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Oil

I read a report today on Business Insider that said people are losing hope for green energy.

I feel the problem comes really just comes down to cost.  The chart below shows that solar is FAR more expensive to produce than natural gas, but that is the cost to the consumer, what about the environmental and legal costs.

https://i1.wp.com/static.businessinsider.com/image/50b9324569bedd433c00000d-590/most-studies-show-that-renewable-energys-per-unit-costs-are-well-above-fossil-fuel-costs.jpg

For example, lets take the BP oil spill.  Yes, it was a devastating disaster that continues to impacted the Gulf region, and BP has lost a boat-load (like the pun;) of money.

They were just ordered to pay $4.5 billion in criminal damages, has spend hundreds of millions in clean up efforts and civil liability claims from businesses and residents from Texas to Florida. Not to mention the money lost in oil that spewed from the well and the lost of property, such as the oil rig and other equipment, not to mention the amount of money lost when their stock’s share price fell in the wake of the disaster.

That is a large chunk-of-change that, i feel, could have been better spent in developing better, more efficient solar panels or even developing better technology to harness wave energy, which is an unlimited resource.

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20121116&t=2&i=675254248&w=460&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE8AF1TAD00

Yes, BP wasn’t expecting to have an oil spill on their hands, but it is a risk that the company has to think of when harnessing  this form of energy. To put in perspective, BP could have funded 2.5 solar power plants like the one in the Mojave Desert.

Where would that money have been better spent ?

~by Asher Hudson

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~by Asher Hudson

This is nothing new. It is a story that has been told time and time again. But rather than this being the story of an oil spill or the purposeful dumping of fracking water, this is a story of environmental destruction.

To many people the world’s key oil deposits are located in the lands of sand and princes, but few people know that the worlds second largest oil deposit is located in our our neighbor to the north–Canada.

Most of the world’s oil deposits are located deep in the ground but Canada’s deposits are located on the surface, but trapped by sand.  The industry refers to the fields as the Athabasca Oil Sands. They are located in the middle of the Alberta province.

The Oil Sands, in the so far discovered deposits, contain enough oil for Canada to fuel its own oil demand, at its current rate, for the next 266 years and that is if they stopped exporting today.

This sounds great for national security and decreased oil dependency on the middle east, but there is a catch.  In order to extract the oil from  the sand, you have to dig it up.  This means excavating and extracting huge chunks of earth and processing it.  It is process that is similar to strip mining but on a far more destructive scale.

Strip mining is localized to a single site that might be a few square miles.  The Athabasca Oil Sands covers 54,000 sq. mi. of boreal forest and muskegs (peat bogs).  In order to extract the oil, the forest is cut down, bogs and dug up and then the underlying earth is excavated, processed, and refined.

Is this cost of environmental destruction worth the oil that we use?  We talk about the deforestation of the Amazon for farm land, why does it not apply for Canada and for Oil production?