Shell’s decision to stop its exploration efforts in Alaskan waters draws an expensive eight-year programme to a close. Which statement is closest to your feelings on extracting hydrocarbons from the Arctic?
THe resaonse to last week’s poll was relatively restrained, with 34 readers responding: somewhat down on previous polls. But the split of opinion was very interesting. No option received a majority of votes, but two dominated with very similar proportions of respondents: 45 per cent ascribed to what might be called a pure economics view, stating that despite the difficulties of extracting oil from the Arctic, industry will revive its efforts if the oil price rises high enough. Meanwhile 42 per cent went for an environmental viewpoint, choosing the option that the Arctic is such a sensitive and important habitat that it needs special protection against hydrocarbon extraction. In the smaller options, 5 percent thought the sheer difficulty amd expense of extraction was protection enough; 4 per cent thought oil extraction should continue in all environments and oil companies can be trusted to limit environmetal impact, and another 4 per cent declined to pick an option.
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