Amid the conservatives blaming the oil spill on Obama and liberals blaming it on America’s auto addiction, journalist Robert Samuelson gets it right, noting that one of the most worrisome consequences of the Gulf oil spill is a “more muddled energy debate.” All the proposals to end oil consumption, such as one to convert the U.S. to 95 percent renewables by 2050, are mere “pipe dreams,” says Samuelson in a possibly unintentional pun.
Of course, some people think we should build huge wind farms. But winds are so unreliable that Britain is paying wind farms to stop generating electricity when the wind is blowing because the electrical grid can’t handle it. (Winds in many places blow harder at night when demand for electricity is lowest.)
Meanwhile, someone from the Associated Press actually wrote a non-hysterical article about the oil spill. “The Mississippi River pours as much water into the Gulf of Mexico in 38 seconds as the BP oil leak has done in two months,” says the reporter. “The amount of oil spilled so far could only fill the cavernous New Orleans Superdome about one-seventh of the way up.”
Moreover, notes the Straight Dope, oil is biodegradable and nature will take care of most of the spilled oil. I don’t want to minimize the environmental problems with the spill, which are real, but we shouldn’t exaggerate them either. Nor should be base energy policy on a single event.