Geopolitical and Environmental Impacts of OilAIM: Examine the geopolitical and environmental impacts of these changes in patterns and trends. Examine the changingimportance of other energy sources.“"The result of oil exploration, extraction and spills is that many people in the have to drink, cook with, and wash in pollutedwater; they have to eat contaminated fish – if they are lucky enough to still be able to find fish – and farm on spoiled land."- KateAllen of Amnesty International1. Read this Article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/20/frontier-oil-exploration-pollution2. Use the article, your textbook, study guide (page 43), and the videos and articles provided by Mr. Gabe (see below) to create adetailed Case Study of the impacts of changing Oil patterns and trends- and how this is leading towards a changing importancein other energy sources. I recommend creating a table like the one below. The questions are meant to serve as a guide.E-Environmental Ecuador: (Local)or Physical Intro: In Ecuador, the Amazon Defense Coalition claims Chevron holds the record for the worlds largest oil- related contamination in the populated Amazon rainforest – an even more sensitive ecosystem than the marshes of Louisiana. WATER POISONING: The allegations are at the root of a class action lawsuit in Ecuador where the oil giant faces more than $27bn in damages for poisoning an area the size of Rhode Island with 18.5bn gallons of toxic "produced water" – water that emerges from drilling activities. That is more than 474 times the amount of contamination estimated to have been spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, according to claims by representatives of the plaintiffs Canada: (Regional) Intro: The sands are naturally occurring mixtures of sand or clay, water and a dense form of petroleum called bitumen. They are found in large quantities in Canada and Venezuela. CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS: Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as conventional oil. A spokesman for FairPensions, the shareholder activist group, says: "Every day the extraction process uses enough natural gas to heat 3.2m Canadian homes for a day. Tar sands are a significant factor in Canadas failure to meet its Kyoto protocol targets." http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/20/frontier-oil-exploration-pollution What are some of the environmental impacts of the world’s dependence on oil? (From Oil spills, increased shipping, piping, drilling, soil, etc.) What part does Oil Play in Climate Change?
What are some of the environmental impacts of the world’s dependence on oil? (From Oil spills,increased shipping, piping, drilling, soil, etc.) 1. Climate change, which lead to hurricanes and powerful storms oil spills • Burning oil carbon dioxide and methane gas long-wave radiation trapped by gases • Vegetation loss leads to increased absorption of short-wave radiation, as a result it emits more long-wave radiation. 2. Oil spills loss of biodiversity in ocean ecosystems, ex. Exxon Valdez, Alaska; affect ocean birds and their mating cycles 3. Nigeria, Shell pipelines often burst and contaminate lands, ex. Land degradation, for farmers, water bodies, and renders fishing impossible. 4. Plastic production non-biodegradable products; electronics manufacture non- recyclable products causes massive amounts of pollution and dangerous chemicals 5. Ecuador Chevron holds the record for world’s largest oil-related contamination, around 27 billion dollars worth of damage, area damaged equivalent to size of Rhode Island, with 18.5 billion gallons of toxic water 474 times the amount of contamination estimated by the oil spill of the Gulf of Mexico 6. Canada uses a lot of sand oil process of making sand oil generates 2 to 4 times the amount of greenhouse gases than conventional oil. Everyday the extraction process uses enough natural gas to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes per day; tar sands are a significant factor in Canada’s failure to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets.
