Why We Need to Break Away From Fossil Fuel Dependency and Find Alternative Energy Sources
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you probably have heard about OPEC. OPEC is an acronym for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Twelve countries – Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela make up the membership of the cartel.
The developed world runs on oil, so it’s easy to see that oil (or rather, the production and exportation of oil) can be used as a very effective weapon. And it has been. And it likely will be again.
The Arab-Israeli conflict contributes to the problem. After the Six-Day War in 1967, OPEC was transformed into a political force, and a formidable political force at that. It was the Yom Kippur War of 1973 that brought things to a head. Arab countries were furious over the emergency resupply efforts that had made it possible for Israel to withstand Egyptian and Syrian forces. The 1973 oil embargo ensued.
But oil that is pumped out of the ground must be stored – or used. By the 1980s, there was an oil glut. There was more oil available than there was demand for it, and the price of oil began to take a nose dive. Exports declined, and so did the money. The members of OPEC were not happy campers.
But as I said, oil is the fuel that runs the world. The excess of supply didn’t last long. Oil prices fluctuate, but OPEC isn’t totally responsible. Oil is traded as a commodity on stock exchanges and investors can drive the price up by bidding on what’s called “futures.” This is the main cause of the high price of gasoline that American consumers were paying during 2008.
However OPEC is a force to be reckoned with and they can use oil as a weapon again. Unless, we become less dependent on oil and find other alternative energy sources.