Project on the Ailing Planet

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Project on the Ailing Planet

By | Feb. 2011
Page 1 of 21
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Oil Production and Environmental Damage

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ABSTRACT

• ISSUE BACKGROUND
• RELEVANT TED CASES
• CASE LISTINGS AND BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS
• COMPARISON AND CONTRAST
• POLICY IMPLICATIONS
• OTHER SOURCES

I. Abstract

Most countries depend on oil. States will go to great lengths to acquire an oil production capability or to be assured access to the free flow of oil. History has provided several examples in which states were willing to go to war to obtain oil resources or in defense of an oil producing region. States have even become involved in conflicts over areas which may only possibly contain oil resources. This trend is likely to continue in the future until a more economical resource is discovered or until the world's oil wells run dry. One problem associated with this dependence on oil is the extremely damaging effects that production, distribution, and use have on the environment. Furthermore, accidents and conflict can disrupt production or the actual oil resource, which can also result in environmental devastation. One potential solution to this problem is to devise a more environmentally-safe resource to fuel the economies of the world.

II. Issue Background

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Although much of the world depends on the production or the trade of oil to fuel its economies, these activities can cause severe damage to the environment, either knowingly or unintentionally. Oil production, and/or transportation, can disrupt the human population, and the animal and fish life of the region. Oil waste dumping, production pollution, and spills wreak havoc on the surrounding wildlife and habitat. It threatens the extinction of several plants, and has already harmed many land, air, and sea animal and plant species. The effects of oil on marine life are cause by either the physical nature of the oil (physical contamination and...