Technological and economic developments are highly reliant on the changes in the sources of energy. Before the eighteenth century, the primary energy sources were biomass and muscular, as most of the work was performed through human and animal labor. Coal, a fossil fuel, was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century as the energy source of the steam engines, used in both industrial and transport contexts. In the early Twentieth century, the invention of the internal combustion engine facilitated the use of oil.
The prominence of oil and other petroleum products such as natural gas rose throughout the century. The burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal is the predominant caul of carbon pollution, which has led to detrimental climate change. This has led to the increased need to replace fossil energy sources with green energy, such as water, wind, and solar (Lu et al., 2019).
This shall help the conservation of a healthy ecosystem and evade the global instability and conflict as a result of fossil fuel extraction. Having assessed the recent development in the energy industry, it is clear that fossil fuels are not easily substitutable, and the oil era is not yet over.
What is the Oil Era?
The oil era, also known as the age of oil, is the period in human history when petroleum products are the predominant fuel source. Being an observant learner, I have witnessed efforts in the political and corporate system to end this era due to its effects on humanity in the present day and future generations. One of the most conspicuous efforts, in my opinion, is by the innovator and business magnate Elon Musk (Lu et al., 2019).
He is the founder of Tesla and an automotive manufacturer that produces electric vehicles, thus replacing the internal combustion engine. Making this product reality and affordable to most people shall play a key role in promoting the usage of green energy. This informed me that ending the oil era is a possibility.
However, I realize that replacing internal combustion engine cars with electric cars is very impressive but a small proportion of other uses of oil, such as gum, toiletries, clothing, and plastics. Therefore, the spontaneous demolition of the gas and oil industry may have significant economic effects (Kayhan & Yacoub, n.d.). Therefore, our civilization is so reliant on oil that replacing impossible in the short run.
Lack of Cooperation between the Political and Economic
One of the reasons it may be challenging to end the oil era is the lack of cooperation between the political and economic in various jurisdictions worldwide. The political differences within multiple countries like the United States and numerous governments such as the Chinese and the American government have hindered the substitution of fossil energy with green energy. It has been difficult to unanimously recognize climate change as a reality and not a mere illusion.
Collective Recognition of the Impact of Fossil Fuel
The lack of collective recognition of the impact of fossil fuel on the climate for economic, political, and ideological reasons has made it a challenge to end the oil era globally. The reduction of crude oil importation from the Middle East is not due to the country’s reduced demand for petroleum products. It is, however, a result of fluking activities locally (Frankelius & Lindahl, 2021).
Therefore the American government has avoided the political consequences of interfering with the Middle East due to the over-reliance on oil. The alternative has been mining crude oil locally, wrongly perceived by the reduced demand for petroleum products in the United States. Therefore the oil prices are not a reliable indicator of the demand or transformation of the energy sources locally.
The proposition of carbon tax is another indicator that the oil era is not yet other. It also suggests that the period may persist into perpetuity. The carbon tax is the price paid by the emitters of greenhouse gas, revenue intended to conserve the climate. It has been suggested that oil prices are not inclusive that carbon emission is a negative externality.
Therefore they do not facilitate the payment of the entire cost of the commodity (Frankelius & Lindahl, 2021). The carbon tax represents cost as the whole of consumption and production of petroleum products private price reflecting the actual benefits and costs of the resource on the economy. The suggestion of carbon tax indicates that it would be more reasonable to make participants in economic activities pay for the damage caused to the climate rather than their complete elimination from our financial ecosystem.
Additionally, the political leaders are incentivized to support the continued consumption of oil to increase government revenue (Frankelius & Lindahl, 2021). This may be in realizing that it may be difficult to replace oil with green energy completely. With this understanding, we need to gradually phase out with carbon taxes being used as a tool in this accord.
Read Also: Oil Curse: Oil is both a Curse and Blessing
Another reason why the oil era is not yet over is that energy transition is a gradual process. It would be impossible to replace it with green energy peremptorily. This may be because there is a significant requirement on technological advancement to accommodate the change to a new source of energy. For example, one of the reasons it has been difficult to transition from the combustion engine to the electric motor in a car is the innovation surrounding the batteries.
Stunted Innovation of Batteries
The technological challenge is the innovation of batteries that have the same range as a full gas tank of a vehicle (Kåberger, 2018). This is the amount of energy stored in the battery pack, mostly except when the car is accelerating. Another technological challenge is adopting the electric motor in place of the internal combustion engine; the time takes to charge the batteries is significantly longer than the amount of time taken to refill a gas tank.
This makes the usage of an electric vehicle quite inconvenient (Frankelius & Lindahl, 2021). I, therefore, think that it may take longer for technological advancement to make green energy a reality. The combustion engine and other uses of petroleum products are a requirement for the thriving of our civilization.
In conclusion, it is clear to me that the oil era is not over yet. I have also learned that oil has had a significant cost to our civilization and future generations. Transport is an important energy consumer and is heavily reliant on the advancement of battery technology. Oil consumption is expected to persist into the foreseeable future. The need to replace fossil fuels with green energy is unanimous based on scientific energy.
The main challenge is technological advancement to facilitate the adoption of green energy sources such as solar and wind. The transition can be facilitated through cooperation among political and economic leaders across the world. Replacing oils is therefore inevitable. Get legit essay writing services on economics subjects now!
- Arutyunov, V. S., & Lisichkin, G. V. (2017). Energy resources of the 21st century: problems and forecasts. Can renewable energy sources replace fossil fuels?. Russian Chemical Reviews, 86(8), 777.
- Frankelius, P., & Lindahl, M. (2021). Energy Solutions for Agricultural Machinery: From the Oil Era Towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy. In Bio# Futures (pp. 319-348). Springer, Cham.
- Kåberger, T. (2018). Progress of renewable electricity replacing fossil fuels. Global Energy Interconnection, 1(1), 48-52.
- Kayhan, S., & Yacoub, A. M. Did Something Change in Chad after The Oil Era? Evidence from A Rolling-Windows Analysis. Uluslararası Ticaret ve Ekonomi Araştırmaları Dergisi, 5(1), 1-9.
- Lu, H., Guo, L., Azimi, M., & Huang, K. (2019). Oil and Gas 4.0 era: A systematic review and outlook. Computers in Industry, 111, 68-90.