America's Energy Boom: Fueling the addiction

The drilling continues

North America is capable of producing cheap domestic fuel. What does this mean for the future of renewable energy initiatives?

The recent rise in oil and gas production through shale resources exploration now allows for America to become its own energy provider. Optimistic accounts say that production could reach 27 million barrels a day by 2020. After years of reducing gasoline consumption in the US, consumers will be delighted to hear this development with North America standing to become the “new Middle East.” However, this might not be the best news for those backing renewable, clean technology or those conscious of the environment. If there is a ready and steady supply available, why change? Why switch to other energy sources? Without a strong public reason to continue investing into renewable power, the industry could hit a standstill. To add to the blow, there are predictions that say that with a strong gas supply, the flagging American manufacturing system beaten down by high energy costs can actually be restored. And this doesn’t even tap into the notion that North America could gain a greater political status through transforming into a leading energy supplier.

But as we’ve seen, climate change is a matter that is being taken seriously the world over. Although from these energy sources such as shale do not produce as much carbon as coal, it ultimately still produces this emission. Despite the current squeeze on oil and gas consumption, the US continues to have a worryingly high rank on the CO2 emissions scale. America is still slow on the uptake for sustainability and this new revelation may hinder developments in this arena.

What do you think? Will the US change its policies or continue its fossil fuel consumption? Voice your views.

For more on the United States' struggle with renewable energy, read Financing US Renewable Energy Projects or listen to our podcast, The US & Renewable Energy.