June 10, 2010

The Political Capital of the Oil Spill

I read an article today in The Globe and Mail (http://tiny.cc/0nnje) suggesting that the oil spill will be a 'game changer' for the oil industry. It was quoting an analysis by the international energy agency which posited that tough new regulation might jeopardize supply in the next five years to the tune of around one million barrels a day.

It also cites a Deutsche Bank report, “this is the end of the oil age as we knew it and the Macondo [the blown well] will be seen as an enormous driver toward at least recognition that cheap, abundant, politically secure oil is no longer available and our behaviour must change to recognize that.”

Amazing. I can't wait. I've been saying it for a while that Obama needs to use the political capital associated with the spill to fulfill a campaign promise of weaning America off its addiction to oil. Is it scummy to politicize a massive disaster? No. The fact is that people respond to crisis. George Bush missed his opportunity following 9/11. In the name of national security he could have used the attack to make drastic changes to the way Americans get their energy (among other things). And lots of very smart Americans believe this is a much more effective way to counter terrorism. Ronald Reagan spent the Russians into the red to end the cold war. Now in the war on terrorism, we are funding the enemy. This is why Israel's energy policy is to be oil-free, ASAP, using electric cars, solar and wind power, etc. Anyways, of course Bush would have never tried to sever the ties between Americans and the oils powers of the middle east... his father's business connections being what they are. So let's all hope that the reason Obama is lying low so far is to calculate a measured and effective response to break the addiction to oil. Look the fact is that we are so entrenched in our oil addicted lifestyle that coming clean from oil will require us to make financial sacrifices. Massive investment in research and development to improve the technology is paramount. 

The time is now. We need to grow up and recognize that the cost of oil is far greater than just the daily price of a barrel. We subsidize the oil companies by letting them sell their product without making them pay for all the costs of using the product. Pollution, health issues related to smog, etc. Why do we do this? They make tens of billions of dollars every year from killing our planet. I love capitalism and the wealth that it creates for the masses, but this is capitalism gone awry. Let's take the needle out of our arm and get on with fixing the world.


  1. Easier said than done Tile... though I commend your pro-enviro mentality

  2. Agreed. If it were easier said than done, if would have happened already. That is not to say it isn't necessary.