“There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today
I don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes
We’re seein’ things in a different way
And God knows it ain’t his
It shore ain’t no surprise
We’re Livin’ on the edge
Livin’ on the edge”
Livin’ on the Edge – Aerosmith 1993
Trading our land, water, food, and survival for barrels of crude oil is treason. Oil is an abundant commodity. The price of oil is highly variable, a function of the world’s supply, politics, and economies.
Under the umbrellas of energy independence and energy security, the executive orders to drill ignore the environmental destruction.
Ignoring 21st century technology and the enormous value created by scientific discoveries, Trump declared war on science and ordered unrestricted off-shore drilling and fracking. Under Trump, fuel efficiency and conservation are no longer a priority and environmental rules are dismissed.
Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said he would not agree carbon dioxide has been proven a primary contributor to global warming. Could it be Evil Kermit? Pruitt tried to explain, “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet. We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”
Crude off-shore drilling
The Gulf of Mexico was the scene of one of the worst environmental disasters in American history, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill off Louisiana that spewed about 215 million gallons of crude from a damaged underwater well. Seven years later, the ecosystems are still feeling the effects. British Petroleum’s penalty for causing the explosion reached $61.6 billion in July.
Four years ago, Venezuela, one of the OPEC countries, had the world’s largest oil reserves. Today, Venezuela’s economy is in ruins, without enough cash to ship their oil.
Pretending we are running out of oil, ignoring greenhouse emissions, and ignoring electric cars and other alternatives for transportation sets the stage for over-production of crude. Over-production is the root of high cost and waste. Frackers paying for oil leases keep drilling new wells, pipelines are built to transport crude shale oil, and storage farm tanks are filled to the brim.
Oil terminology is misleading and the estimates are unrealistic. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, provides the official statistics on oil and gas. High estimates are preferred. To inflate the numbers, EIA counts natural gas liquids and Biofuels as oil. Oil Resources is the estimated number of barrels that with the current technology cannot be extracted economically. Oil resources is a meaningless concept; is like knowing there is oil on Mars, and no way to use it. Oil Reserves is the estimated number of barrels that could be extracted with current technology, economically, at the current crude price.
Creating a better future
Lithium-ion batteries are the key component for off-grid solar power systems and electric vehicles. While Trump and Pruitt declare war on science, last Friday, a team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, engineering professor, University of Texas Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, announced his team has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells for safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage. The new batteries have three times the storage capacity of current batteries. The world’s largest lithium producers are Australia and Chile with a total of 72 percent; the U.S. imports 100 percent lithium.
Irrational beliefs, impulsive decisions, and intimidation have replaced scientific evidence, logical thinking, and compassion. Ignoring the climate emergency and pretending clean drinking water is abundant, and all is well in nature, sets the stage for intense shale oil fracking and new high-pressure, bulk, transportation pipelines. We have all we need, and the power to create a better future.
Dr. Luis Contreras