Renewables More Attractive Than Ever

Renewables More Attractive Than Ever

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#Renewables are more attractive than ever. #solar #cleanenergy via @SaraGBM

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Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Green Builder Media


Friday, February 6, 2015 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living


Since last summer, the price of a barrel of oil has decreased by more than 50%, from approximately $90 to $45. In the U.S., drivers are rejoicing, saving a total of $630 million per day, but oil producing states like Louisiana are panicked by slumping economies and an uncertain future.

Globally, production heavy countries like Nigeria and Venezuela, with economies that depend on high oil prices, are nearing a breaking point. Without the lubrication of oil money to keep the military happy, countries like Liberia are experiencing regular government coops and ongoing civil disruption.

Experts claim that oil prices are intentionally being held down by the rich OPEC countries, who have agreed not to scale back production (ensuring low prices), to put pressure on the global market, and more specifically, to cripple the Russian economy and force Putin to abandon his support of Syria.

Oil and gas make up more than half of Russia’s national budget. Low oil prices, in conjunction with western sanctions placed on Russia because of their actions in Ukraine, has the Ruble in turmoil. Despite the Russian government’s best efforts, the nation’s economy is in freefall, which may force Putin to rethink his relationships with Syria and Ukraine.

In the U.S., producers have increased overall supply, but the diminished price of crude oil has changed the fundamental economics of the industry, making high-cost extraction methods like fracking substantially less profitable.

Not to mention the mixed messages that the American oil industry is receiving from Washington. After protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay from oil and gas exploration, President Obama made a surprise decision last week to approve drilling along a wide swath of the densely populated, environmentally vibrant Atlantic Coast—a risky proposition given the increasing frequency of powerful hurricanes and extreme weather events. If a super storm can demolish entire communities, just think of what it could do to one oil rig. And if we use BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as a reference point, we know the widespread and catastrophic damage that a spill from one rig can cause.

And, making political waters even murkier, there is the ongoing heated debate over the Keystone KL Pipeline, which may have received its deathblow this week in the form of a statement released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that linked the expansion of the Canadian tar sands to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s expected that the EPA’s recommendation, based on a Department of State analysis that established a connection between the development of oil sands crude and exacerbated carbon emissions, will be the deciding factor that convinces President’s Obama to veto the pipeline once and for all.