Home > Political > The BP Oil Disaster: Just the Beginning?

The BP Oil Disaster: Just the Beginning?

August 3rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

When Cris Hayes guest-hosted the Rachel Maddow Show last week, he had a lot of great segments. This one in particular got me thinking:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The part that made me go “damn…” comes at 3:45 when he interviews Michael Klare, author of Rising Power, Shrinking Planet, who points out that we’ve pretty much tapped out all of the “easy energy” that the planet has to offer. When it comes to oil, you go for the easy stuff first—oil in shallow waters relatively close to the shore, safe to extract geologically, and in safe countries. Most of that has now been used up, so if we still want to drill for oil we have no choice but to drill at increasingly greater depths.

We have the technology to drill at one or two miles of ocean depth, but as the BP disaster made completely clear, we don’t have the technology to deal with the situation when something goes wrong. Even in shallow water it takes 10-12 days to stop a leak, and apparently in deep water it can be a matter of months.

Obviously, we can do two things: we can stop drilling for oil at dangerous depths, or we can develop the kind of technology necessary to stop a spill when it happens. Either way, a moratorium on drilling while we figure it out would seem to be a no-brainer, unless you’re a federal judge with stock in the oil industry.

Another no-brainer, it seems, would be to get to work on a new comprehensive energy policy that would take into account the fact that the risk of a drilling disaster is only going to increase as time goes on. But apparently that’s just too politically difficult right now (as though it will ever be easy) so we’re not going to do that either.

Sorry, Earth. We know that we’re destroying you but it would be too much trouble to stop. I guess we’ll keep at it until you decide it’s time to get rid of us.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.