The argument that many Republicans make, as well as many Democrats and Independents, is that America needs to be “energy independent.” We import more than half of what we use in this country, using oil for transportation, industry, and making everyday products. When we import oil from other countries, we run the risk of being at the mercy of the prices the decide to place on commodities. We may also find ourselves in a war over disagreements and struggles for control, either by the supplying country or with competing countries that want the oil as much as we do (i.e. China…). Furthermore, oil extraction can be an environmental disaster waiting to happen, and in third world countries sometimes the regulations and safeguards can be mediocre at ensuring both the safety of the environment and its people. However, as proof of the gulf oil spill, oil extraction is dangerous and expensive in whatever country we do it in, and as oil gets more and more scarce, the dangers and potential disasters will grow in likelihood. Off-shore drilling makes sense in the fact that it solves some of the issues with importing oil from other countries, sometimes hostile ones, but it doesn’t do much to reduce the risk, both to the environment, as well as the safety of people and our economy should another spill occur.
Green energy offers many solutions to the problems with oil, and has the added benefit of being a step in the future, as opposed to repeating decades of environmental degradation, human suffering, and resource wars. Sure, solar panels for example, aren’t as efficient as burning fossil fuels for electricity, yet. However, “yet” is the key word. Forty years ago, computers took up entire rooms, and now we have them in our cell phones! The incredible ingenuity of the human mind to conceptualise and create solutions to the problems we face, is not to be underestimated. I’m always sceptical when people, and politicians, say that fossil fuels are still the best option. In the long run, I see every reason to doubt that narrow minded opinion.
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