If crude oil had not been discovered, all whales would be hunted for fat, which could lead to their extinction. For a time, whale fat represented the most commonly used fuel with lamps and candle materials, as they were not as unpleasant as animal fats and produced less smoke. After that, he discovered kerosene and replaced the fat of the whale.
In her report published by Oil Price, the writer Irina Slav said that the facts differ and vary with regard to the contribution of the oil industry in the rescue of whales, which have been hunted some species and became on the verge of extinction during the 19th century.
The use of whale fat reached its highest level during the 19th century, with whales being a source of oil for lighting, and used as lubricant for trains. In addition, whale oil was used in heating, soap making and paint materials, and served as a versatile raw material. In order to meet the growing demand for whale oil, the whaling industry has grown and flourished.
According to records, the US whaling fleet totaled 392 vessels in 1833, rising to 735 by 1846.
The average annual production of amber oil was between four and five million gallons, in addition to between six and ten million gallons of "lubricating oil for trains" produced annually.
The United States continued to provide whale oil until 1850, with the total US fleet falling to only 39 ships by 1876, due to the emergence of kerosene.
|Whales formed a source of oil to provide lighting in the 19th century (Getty Images)|
For his part, a Canadian geologist named Abraham Geisner discovered in the 1940s a way to make kerosene, which was much cheaper than other fuels available at the time, which was derived from coal.
The writer stated that in 1859 drilled the first oil well in Pennsylvania, which represented the beginning of the oil industry, and many credit the rescue of whales to John de Rockefeller, who launched several refineries to refine kerosene, which later developed into oil stations, and as a result became cheap kerosene abundant, Thus the demand for whale oil declined and eventually faded.
The oil is bad
The rise of oil-derived kerosene coincided with the demise of the US whaling industry, but there was no strong causal link between the two. Avoiding the extinction of whale species was simply the result of a combination of favorable factors.
Initially, whale oil prices were higher. At some point immediately after the Civil War, its price was affordable for the wealthiest segment of American society, in the early days of the oil industry, where Standard Oil controlled 90% of the market and then invented kerosene at the right moment to offer a cheaper alternative. For expensive whale oil.
The author pointed to the fact that "coal oil", as people called it, was then taxed at much lower rates than some other lighting fuels available on the market.
Supporters of this argument argue that whale oil has never been a competitor. By the time kerosene appeared on the scene, demand for whale oil was declining because of its price and the emergence of other alcohol-based alternatives.
Naturally, electricity was in place before the end of the 19th century, making most whale oil substitutes as useless as whale oil itself.
|1859 Drilling of the first oil well in Pennsylvania (Getty Images)|
Moreover, there were some camps of oil opponents who acknowledged the contribution of the oil industry to saving whales, and the oil industry did not do so intentionally, where oil prospectors seek profits rather than saving species.
However, through this rush to profit, prospectors have come up with a cheaper and better alternative to expensive whale oil, which has dealt a severe blow to demand.
There are those who point to the fact that the rise of oil as a feedstock for motor fuels led to modern whaling, resulting in more whales perishing in the twentieth century than in the history of whaling until then.
It is difficult to refute this argument, especially as oil was the beginning of a technological race that led us to where we are today, and was driven by internal combustion engines.
In general, the question of whether the discovery of crude oil has led to the deterioration of things - not only for whales, but also for the planet and humanity in general - remains open for debate, regardless of the opinion of the schools of thought pro and anti-oil.
However, even if the rise of kerosene as an alternative to whale oil is just a coincidence, it is actually an environmentally good coincidence, she says.