Is it a mere coincidence that the largest oil field in North America came on line 30 years ago and in the last 30 years Alaska has suffered the largest temperature rise in the world? No. Consider the following daily flaring of CO2 from only one pool of oil in Prudhoe Bay, the Lisbourne Pool, One Billion cubic feet. Figures could not be found for the other fields For comparison, Saudi Arabia reports releasing 4BCF. At the height of the Dustbowl of the1930's, "One historian estimated that in 1934 approximately a billion cubic feet [author's emphasis] of unassociated gas was stripped and released or flared daily in the Texas Panhandle alone." Methane
The flaring does not include the CO2 released from the largest density of gas turbines (98 in 1988) in the world that produce electricity to power oil pipeline flow and infrastructure.While having relatively few people, Prudhoe Bay produces more pollution than Washington, DC (ibid.).
Since the 1970's, Prudhoe Bay can be compared to Alaskans winning a lottery without buying a ticket. "It is Prudhoe oil that shows up in the Christmas stockings of every Alaskan, in the guise of a $2,000 royalty check." Source However, Alaska will end up like the first U.S. lottery winner who retired from work for 20 years only to find himself bagging groceries because in his late fifties he had no job skills, job history or retirement funds. As the first lottery winner bit the dust, so has and will Alaskans bite more dust each year under the dessicating Prudhoe plumes of CO2.
"Black smoke pours from oil production facility at Prudhoe Bay." Photo Pamela A. Miller
For many years, Alaskans thought they were benefitting from the Oil Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The dessicating effect and local warming of the CO2 plume associated with the Alaskan Oil make the tax rebates an environmental trojan horse. Oil was pumped. Gas was flared.
The Bushitters plan to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve will achieve the Texan joke of making Texas the biggest state again by melting all the ice in Alaska. You can reduce the environmental footprint of oil rigs to the size of a cyanide pill but the effect of CO2 will be the same.
Prudhoe Bay is a lesson for all other national and state economies that want to be driven by energy development. The energy picture is part of the existential meltdown of civilization, exploding problems with fewer solutions.
As the East African drought disappeared for the duration of the
embargo in the early 1970's, so would the Alaskan Ecological
Disaster disappear if they close down Prudhoe Bay or the Alaskan
Oil Pipeline. Choice is simple: Water or Death.
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|>||#1 Ocensa||021125 Pipeline Blowup Columbia021125 N Y T|
|>||#2 021205||021205 Oil Pipeline Columbia021205 Wash Post|
|>||#3 021206||021206 Warm No Profits Alaska021206 Star Trib|
|>||#4 021206||021206 No Winter021206 U S A Today|
|>||#5 030211||030211 Iditarod Change030211 U S A Today|
|>||#6 030416||030416 Fire Early Alaska030416 U S A Today|
|>||#7 040123||040123 North Slope Drilling Alaska O K040123 W S J|
|>||#8 040113||040113 Perma Thaw Oil Exploration040113 N Y T|
|>||#9 040701||040701 112 Acre Wild Fire Fairbanks A K040701 U S Atoday|
|>||#10 040721||040721 Louisiana Smoke From Alaska040721 U S A Today|
|>||#11 Image||auto||040721 Louisiana Smoke From Alaska040721 U S A Today|
|>||#1 North America||Pipe Line Facts Alaska|
|>||#2 Lisbourne Pool||Conservation Order No207|
|>||#3 gas turbines (98 in 1988)||Air Pollution Alaska1995|
|>||#4 ibid||Air Pollution Alaska1995|
|>||#5 Source||Prudhoe Bay Requiem|
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|>||#1 4BCF||071101||1967+ SubSahara Drought|
|>||#2 Dustbowl||071101||1930's and 1950's Dustbowl Drought|
|>||#3 Methane||RefsBiblio||Methane Gas ch03i|
|>||#4 existential meltdown||071101||Existential Meltdown|
|>||#5 OPEC embargo||071101||1967+ SubSahara Drought|
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