It is truly a time for celebration. The U.S. now handily leads the world in extraction of oil and gas resources. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) believes the lead we’ve established will only grow larger in the coming years as the US seeks to export these energy resources in exchange for a capitalist’s wet dream: piles and piles of cold, hard cash. Of course, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the technological advancements in drilling and fracking practices that have taken place over the past decade. The cheap access we’ve allowed ourselves to millions of barrels of shale oil previously thought unattainable has catapulted the US to the forefront of energy production in a time frame that’s hard to conceive.
Countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, long thought to have established monopolies over oil and gas exports, have been left in the dust. And although it may surprise many, these aren’t very recent developments. The US beat out Russia in natural gas production back in 2008. We trumped Saudi Arabia’s oil production more than five years ago, all the way back in 2013. For reference, I graduated from high school that year. And we haven’t stopped ramping up production in the meantime either. US natural gas and petroleum production has increased by over 50% in the last ten years. Triumphant figures that would likely astound anyone.
Especially considering the recent spike in oil prices, I think it’s more than fair to say that the future of the US economy is looking mighty sound. But as hard as it can be to remember when in America, our economy isn’t the only thing we need to protect. If the world we live in is the cost of all this profit, what will be left for us to spend it on?
I know it sounds like I’m being hyperbolic, and I wish that much were true, but the world has entered a critical stage of climate change. The Paris Climate Agreement, although helpful, has given the world a false sense of hope regarding the situation. The speed at which humans are changing the world around them for the worse is now unprecedented. Despite all the talks of curtailing fossil fuels, 2017 set the new world record for greenhouse gas emissions exhausted. Humans, despite being 0.01% of all living things that have ever existed on earth, have caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and 50% of wild plant life.
As much money as this country stands to make selling fossil fuel products, the best thing we could honestly do with these resources is put them back where they were found. Not only for others, but for ourselves. For our children. For our future. Assuming we want to have one. Write me off as some crazy climate koolaid drinker if you dare, but the science stands behind this article. Research proves that if we continue emitting carbon emissions as we have, there truly won’t be anything left of our legacy.
I know that capitalism is king in this country. Hell, I wouldn’t be writing this article if I weren’t being paid to do so. But there are some things in life that you simply can’t buy. Unfortunately for us, the planet we live on is one of them.
Written by: Chris Stomberg