I want my country back. I want back the country of Teddy Roosevelt, who cared about our natural environment. I want back the country of Harry Truman, who wasn’t afraid to give em hell. I don’t want an administration that authorizes offshore drilling to make political deals with the most despicable forces in American society. I know that Big Oil is making billions in untaxed profits that it uses to buy my government so that it can despoil America the beautiful, and I want my country back.
Do you doubt the reality of global climate change, caused by human beings pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? You are the victim of propaganda and foot-dragging by big oil corporations. Virtually all the peer-reviewed academic articles published on global warming acknowledge carbon-fuelled climate change,, but a majority of press reports quite a scientist on “one side” and another on the “other side.” The “other side” is bought and paid for and lacks a scientific leg to stand on– the equivalent of the “scientists” who denied that smoking causes lung cancer.
Just as Big Oil has attempted to muddy the waters (so to speak) on the dire environmental threat of climate change, so BP actively lobbied the US government against putting in the kind of engineering safeguards that could have forestalled the worst of the present disaster in the Gulf. A whistle-blower now says that more BP drilling platforms are at risk of producing such disasters because the company hasn’t carefully kept the technical information on these platforms that is needed. BP officials are accused of initially lying about the likely impact of the spill and failing to act swiftly to contain the disaster That Drudge and CNN (!) managed to switch the conversation to how fast the White House could respond to BP’s screw-up tells you everything you have to know about corporate propaganda in this country.
The attempts at Gulf oil spill cover-ups track with attempts at climate change cover-up by big Oil. These corporations are not charities, they are not acting in our interest. They are about making money in the short term, and often are willing to take short cuts that are ruinous in the medium to long term. We need to take back our government from them.
As much as 25,000 barrels a day of petroleum is now pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, damaging shrimp and other wildlife beds, ruining beaches, destroying fishing, tourism, livelihoods at a time of 10 percent unemployment over-all. There is a real danger that the slick will get into the Gulf Stream and attack America’s Atlantic beaches, as well.
Why? Because the US transportation system is run wrong. 70 percent of petroleum fuels automobiles. First of all, we should be sending most goods around the country on trains, not trucks. There are all kinds of hidden government subsidies for trucking, including the millions spent every year on rebuilding inter-state highways, which are constantly torn up by those huge trucks. But the trucking industry pays only a fraction of that cost. Train transport of goods is many times more efficient, but because government subsidies are harder to hide in that industry, you always have a lot of yahoos complaining about socialism (and usually they get money from concrete and oil interests). And, we should be subsidizing city subway systems and trying to put residential skyscrapers in the downtowns of cities, in hopes people will move back from the suburbs and live near where they work. Washington DC, which is the world’s worst traffic mess, needs what Vancouver has. (Siting skyscraper condos downtown actually reduced real estate costs for residents).
We need to end the hidden government subsidies for fossil fuels and make sure their true cost, including climate change, is built into them.
Moreover, we should be generating electricity from alternative sources or natural gas (of which we have a lot) and then moving to electric and hybrid automobiles. (Natural gas burns cleaner than petroleum or coal and is probably a necessary bridge fuel to the alternatives). Going to electric vehicles powered by natural gas, wind and solar plants would be cheaper than rebuilding all the gas stations in the country. Coal should be banned altogether and its use made a hanging crime.
And, we should be matching every penny of the cost of the Gulf clean-up with a huge government Manhattan project on solar energy.
The environmental and economic costs of the oil spill are enormous, but they are tiny compared to the costs of actually burning the oil and spilling more masses of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you’re not alarmed about your future, it is because you have bought the cover-up of climate change, just as Obama bought a cover-up when he believed what he was told about the unlikelihood of oil spills from ocean platforms.