S-Social Nigeria (Regional) INTRO: The Anglo-Dutch oil giant is by far the biggest oil firm operating in the delta – where, in March 2008, it was estimated that at least 2,000 sites required treatment because of oil pollution. Independent oil and environmental experts estimate that between 9m and 13m barrels of oil have been spilt in the delta area during the past 50 years – equivalent to an Exxon Valdez disaster every 12 months. Shell operates in 100 countries, but about 40% of spills are in Nigeria, which is quite incredible POVERTY: People who live in the Niger delta have had to withstand huge oil spills for decades. Farmers allege that spills from Shell pipelines have contaminated their land and fishing ponds, and have destroyed their livelihood. HEALTH HAZARD: “The result of oil exploration, extraction and spills is that many people in the Niger Delta have to drink, cook with, and wash in polluted water; they have to eat contaminated fish – if they are lucky enough to still be able to find fish – and farm on spoiled land” HATRED (EXTERNAL): After oil spills, the air reeks of pollutants. Many [people] have been driven into poverty, and because they cant make Shell accountable for its actions, there is enormous distrust between the group and local people. HATRED (INTERNAL): Oil is estimated to have earned Nigeria more than $600bn since the 1960s, and the oil and gas sector represents about 80% of government revenues; the governments reluctance to take a hard line with oil companies is not difficult to understand. Kazakhstan (Local) INTRO: In Kazakhstan, Friends of the Earth is worried about the environmental, social and health effects caused by the development of the Kashagan oilfield. The consortium behind the project includes companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Italys ENI. MIGRATION: Friends of the Earth said thousands of people have already been relocated in the region because of sulphur emissions and other highly poisonous chemicals such as mercaptans, which are present at high levels in northern Caspian oil. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/20/frontier-oil-exploration-pollution 1. Psychological trauma of an oil spill, ex. Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico, oil spill destroys the way of life, their “soul”, of the marine coastal communities in the Gulf loss of jobs, food source, healthy drinking water, recreation, and other health-related issues ex. From swimming, etc. 2. Nigeria Shell operates in 100 countries, but about 40% of oil spills are in Nigeria, independent oil and environmental experts estimate that between 9 million and 13 million barrels of oil have been spilt; the delta area during the past fifty years • Poverty – people who live in the Niger Delta have to withstand huge oil spills farmers lose land, fishing water bodies, destroying livelihoods. • Health hazards – the result of oil exploration extraction, and spills is that many people have to drink, cook, and wash in polluted water; any fish they consume will
be contaminated • Hatred – many people in Nigeria have been drive to poverty, because can’t make Shell accountable for actions there is an enormous distrust between local people and American corporations. Internal: Oil estimated to have earned Nigeria 600 billion dollars since the 1960s; oil and gas sector represent 80% of government revenues, thus the government ain’t going to do nothing about this people p---- d off. 3. Migration in Kazakhstan thousands of people have been relocated due to sulfur emissions, another highly toxic material mercaptans, which are present in high levels in the Northern Caspian Sea. 4. In Alaska, the forced migration of the Gwich’in native people as a result of oil spills driving away caribou herds and destroying fishing areas EXXON VALDEZ! How is oil leading to poverty in some areas?How can oil affect food and water supplies at the local, regional, global scale?How is oil affecting Health in some regions?Migration?How are the different peoples of the world coping with the impact of changing patterns in oil? Who are thewinners? The Losers?are societies changing as a result of a) an increasing dependency on Oil or b) adapting to life without oil?
P- Political Greenland and Antarctica (Regional) One is growing concern in the developed world that, at some point in the next 30 years, demand could outstrip supply. That means governments are under pressure to make it easier for firms to look for oil in inhospitable areas, whether in deep water off the US or in the tar sands of Canada. Greenland is viewed as one of the last great frontier areas in the oil and gas business, and the US Geological Survey estimates that the territory could hold 50bn barrels of oil and gas. Platform points out there has been a quickening in the race for rights to territory in the Arctic, with the Russians two years ago symbolically planting a flag under the North Pole during a submarine expedition. The last frontier is perhaps Antarctica. Signatories to the Antarctic Treaty officially refrain from any territorial claims on the continent, but some countries, including Britain, Australia and Russia, have made unofficial claims and produce stamps with maps of Antarctica showing territory purportedly belonging to them. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/20/frontier-oil-exploration-pollution Resource Wars (Regional) The Iraq war was just the first of this centurys "resource wars", in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities, according to the UK governments former chief scientific adviser. Sir David King predicts that with population growth, natural resources dwindling, and seas rising due to climate change, the squeeze on the planet will lead to more conflict. SHIFT away from Middle East Secondly, western governments want to reduce their dependence on unstable regimes in the Middle East, which partly explains the recent US move to lift restrictions on drilling in Alaska. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/13/resource-wars-david-king 1. Political tensions between countries that have oil and those who need oil • Relationship between the Middle East creates high tension, which in part led to the 2003 US – Iraq War that lasted for seven years • Jimmy Carter – declared Persian Gulf as the root of American welfare, and has “right” to use “military advocates” TENSION 2. Antarctica and Arctic no other countries are supposed to claim it; but undeclared tension between RUSSIA PUT A FLAG ON ARCTIC
