The skyrocketing price of oil is a curse as well as a blessing for the environment. Lets first look at the disadvantages, and save the best for last. What is now 100-dollar-a-barrel oil, used to be available for 50 dollars back in 2001. The increase in prices is the main driving force towards the utilization of other fossil fuels, which gives rise to rather unwholesome results.
It has induced a greater investment in tar sands, which contributes in polluting the environment to a major extent. Quite a few major oil companies like Shell and British Petroleum have put their money into it and are minting it as it costs just 40 dollars per barrel to produce oil and they sell it keeping a huge margin of profit.
Coal, even more hazardous for the environment, is considered as an option — thanks to high price of crude oil. Accounting for 40 percent of electricity all over the world, several countries like China, USA and India depend on coal to a vast extent as it’s affordable and doesn’t involve any geopolitical risks.
As far the advantages go, to begin with, the consumers will think twice before shelling out that kind of money and switch over to alternative energies such as wind, solar power, etc which was once considered unusual. Steven Sawyer, executive director of GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) said that due to this mode of energy becoming more expensive, wind would come across as a better economic option and that there are places where affordable wind farms could be set up.
Rise in oil prices is making the recycling industry happy too, especially in plastics. Made from oil and gas, surging oil prices has prompted to consider recycling as a means of production for plastic. Now that’s good news, at last a way to get rid of all those plastic bottles and shopping bags!
Due to rising price of oil and concerns about climate change, capitalizing on nuclear power, responsible for 15 percent of world’s electricity, has emerged as another option. But then, there are a few apprehensions regarding nuclear proliferation, plant safety and disposal of those radioactive wastes.