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The Current Energy Crisis

According to planetforlife.com 85% of the world's energy comes from oil, coal, and natural gas. In the pie chart below, the green section represents wind, solar energy, and other less prevalent energy sources. In today's society, this type of energy is a small portion of the total energy, but it is the future because it is renewable and sustainable. Oil, coal, and hydro are primarily used to produce electricity, where Natural gas is mostly used for the public's heating process. Oil is crucial to life because almost all motor vehicles are run with oil, but that age is quickly coming to an end. There must be a change to more sustainable energy. If oil production remains constant there is only enough left for 41 years, there is also enough natural gas left for 61 years, and enough coal to last 133 years (planetforlife.com 1). Countries have fought brutal wars over land with oil access and it is a common topic of debate for political candidates. In the future energy is going to be limited and expensive if this transition from oil, coal, and natural gases is not anticipated and worked out in advance. So far, science has discovered three alternatives that will require more research and work to be put into them, so that they can be efficient enough to supply the world with its energy.. They are wind energy, solar energy, and nuclear energy.


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All dates were set to be January 1st of the year because the specific date was unknown.

Though is This A Crisis We Are Putting on Ourselves?

There are more oil reservoirs that exist today! Some have been found in Alaska. Look at the picture below, and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) find the 1002 area. In this area, according to the Arctic National Wildlife refuge's website, there is a 95% chance that there are roughly 1.9 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil (which, as of February 26th 2009, when this was published, meant that it would sell for at least $24 per barrel.) According to nationmaster.com, as of 2007, the United states consumed 20,680,000 barrels of oil per day. This means that in this tiny area, there is enough oil to supply the entire United States for ninety-one days. There is potential for oil in other parts of Alaska, as well as the water surrounding it. Yes, alternate energy sources could be needed eventually, but if we drilled in Alaska, we would have more oil, we wouldn't have to rely on foreign oil, and we wouldn't be in this crisis?

File:NPRA F1lg.gif
File:NPRA F1lg.gif

Sounds like an easy fix right? Well, unfortunately it gets complicated.
This area an Alaska is considered some of that last land in that area left uninhabited, and left completely to wildlife.

Let's go through a brief timeline of events:
1960- 8.9 million acres of Alaska's northeast coastal plains were designated as the Arctic Natinal Wildlife Refuge
1968- Large amounts of oil were found found west of this area, and it was believed that there were vast reserves of oil in the ANWR
1978/1979- The House of Representatives passed legislation that specifically designates this land as wilderness, though the Senate version states that the land must be tested and evaluated to see what affects drilling would have on the area
-Studies were taken, results showed that wildlife would be affected, and bills to drill in Alaska have been shot down ever since....

why?

Well, for many reasons, but I'll list two big ones.

The drilling would pose problems in the habitat. It would interfere with the migration patterns of the caribou, and the people working in the area would be in very close proximity with the wildlife, a potential hazard. And many feel that this pristine habitat should not be destroyed.
This is another big factor, the people, it's what gives the first reason its momentum. Many care about the environment, and wish to preserve it, and they have made interst groups to voice their opinions. One example is the Sierra Club, they're currently promoting a "Chill the Drill" initiative to keep oil industries from spreading their drilling areas. And, according to one theory of government, the representational theory, officials in elected offices listen to their constituents. If the constituents are strongly against something, the official will listen to them if this person wants to be reelected.
Some studies have shown (http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter3.html), that the carbon dioxide released from coal and oil harms the ozone layer, and contributes to global warming. A Gallup poll taken in May of 2008 reveals that 76% of Democrats believe that Global warming is taking place, versus 41% of Republicans. These politics, and public opinion shape the way the government legislates when it comes to energy. If they feel their constituents believe that coal and oil are a problem, they are going to push for alternate methods of fueling. These politics make it necessary for scientists to come up with newer, "cleaner" forms of energy.