Friday, July 08, 2016

Thoughts on fossil fuel

Let me start off by saying that I am not by any stretch an expert in the petroleum industry, or any industry for that matter. If any readers have some intelligent facts to inject into the conversation, please be my guest.

I've been witness to, and even participated in, some very heated discussions about oil. Our dependence on it, its effect on our climate, our economy, wars between nations, you name it. I've heard every argument from 'we can't end our dependence on oil' all the way to 'we need to stop using oil as soon as possible'.

I just thought I'd throw my own ideas and thoughts into the fire.

Oil makes a lot of money for a select group of people. Why is it still being subsidized?

Why are people alright with the oil industry being subsidized, but lose their minds if green energy and products are subsidized?

Why do some people continue to use the excuse 'China keeps using coal, why can't we?'? China abuses their people too. Why don't we?

If Germany can get to a point where on one particular day they were getting 95% of their electricity from renewable sources, why do our energy suppliers insist that our grid could never handle more than 20% coming from renewable sources?

If one company (Tesla) can build a fast, practical, safe all-electric vehicle, then add a world-wide free charging network to support it, why can't anyone else?

If Norway, one of the coldest countries in the world, can adopt the electric car faster than any other nation, why are places like Canada still suggesting that electric cars will never work there?

People ask 'What would all the oil workers do for work if we stopped pumping oil and switched to renewable energy?'. I'm guessing they would retrain for the renewable energy sector.

If energy suppliers are complaining that we use too much electricity for the grid to handle, why don't they build more supply? Or better yet, why are they against us providing some of our own (solar) on our premises?

Why do we need to find ways to export our oil to other countries when we're still importing oil and refined products from elsewhere?

Is it really true that if we stopped using oil, we wouldn't be able to make plastics? Can't plastics be made from other sources? More importantly, should we be finding a way to stop using plastics?

If all the money that had been invested in finding oil had been instead invested in nation-wide, high speed transportation, would we need long range cars at all?

Why aren't we leveraging geothermal more? Isn't there a practically limitless supply of heat energy underground?

If we have the technology and materials to build well insulated net-zero homes and offices, why do we continue to throw our heating money out the window by building marginally insulated homes?

While we argue about the safety of more pipelines, of which there are already a crap-load, the oil is instead being transported by the longest rail car trains in history. Does this make sense?

Do we not realize that by the time we get our oil to the coasts, the countries we intend to sell to will already be converting themselves to a more sustainable system?

Why do anti-pipeline folks get angry about the newly proposed pipelines, but ignore the substantial, existing network?

I truly believe that the resistance of switching off of oil has nothing to do with its practicality, or that pro-oil people are anti-environmentalists or don't care about the planet. I believe that we're still in oil because it makes money. The only thing that is going to stop our pursuit of getting it out of the ground is when people don't need it anymore.

Norway made a ridiculous amount of money from oil, which they saved up. Now they spend that money on making it cheap to buy electric cars. They fully intend to go oil-free in less than a decade.

I keep hearing the words "Look what oil has done for this country". Aside from jobs, I'm waiting for a more detailed explanation.

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