Environmental Issues - Essay Example

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Environmental Issues in the Energy Sector Name University Issue 7 - Offshore drilling is controversial because of two main issues namely economy and environmental impact. According to Easton (2011), proponents of offshore drilling during the time of the Bush administration considered it justified for reasons of assuring continued oil supply, reducing dependence on foreign sources, and relieving the government of problems caused by a growing balance of payments while critics focus on risks to the environment (p.133)…
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Download file to see previous pages Handling temperatures and pressures of subsea oil can easily be monitored through the use of sensors and other instruments even during drilling (p. 135). But Rose argues that even though modern technology, research and monitoring systems have reduced the frequency of ecological catastrophes, still, there are factors that can cause oil-well blowout from high-pressure and high-temperature which can result to emission of buoyant plume of oil, producing water and methane (p. 141). Baird stated that “hurricanes have become manageable, with oil lines now being capped at or beneath the ocean floor” (p. 135). But aside from oil lines on and beneath the ocean floor, Rose said Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 115 platforms, spilling roughly 17,700 barrels of petroleum and 25,110 barrels of mixed crude oil from above-ground storage tanks in Louisiana (p. 141-142). Petroleum leaks, Baird said, can now be restrained by industrial seals (p. 135). Although this is the case, the problem does not stop at petroleum leaks. Rose argues that another disturbing impact of offshore oil is the volume and type of wastes, such as produced water, drilling fluids, cuttings, diesel emissions, and chemicals associated with operating mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical equipment (p. 142). Even with modern technology, we cannot guarantee that offshore drilling can withstand the force of God, which include hurricanes and other natural disasters, and human errors. Modern technology cannot reverse the destructive environmental impacts of offshore drilling gone wrong. It is better for us to find alternative sources which are safer for the environment and for the people’s health. Protecting the environment does not mean we are less concerned about protecting the country from economic problems, but other alternative sources can lower oil imports and thus save our country from further spending. Issue 8 - The release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributes to global warming and is thus a danger to the well-being of human beings. To ease global warming, either people refrain from using fossil fuel as an energy source or capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere (Easton, 2011, p. 148). In carbon capture technology, the debate is not about the existence of the said technology but on their sustainability, safety and viability in being stored underground indefinitely (p. 149). In a nutshell, there are three issues surrounding the debate between David Hawkins and Charles Schmidt – the availability of technology, safety concerns and the political will to end the use of coal (Easton, 2011, p. 149-150). Hawkins maintains that the technology to capture carbon emissions are already existing and can already be utilized while Schmidt contends that the available technology is not yet technically and financially viable to be utilized in a major scale (p. 149). Anent to this issue is the question on safety, while Hawkins maintain that the technology on safety concerns are already feasible, Schmidt contends that there is still no assurance that carbon dioxide can be stored and can remain in containment underground indef ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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