Should the US build green energy infrastructure instead of pipelines? | The Tylt
Should the US build green energy infrastructure instead of pipelines?
People think it's more important to invest in clean energy over oil infrastructure. If the United States is truly committed to a green future as a society, it needs to invest in infrastructure that allows renewable energy to flourish. For example, gas is so readily available and cheap because of the massive infrastructure making it possible.
In order to illustrate the vast infrastructure that makes oil—and modern life—possible, Planet Money bought a 100 barrels of oil and tracked it through the system. Spoiler alert: There are a lot of players involved.
This is how environmentalists frame the situation: The world is at a tipping point. We can continue down this path and fundamentally change the world as we know it, or we can take radical action now, and preserve the world for the future. One of the ways of taking radical action is to say no to increasing oil infrastructure, bear those costs, and instead invest in the infrastructure that would make renewable energy possible.
However, supporters of investing in oil infrastructure say oil is too integrated in society to stop cold turkey. The fact is the United States is the largest producer of oil. That oil has to be transported, refined and brought to market. The energy industry argues that pipelines are needed because right now, the U.S. is moving its oil unsafely by train, through cities across the nation. More pipelines would make the process safer and more efficient.
Others argue that while a good idea, keeping oil in the ground is not likely to be the best policy to stop climate change. There are other policies which would have a larger impact. Pipeline supporters argue that preventing the construction of oil infrastructure only keeps transporting oil unsafe. The oil is going to be used either way.