Petroleum: Suicide — Oil Goes Rogue

The greatest threat to humanity is climate change. Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and the changing weather is causing deep detriment to global biodiversity. The ramifications of global warming aren’t too abnormal to the planet; the planet is actually accustomed to it. Prior to man’s existence/evolution, earth underwent tremendous climate change. But as mentioned earlier, at that time, humans did not exist: and they certainly couldn’t. The human body is not accustomed to harsh changes in weather. It’s no mystery that climate change between summer and winter naturally tends to also coincide with flu season. If temperatures were to show bipolar symptoms as that in prehistoric times, our bodies would face something way worse than the flu. The truth is that combating climate change isn’t much of an environmental movement, but more of a selfish movement. If we want to continue to live on this planet, we need to be selfish and do everything we can to act on climate. As enticing as space travel to other planets may be, our home is the earth and we need to look after it.

Of course what I’m saying isn’t as widely accepted as it should be. The primary combatants to combating climate change is an industry that is largely responsible: the oil industry. No one person can carry the blame considering that this industry is quite vast, complex, and employs millions worldwide. Therefore, we come to a conundrum. How can we combat climate change without destroying such a pivotal industry?

The answer is within itself. The oil industry needs to go rogue. It needs to attack itself. The only way to combat climate change is to fight from within. The petroleum industry must enact strategic suicide.

Oil is an incredibly versatile liquid whose value overthrows the finest gold. It’s no secret that nations with more oil reserves tend to be on the richer scale. This craze for oil is still young, but also parallel to a growing adornment for this resource. This is such an asset that most homes in North America must indicate whether or not their property contains secret oil reserves; if it does, it’s not just property values that go up. Oil is a symbol of power, wealth, and industrialization. Oil has destabilized parts of the Middle East and risen tensions between other allies. But most of all, oil is ruining our environment.

As a leading contributor to carbon emissions, oil-based infrastructure paves the way for climate change. By facilitating unnatural temperature-raising mechanism, oil-based infrastructure’s chemical activity harms the natural flow of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. Consequently, we get an unhealthy amount of carbon that disrupts the natural climate flow.

The only way we can completely stop this issue from escalating further than it already has is to get off the oil standard.

But as mentioned before, the oil industry is vast and employs millions of people. So how exactly can oil truly go rogue? How exactly can the industry attack itself without actually killing itself? It can be done only by reinvention.

The Oil Industry has Money

A constant struggle for renewable energy companies is the constant issue of not having enough money. Research and development is costly, and, unfortunately, most start-ups can’t afford the expense. However, without proper R&D, no energy company can innovate and improve on itself. Also considering that politically North American governments are split upon the validity of climate change, it is increasingly challenging for such companies to inch out federal and state grants.

That said, when it comes to money, the oil industry has more than enough of it. Some of the richest people in the world are oil moguls. For example, Charles and David Koch’s, of Koch Industries, combined net worth just surpasses Bill Gates’. With that growing sum, these two rich brothers have held controlling power in the US Republican party to not only protect the oil industry, but also to uphold libertarian values.

Who’s to say that major oil companies can’t do the same in the world of renewables? 7 out of the top 10 richest companies by revenue are oil and gas. With that and many more, the oil and gas industry can house the most powerful group of venture capitalists.

It’s true that companies like Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, and Sinopec have penetrated the industry in their respective nations. By using their own strengths and assets, they can penetrate the industry of the future: renewables. Even if it’s an industry that directly conflicts and aims to attack their own, oil and gas industries have the opportunity to stronghold their destiny should they attain power on both sides of the battle.

The Oil Industry has the Workforce and Resources

On top of being underfunded, the renewable energy industry has another issue of not having enough resources or workforces to really have an impact. It’s not like the world is lacking engineers. Every year, the brightest engineering graduates leave their institutions in search of opportunities to make a difference. The only issue is that those opportunities need to pay well.

Start-ups, like in any industry, tend to offer relatively low wages with astronomical dreams. Unfortunately, most renewable energy companies share that characteristic. Despite the moral compass of an engineering graduate, any relevant work experience is necessary in this struggling economy. For that reason, a fatter paycheck does tend to be more enticing than working for the exciting industry of renewables.

As mentioned before, the oil and gas industry is the richest in the world with controlling interests in various governments, militia, and stronghold on economies. Within all that is possibility to invest into renewables and take control of an industry rivaled to them. By doing so, more engineering graduates can work towards progressing renewables while also welcoming more seasoned workers. It’s also convenient that the oil and gas industry currently has millions of content experienced workers who are highly skilled in the energy sector and ready for innovation. Not to forget, since they are already a profitable industry, the petroleum industry has access to the latest technology and best development the industry upholds. With its included resources, experienced workforce, and place for more workers, the oil industry’s assets are enough to bolster the renewable energy industry.

The Oil Industry has and continues to Change the World

Early uses of oil stemmed from Babylon, Ancient Rome, and even in China (it was burned to produce salt). But in the modern era, James Young, in 1847 Alfreton, Derbyshire, noticed natural petroleum seeping that was thick enough to lubricate machinery. Since then, oil has been a staple symbol of industrialization and has brought us through immense technological innovation.

Just in the past 150 years, oil discovery has influenced inventions like the automobile, the airplane, the camera, the computer, the smartphone, etc. Just as we’ve seen tremendous innovation and evolution of numerous technologies, we need to encourage massive shift in evolution in where we get our energy. Oil has truly been transformative, but it is still not sustainable. There will be a day when our oil reserves die, and it would be foolish for the industry to not have a backup plan.

Like any successful business, the petroleum industry needs to become more relevant. The world is becoming more and more aware of the dangers of climate change, and the morale of petroleum is only going down. Investing in renewables is the ultimate solution. It’s arguably the most exciting market to invest in. And if they can literally buy their competition, oil and gas companies can have stronghold over their future with a sustainable industry.

The problem with the renewable industry is the lack of funds, resources, and workforce. There is no set of companies more equipped, better funded, or better prepared than petroleum companies to take on this challenge.

As oil was allowed to be in abundance, companies were able to thrive to their fullest extent. And now, as oil has influenced the rise of renewable energy, we can repeat the cycle if the world is allowed to have renewable energy in abundance.

Oil has been iconic and has paved the way for immense discovery, but now, it’s time for renewables to do the same. It’s what the people want, it’s what our society needs, and it’s what the future will requires.

So to any oil company representatives reading:

“your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves moving the energy sector away from fossil fuels by solely focusing on renewable energy development. Global temperatures are rising astronomically and the earth is in desperate shape. You may buy out any existing energy companies and hire as much labor as needed as long as your purpose remains. As always, the success of this mission is paramount to human existence and your focus is dire for humanity.
This planet will self-destruct should you fail to fulfill the entirety of this mission.”