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Second Chance?

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Mixed Sentiment On Arctic Oil Report

By James Donahue

The revelation that a geological survey has turned up evidence of a massive untapped source of an estimated 90 billion barrels of crude oil under the Arctic may be construed as both good and bad news for the world, depending upon how we look at it.

That new reserves of oil are being located, albeit in places that will be costly to recover, will be beneficial if it can be preserved for use as lubricants and things that cannot function without it. If we continue on our normal reckless course of burning oil as fuel for our cars, heating our homes and running our engines of industry, we will be on the wrong course.

We will use up the world’s last resources of crude oil

We will continue spewing the deadly greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus causing more global warming and climate change, and eventually making our world an inhospitable place for life.

The probability that the Arctic may hold enough oil to supply U.S. demand for the next 12 years is obviously important. But 12 years is a relatively short time compared to the years we have been building a society that is almost totally dependent on oil.

That geologists think they have found a few deep pockets of crude in some remote parts of the world could be a blessing if we keep our heads and come to an international agreement not to waste it. But energy producers including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron have already accelerated exploration of the northern regions to find those untapped oil reserves, Russia is racing to gain a footing in the Arctic, as is Canada, Norway and Denmark.

Our guess is that if oil is really there, we are going to have a race to pump it all out of the ground so we can continue business as usual. And that would be tragic.

Donald Gautier, project chief for the U.S. Geological Study, noted that “the extensive Arctic continental shelves may constitute the geographically largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on Earth.”

If it is there it means we humans have been given a second chance, providing we keep our heads. It it is pumped and sold for greed, we will quickly be back in the soup and choking on the dirty air.