America is partially to blame for the oil spill

The oil spill in the US is devastating.  It will leave a lasting effect on the communities that rely on the coastal and Gulf economy, and will have a long-term impact on the wildlife of the area.

But it was bound to happen.

Earth’s oil reserves have been tapped for many years.  And the more they are tapped, the harder it becomes to reach the remaining reserves.  This is the reason BP was drilling 50 miles from land, almost a mile under the surface of the sea, at a pressure 152 times greater than that experienced at the surface.

And as the remaining oil reserves become more remote, the risk associated with tapping them necessarily increases.  People risk their lives and technology and engineering are pushed.

Our appetite for oil is, thus far, unceasing.  Yes, it’s slowing down.  (Or at least it is marginally in developed nations.)  But I expect that this slowing is outstripped by the overall increase in risk associated with meeting that demand.  And under this assumption, the residual risk associated with drilling for oil is increasing.

Now the US is a significant exponent of oil use.  It has lagged behind the rest of the developed world in stemming its use and attempting to reverse the damage that its use has caused to our planet.  That is not to say that they deserve the disaster—far from it.  But as a nation, they are not blameless.  (Nor am I suggesting that BP or the other companies involved are blameless in this matter, for the record.)

So please, America, stop with the arrogance.  Stop pointing the finger.  And start working with the companies that are admitting their blame for the disaster to stem the leak and clean up in its aftermath.


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