3. Mr. Gabe: What’s going on in Columbia and Nigeria? Jonathan: So basically, Colombia and Nigeria have like, a lot of money 600 billion dollars of oil, like, the locals are not getting any dough. WARLORDS fighting for oil wells, leading to distrust in the government a) because it’s constantly in conflict b) lack of revenue-sharing. 4. A similar story is unravelling in Colombia, where BP has a presence in the Casanare region. Strikers recently blockaded a plant, 125 miles from the capital Bogotá, for a fortnight, prompting BP officials to say they felt like hostages. The dispute has been rolling on since February over issues including labour, the environment and human rights. Most of these have now been resolved…moving onE- Economic Nigeria (Regional) INTRO: The Anglo-Dutch oil giant is by far the biggest oil firm operating in the delta – where, in March 2008, it was estimated that at least 2,000 sites required treatment because of oil pollution. Independent oil and environmental experts estimate that between 9m and 13m barrels of oil have been spilt in the delta area during the past 50 years – equivalent to an Exxon Valdez disaster every 12 months. Shell operates in 100 countries, but about 40% of spills are in Nigeria, which is quite incredible POVERTY: People who live in the Niger delta have had to withstand huge oil spills for decades. Farmers allege that spills from Shell pipelines have contaminated their land and fishing ponds, and have destroyed their livelihood. HEALTH HAZARD: “The result of oil exploration, extraction and spills is that many people in the Niger Delta have to drink, cook with, and wash in polluted water; they have to eat contaminated fish – if they are lucky enough to still be able to find fish – and farm on spoiled land” http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/20/frontier-oil-exploration-pollution 1. Oil spills unemployment due to contamination of resources e.g. tourism is impossible because of contaminated waters 2. Price fixing of oil rising oil prices 3. OPEC can control the price of oil by stealing prices, can also do formula pricing; consequences INCREASING PRICES OF OIL; pizza delivery prices go up man, less field trips, air line industries, people must pay to have more to have their garbage taken away; DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS ON SMALL BUSINESSES What factors ensure the dash for oil continues? How can oil production affect agriculture? Using evidence from the past (Oil embargo of 1973, price increases in 1990 and 2003, etc.) how does OPEC’s ability to dictate Oil prices impact consumption markets? Positively? Negatively? How have the changing patterns of Oil production and Consumption affected the world’s economies? The winners? The losers? (Think American Automotive Companies) How has an increase in Oil dependency fueled a drive towards alternative energy sources?
C- Cultural The Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the biodiversity of the marine resources decreased by half. This disrupted the cultural calendar of the resource cycle availability and cultural traditions. Between 30 March and 15 May 1990, a population-based study by a team of applied anthropologists under contract to Impact Assessment, Inc. (15 field workers) interviewed 594 men and women in 13 communities - 11 in the oil-affected region and 2 control communities outside the area. The study considered everything - from relationships between exposure to the oil spill and the subsequent clean-up efforts to social and psychological impacts. The following were the major findings: 1. A decline in traditional social relations; 2. A decline in subsistence production and distribution; 3. Increases in drinking, drug abuse, and domestic violence; 4. A decline in health status; 5. An increase in reported medical conditions; 6. Increased post-spill anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. Alaska Natives, especially women, were found to be particularly at risk for the (latter) three psychiatric disorders. Other findings included the following: (a) money was the source of considerable friction; (b) after the accident, people spent less time visiting with friends and less time on community activities; and (c) there was concern about the safety of basic subsistence foods that might have been affected by oil. In summary: Although the study focused on negative impacts, some positive findings were also noted: "Positive changes resulting from the oil spill and cleanup were indicated in some responses, and these often had to do with either economic benefits or an increased sense of communities pulling together in times of adversity" (Palinkas et al. 1993: 6). Overall, the team concluded that "... the oil spills impact on the psychosocial environment was as significant as its impact on the physical environment" (Palinkas et al. 1993:1). The second major study of communities affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill was an extension of the single most comprehensive social and cultural study of contemporary life in Alaska, begun in 1986. It was funded
