Saturday, 19 June 2010

I am having a little trouble

with the laying of blame for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Now please do not misunderstand me. It is an environmental catastrophe. Yes, it might well be that it could have been avoided too.
Just who is responsible however? Yes, in one sense it is BP. They were doing the actual drilling. They should have had all possible safety measures in place.
When you are working on something like that then everything that can be done to ensure safety and reduce the risk of an oil spill should be done. I do not think there would be anyone who would argue with that.
But then there comes something that President Obama has mentioned in passing but nobody else seems to be too concerned about - a dependence on fossil fuel. I am probably being much too simplistic here but it seems to me that far too many people have been, and still are, happy to go on using vast amounts of fossil fuel without giving any real thought about where it comes from. They complain about the cost of the fuel but they do not consider how it reaches them. They use their vehicles and all the services supplied by the use of other vehicles without considering the ever increasing dangers and difficulties of getting that fuel. They are happy for deep sea drilling to take place as long as nothing untoward happens, as long as it does not affect them. All they want is the fuel.
These same people complain about the site of a wind-farm or a wave-farm or the view of solar panels. They did not complain when electric cars were recalled and destroyed indeed all too often their view of electric cars is that they do not go far enough or fast enough and will always be inferior to those which consume copious amounts of fossil fuel.
So, back to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Where was the US government as well as BP in all of this? Why did they both not have someone constantly checking? What about the states most affected? Why did they not have people checking?
It is easy to say it should not have happened. It is easy to say that BP is to blame. It is easy to demand that BP pay for the clean up and for the massive compensation package.
Australia is no better. We drill in Bass Strait. We drill in the Timor Sea. We want that fuel. We have already had a serious spill. It is probably only time before we have another. We will still want the fuel. We will still oppose nuclear power plants (but happily use nuclear medicine) and we will still oppose alternative forms of energy on the grounds of expense, of job losses (especially in the coal industry) and of their effect on the visual environment.
I am using fuel writing this...because I am using comes from a coal fired power plant.
I am as responsible for environmental damage as BP is.


Frances said...

I agree, Cat.
Except, from what I read, I do think that many people are aware of the personal responsibility involved.
And, although I am sorry for the devastation for the people involved, I think the fact that it happened in the U.S, is an advantage, in the publicity it brings to the issue, Evidently there is equivalent and on-going damage happening in Nigeria, which of course gets no publicity at all.

catdownunder said...

I agree - Nigerian pipelines are the most appalling death traps but the so-called 'developed' world could not care less. I fear there is nothing too developed about us!