by Jorge Madrid
The fossil fuel industry is aggressively pushing its drill-everywhere-drill-anything agenda, which would open up every square inch of America to extraction. So what would happen if we gave the industry what it wants?
Today, the Center for American Progress released “America’s Future Under ‘Drill, Baby, Drill,’” describing where we may be in the year 2030 if we continue down the path of fossil fuel dependency that the American Petroleum Institute (API) advocates a report on the organization’s “vision,” also released today.
If you ask API, that vision means opening up significant portions of our oceans that are currently off-limits to drilling; turning large swaths of our pristine public lands into areas for extraction; and pushing shortcuts in the environmental and public health review process to speed up permits.
In short, Big Oil wants a free ride to “Drill Baby Drill” straight into our children’s future.
But at what cost?
CAP’s report illustrates some of the costs we may incur if Big Oil gets its way: Intensifying heat waves, drought, and accelerated sea-level rise become a normal part of our warming, unchecked, carbon-spewing world. Public health impacts in the U.S. from smog and ozone quadruple, global food prices rise, and water scarcity exacerbates already-worsening conditions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
What will our economy look like under the “Drill Baby Drill” scenario? Consumers will be more vulnerable to spikes in the global oil market as clean energy and efficiency become an afterthought; public health costs add up as lawmakers strip needed regulations; and America misses an opportunity to invest in a globally-competitive clean energy sector, thus ceding leadership to China, India and Europe.
Of course, we can’t predict what 2030 will exactly look like. But we do have a massive body of scientific evidence showing us we must reduce emissions quickly today — otherwise, it will be too late.
Big Oil can no longer pretend that its vision is consistent with a prosperous, healthy future. Making our country more reliant on fossil fuels is good for the largest, most profitable companies in the world — but it’s terrible for society.
And now, come with us into the dystopian future, to the year 2030…
Jorge Madrid is a Research Associate for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.