by the DOI MMS and awarded to Joseph G. Jorgensen, as principal investigator, through the Human Relations Area Files, Inc. Thirty Alaskan coastal villages had already participated in the multimethod project. After the oil spill, new questions were designed and additional communities included in the study. In the summer of 1989, eight villages located in the Exxon Valdez spill area and two villages in adjacent control areas were added. Two communities, Kodiak City and Old Harbor, that had been included in the original study, provided pre-spill data. A total of 354 residents were interviewed (Jorgensen 1993). Two volumes of the Social Indicators Study (Technical Report 155) provide post-spill key informant summaries: Part l includes Cordova, Tatitlek, and Valdez; and Part 2 includes Kenai, Tyonek, Seldovia, Kodiak City, Karluk, Old Harbor, and Chignik (US DOI 1993a, 1993b). Impacts - not recovery - were the focus of these studies. However, they provide important data for comparative and diachronic studies in the future. Here, briefly, are a few selected findings: Perceived declines in natural resources are most often registered in small communities, communities closest to the spill, and communities with relatively dominant fisheries economies. Spill-related economic impacts (spill cleanup and related employment, job relocations, losses of employment, property damages, compensation for damages) tend to cluster in communities close to the spill, which are smaller, dominated by commercial-fisheries economies, and have the least diversified economies. Structured inequality in spill consequences was revealed. Relatively unstable households, such as single-parent households, are more likely to report relocation associated with spill-related work. In summary, it was noted that ... the Exxon Valdez spill may be reproducing an existing or latent social reality - in a sense, replaying an "old script" - that now is characterized by underdevelopment in rural regions, dominance of urban centers that are able to mobilize great resources, and marginalization of Native and unor underemployed residents who lack substantial political power. Because similar patterns have emerged in many of the accounts of great technological disasters (Bhopal, Chernobyl, etc.), this is not at all surprising. (McNabb 1993: 21-23) What is the impact of Oil dependency, oil depletion; sustainable development, etc. have on various cultures throughout the world? What changes (Positive and negative) do we see taking place in cultures as a result in Oil?T- Technology CHANGING TECHNOLOGY Today, only 35% of the oil in the average oil field is recovered, meaning that most of the oil remains underground. However, primary and secondary recovery methods haven’t been able to extract the
remaining amount of oil. Primary – using reservoirs’ internal pressure pushes oil out, recovery rate = 15%. Secondary – using water or natural gas to push more oil out, recovery rate = 20% to 40%. Therefore, more aggressive methods were explored. Incendiary: Burning part of a reservoir (which requires injecting air underground) enhances the recovery rate in three days. Firstly, heat from the fire makes oil less viscous. Second, the combustion produces carbon dioxide, which pushes oil out. Thirdly, the fire breaks the larger and heavier molecules of oil, making it more mobile. Chemical: Substances called surfactants, injected into a reservoir, help oil detach from the rock and flow better. Layers of surfactant engulf oil into droplets, similar to the way ordinary soap washes oily materials off a surface. A variation consists of injecting chemicals that generate the soaplike materials from components present within the oil itself. Biological: Experiments are testing the injection of bacteria (together with nutrients and oxygen) that grow in the interface between the oil and the rock, helping to release the oil. The bacteria are allowed to grow for several days before recovery resumes. In the future, genetically microorganisms could partially digest the most viscous oil and thin it out. CLIMATE BONDS Climate bonds are bonds issued by a government or corporate entity in order to raise finance for climate change mitigation or adaptation related projects or programs. CARBON NEGATIVE It is a means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from largepoint sources such as fossil fuel power plants, and storing it in such a way that it doesn’t enter the atmosphere. How is Oil changing technology? What are climate bonds? What does it mean to build a plant that is carbon negative?Additional Sources:1. Great Ted Talks: http://www.ted.com/talks/amory_lovins_on_winning_the_oil_endgame.html http://video.ted.com/talks/podcast/CarlSafina_2010X_480.mp42. Great Photos and video: a) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/10/us/20100510_OIL_TIMELINE.html b) http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/oil_reaches_louisiana_shores.html c) Good Video: Oil (see server link/ youtube)3. Best articles: a) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/15/global-oil-supply-peak-2020-prediction b) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/13/resource-wars-david-king c) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/dec/09/water.climatechange d) http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/189222/it-is-either-oil-or-tourismn
e) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/15/global-oil-supply-peak-2020-prediction f) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/03/china-overtakes-us-energy-consumer g) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/oct/29/climatechange-endangeredhabitats/print h) Students like this one: http://blogs.wsj.com/buzzwatch/2008/07/03/idea-watch-50-things-being-blamed-on-rising-oil- prices/ i) http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu21le/uu21le0l.htm4. Great Blog: http://adorngeo.wordpress.com/tag/oil/5. New Internationalist (get from Gabe) a) New Internationalist: Sun, Wind, Water, Earth, Air- The Energy Revolution b) New Internationalist: Mired in Crude-the End of Oil