To What Extent Are the Environmental Impacts of the Global Increase in Demand for Oil Acceptable?

1736 Words Feb 18th, 2013 7 Pages
To what extent are the environmental impacts of the global increase in demand for oil acceptable? [15 marks]
After the industrial revolution, the demand for oil has been increasing globally. Over 100 million tonnes of oil are transported around the world on average a day. There are countries like the US which consume almost one quarter of global oil output, which must be supplied from oil reserves, usually from countries like Saudi Arabia (Guinness, 2011, p. 245). This shows that the topic of oil consumption is a global issue as all countries need oil to develop and provide for their populations. The issue with this large consumption of oil is the fact that oil is a non-renewable source of energy and therefore has a limit. Oil is formed
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Farmers used to earn 150000 dollars a year but this has dropped to 5000 dollars, showing the extent of the impact of the loss of herring (BBC News, 2010, para. 9). A weaker economy results in economical problems within the area and a change in employment structure as children of these fisherman can no longer have the opportunity to be a herring farmer. Economic problems can also result in social problems such as domestic violence, alcohol abuse, suicides and divorces, mainly due to massive unemployment. This example shows that the environmental impacts can have their own impacts, which again questions whether the extraction of oil is worth all these consequences.
After 21 years, 20000 gallons of oil still remain on the beaches of Prince William Sound (BBC News, 2010, para. 30). Therefore, the clean up hasn’t been very effective. It’s also worth pointing out that maybe all the environmental impacts still haven’t been determined, for example the soil and vegetation could also have been affected by the oil spill as the oil may have seeped through the sand of the beaches. This would affect the growth of vegetation drastically. People don’t know enough to predict how long the effects are going to last as they can range from years to centuries. One wonders how long countries can continue to extract and consume oil when they still don’t fully know the extent of the environmental effects of oil spills and