27 ) . Tar sands oil extraction – the dirty truth. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=YkwoRivP17A