The Institute for Energy Research has released a new report comparing the environmental quality of oil and natural gas produced in the world’s top-producing countries. For many years there has been a political movement centered in North America and Europe seeking to halt oil and gas production in the countries of those regions. Proponents claim this effort is justified in the name of protecting the environment and saving the earth from climate change, but this political movement has done little to eliminate the need for those products in developed countries.
Nearly every facet of modern developed economies require petroleum products and natural gas to function and provide the comfortable lifestyles that citizens of developed countries have come to expect. These resources are necessary for agriculture, heavy industry, transportation by all modes – road, rail, air, or ship – and a great number of the products that we now take for granted. They’re ingrained in almost everything. Thus, efforts to reduce or eliminate oil and gas production in developed countries will simply shift production to other countries in order to meet ongoing global demand.
The great irony is that this political movement which purports to be about protecting the environment results in oil and natural gas production moving from countries with the highest environmental standards to countries with lower, or even functionally zero, environmental standards. IER’s report creates an environmental quality index to quantify this disparity. The report illustrates how production in the U.S. and other developed countries is actually better for the environment than importing from other producers.
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