The slippery lifeline
oil is the lifeline of the world’s economy. Dependence on oil has skewed incomes within nations and altered power relations among them. While oil provides multiple benefits to society, every stage of its lifecycle has harmful effects on health and environment. These are broad in scope and degree.
The environmental footprint of oil has been strikingly analysed in a recent report Oil: a lifecycle analysis of its health and environmental impacts. The report has been compiled by the Centre for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, usa. It provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the true costs of the use of oil.
There are five mucky stages in the lifecycle of oil: exploration, drilling and extraction, transport, refining and combustion.
exploration: It usually involves moving heavy equipments into relatively pristine environmental areas, disrupting