Structural Changes to Oil Exploration - Shift Away from Fossil Fuels

Structural Changes to Oil Exploration - Shift Away from Fossil Fuels

One of the most urgent topics in environmental conversations is the importance of cutting down carbon emissions. Certain countries already implemented drastic measures, such as Denmark, which is one of the largest oil producers in the EU. 

Decarbonizing the World

We rely immensely on fossil fuels. Everything from our whole industries to our cars runs on fossil fuels. However, using fossil fuels comes with a price.

When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released. The problem with these gases is that they trap heat in our atmosphere. As this has been going on for quite some time, it eventually leads to climate changes and, in the end, global warming.

Our only solution is to start decarbonizing our world and to shift away from fuels that have been used since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Denmark’s Efforts as Inspiration

Main objective: global turn from fossil fuels will limit global warming. How to achieve this?

Denmark can serve as a perfect example of a country that has set clear and direct measures.

Since they are planning to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Denmark already put in action a set of regulations. Their latest? It was announced on 4th December that the country will cease any new oil and gas exploration with an immediate effect.

Moller-Maersk’s oil rig in the North Sea. Copyright: Claus Bonnerup/AP (Source:

Denmark’s dedication towards the environment is also reflected in the fact that the biggest offshore wind developer, Orsted AD, is a Danish company. The government plans to triple Danish offshore wind power by 2030.

As Denmark is taking serious steps, other European countries, such as the UK, France, Germany, are also trying to cut down the emissions and reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Asian countries are also pledging for similar goals.

Alternatives to Fossil Fuels

What are the alternatives to fossil fuels? First of all, sustainable sources of energy such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal are the most viable solutions to powering the planet that have been explored so far. Using them comes without destroying the environment in that process and that is their main advantage.

The Middelgrunden offshore wind farm off the coast of Denmark (Photo: European Wind Energy Association/Flickr)

Natural gas will probably be an important part of the low carbon energy transition. As the governments are encouraging substitute technologies, the coal-to-gas switch will need to be followed by renewable powers.

Besides that, the financial and social future of oil and gas companies is increasingly in question. The pandemic of coronavirus is the additional push towards renewable energy sources. The need for oil dropped drastically since the whole world came to a halt. Oil companies need to start investing in their future, that is, in renewable energy.

Other possible alternatives to fossil fuels are various advanced biofuels. Hydrogen fuel also has the potential to be the fuel of the future.

Electrifying Future?

Electric vehicles are becoming all the rage, thanks to the popularity of Tesla and other companies that followed in their footsteps. Run by car batteries, these vehicles are releasing zero CO2 to the atmosphere.

Might the electric car batteries be the best alternative out there to gasoline and diesel?

Not so fast. Even though cars themselves are not releasing any greenhouse gases, the production of batteries is. Also, how will these batteries be recycled? 

Finding the perfect alternative to fossil fuels is a more serious challenge when looking at the bigger picture. But even taking small steps in the right direction is better than none.

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