Do we have a moral right to stop the mining of oil sands?,

Sophie J. 220°

Take a look at this fascinating article about shale oil which is being mined in Australia at present. Australia, like the US, is full of drivers of large cars who are still looking for ways of keeping their cars on the road. What I'm interested in is the conflict between the personal 'right' to wealth as depicted here and the larger environmental 'right' to a healthier planet. What sort of argument can you make to these guys?

2 replies

C Robb W. 429°

Absolutely, we need to wake up and smell the Co2. Any effort that forestalls converting our economy to a low carbon one is unethical. My right to personal wealth ends at the point where it directly causes suffering. We can't fool ourselves any longer. The science is clear. There is a direct correlation between emission of greenhouse gases and rising sea levels, drought, food scarcity, and thus the suffering and death of millions of people. Fossil fuels need to stay in the ground!

Written in June 2008

Sophie J. 220°

Ok, so if we assume that there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' here about human desires to extract and excavate further any remaining fossil fuels, there is still a large gap to be plugged to convince the industries (and individuals) that benefit from the mining itself. As yet, there is no activity that can readily satisfy those who will be displaced in this industry: engineers, miners, scientists etc. Below is an example (it's genuine) of yet more speculation on the next big oil find for New Zealand:

New Zealand Geophysical Society
Panel discussion: "Should we drill the Great South Basin?"
Date: 17 July 2008, 7:30-8:30 pm,
Science House (RSNZ premises) Turnbull St, Thorndon, Wellington
Imagine that there has been the discovery of a North Sea sized gas and oil field in the Great South Basin. What would it mean for New Zealand? Should we drill it?

Dr Chris Uruski, GNS Science, will outline the geological setting Oil industry speaker - tba - will discuss the impact from the perspective of the petroleum industry
Dr Geoff Bertram, Economist, Victoria University Wellington, will discuss the likely economic consequences
Discussion from the floor will follow.

Written in July 2008

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