Global environmental challenges
from The Great Debate UK:
-Kees Willemse is professor of offshore engineering at Delft University. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Last month’s explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig continues to result in the leakage of an estimated 200,000 gallons (910,000 litres) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day.
According to U.S. President Barack Obama, “we are dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster”.
While the leak is extremely serious, and Obama’s words may ultimately ring true, the leak is (as yet) not one of the top 50 biggest oil spillages from either oil rigs or tankers in historical perspective:
With the spotlight shining on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the executives sizzling in the hot seat on Capitol Hill, environmental advocates are looking north.
They’re worried that Shell Oil will start drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska before the U.S. government reports on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill rig disaster. And the environmental groups are not comforted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s reassurances that no new drilling will take place until the government report is completed by May 28.
Despite massive attention to environmental impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the death of 11 rig workers has not had the same impact as the tragic deaths of 29 coal miners in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
Appearing for a second day, the presidents of BP America and Transocean are scheduled to recount for a Senate subcommittee what caused the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers. Watch live video here starting at 10 a.m.
–Dr. Gunter Pauli, PhD, MBA, is an entrepreneur and founder of the ZERI Foundation (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives). He is the author of 17 books and 36 children’s fables. His latest book The Blue Economy contains one innovation outlined in this article. —
One wonders if the oil industry will ever learn.
When in the summer of 2006 holes in pipelines forced British Petroleum to shut down a major part of its network in Alaska, oil prices shot up to record levels.
– Dr. Karl Kelsey, MD, MOH, is Professor of Community Health and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University. He is Director of the Center for Environmental Health and Technology, home to the Brown University Superfund Basic Research Program. Any views expressed here are his own.–
What are we to make of the 250-page report from the President’s Cancer Panel on environmental cancer risk?
Jean-Michel Cousteau, environmentalist, documentary producer and the son of ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, urges a moratorium on offshore oil drilling as a result of the catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
In this video blog on the Ocean Futures Society website, he points to the spill and ongoing leak as fuel for the argument to embrace renewable energy and end dependence on fossil fuels as our primary energy source.
In this video blog posted by Regan Nelson, a senior oceans advocate with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), dolphins are shown swimming in the murky waters containing chemically-dispersed oil off the Gulf of Mexico.
BP engineers were using undersea robots on Friday to try to stem the continued leak of 5000 barrels of oil a day from the ruptured oil well about a mile underwater.
– Rona Fried, Ph.D., is CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, a news and networking site for green businesses: including a green jobs service and a green investing newsletter. Any views expressed here are her own. —
Over the past 30 years, four U.S. presidents chose to continue down the fossil fuel path of least resistance instead of investing heavily in energy efficiency and renewable energy – the only long-term solutions that can avoid catastrophic oil spills like the one we are witnessing today.