I don’t understand why environmentalists are supporting regimes that are well-known for their corruption and human-rights abuses, like Iran or Venezuela. Mich from Beating the Index had some great thoughts on the matter:
“The US oil and gas sector played a part in the job improvement in 2011 by creating 37,000 jobs directly and 111,000 jobs indirectly. That represents 9% of all jobs created in the USA according to a World Economic Forum report. Remember that these are no minimum wage jobs, these are high quality paying jobs and for each direct job in the oil and gas sector, 3 indirect ones are created.
In terms of GDP, the average annual growth of the sector is expected to achieve 6.9% through 2015. This comes out to more than double the overall real GDP growth forecast of 2.6%. North Dakota and Oklahoma are the lucky states benefitting the most as their unemployment rates remain well below the national average.
For those who like to whine and complain about the oil and gas sector, you need to understand that this sector is benefitting the US on all levels from local job creation to weaning off dependency on foreign oil. The shale revolution will help the US stand back on its feet and potentially tip the trade balance thanks to rising energy exports.
Instead of complaining about the profits of oil and gas companies, why not grab your share by investing? Remember that if you block this industry, you will lose the jobs and the oil will be produced by someone else in the world!”
Here is a list of the top oil exporting countries in the world:
|4||United Arab Emirates||2,395,000||2009 est.|
|9||United States||1,920,000||2009 est.|
|19||United Kingdom||1,311,000||2009 est.|
1. Restricting north american production supports countries that restrict freedom and commit crimes against humanity.
Some of the countries on this list are a little suspect, and well known for human-rights abuses, political corruption, and sponsorship of terrorism. I find it hard to believe that these environmentalists care about human beings, because if they did, they would realize that restricting oil production here in Canada and the US forces us to import more from abroad. Not only do we have to import more from abroad, but that means we have less to export overseas, meaning other countries also have to import more from abroad.
The environmentalists therefore support policies that are equivalent to sponsoring the countries that commit these human-rights abuses! The environmentalists might not like it, but we live in a fossil-fuel driven world. Either the oil can be produced here at home, or it can be imported from abroad, some of it necessarily coming from these countries! Since the U.S. needs to secure those resources and keep the regions relatively conflict-free, that also means more war, more intervention, and more soldiers abroad. This is expensive, and does not endear westerners to the locals!
2. Restricting north american production harms the environment.
Canada and the U.S. are two countries that are known for having some of the best environmental protections and laws in the world. We both care about the environment, and we also have the capital to spend to ensure that it is protected. Other countries don’t have the same laws and regulations in place, and often allow local companies to abuse the local environment and population in the name of making a profit for the politically connected elite.
If oil production is restricted in areas where it is accessible, in Alberta, North Dakota, and other places, then there will be more pressure to exploit undersea resources, as well as resources in more environmentally sensitive and dangerous areas. Offshore drilling is more expensive and dangerous, and can sometimes lead to catastrophic results.
At the same time, natural gas in particular is a very compelling alternative to burning coal. Many areas in north america still rely on coal for electricity, and coal is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels you could burn for producing electricity. At least north america has coal scrubbers and other pollution-reducing mechanisms in place: what about China, where many areas of the country have so much pollution from coal-fired power plants that walls turn black from soot? Do environmentalists really think that this is preferable to exporting liquified natural gas to these markets?
Protecting the environment is important, but being an environmentalist to be “cool” is not.
I have the feeling that many environmentalists don’t actually care very much about humanity or the environment itself, for that matter. They are protesting for the sake of protesting and because it is “cool” to rail against the “big evil corporations”, and sometimes, they do have a point. Solar power and other renewable energies are making strides every day, but it will be decades before the existing fossil-fuel infrastructure is replaced. Even when it is, oil will still be needed since it has many valuable uses apart from simply being burned as fuel.
We have a choice: Do we want to continue burning dirty coal and continue to support corrupt and abusive regimes around the world, or can we build up a local infrastructure that will help the environment, provide jobs to people that need it, and bridge the gap until that time when solar power and others can truly provide for the whole world?
The choice is pretty clear to me. Developing local oil & gas resources can, if done in a responsible manner, help the environment and help many people out at the same time. I have no connection whatsoever to the industry, and even I can see that.