With each passing day, the images of devastation from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrate the incredible price we are paying for our addiction to fossil fuels. The reality that the wealthiest nation on earth was for months powerless to stop the gusher must be seen as evidence that world needs a commitment to ending the global dependency on fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, the Gulf of Mexico disaster is only the latest major ecosystem to fall victim to our oil addiction. In the last century, oil contamination destroyed huge tracts of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest and Alaska’s Prince William Sound, two of the most beautiful and ecologically sensitive places in the world. Oil’s extraction, refining and use has poisoned countless communities, from Nigeria to China to the Americas, negatively affecting the health of families in every corner of the world.
One positive impact that can already be seen around the world is that the public is angry and hungry for change. The Gulf spill, at least four times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster, has fundamentally changed how the public views the oil industry and the governments that are supposed to prevent events like these from happening.
The question is: Are we going to take that anger and summon the courage to break our addiction to fossil fuels? Can we spark a global movement that holds governments accountable to develop new energy sources and lead us into a future with an economy powered by clean renewable energy?
Greenpeace is keeping the politicians and the oil companies honest. Today we launched a three-month ship expedition to support independent research into the impacts of the Gulf oil disaster on marine life, as well as researching the unique environments and marine life that are at risk. The ship is leaving from St. Petersburg, Florida today and will visit the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas before heading to the Macondo well-head later this month. It will examine everything from the plankton on the surface to the subsurface plumes, to the deep-sea corals on the floor of the Gulf.
Rule Number 1 when you are in a hole – stop digging. The US is now considering the extension of a deepwater offshore drilling moratorium, which would halt the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling. Other countries should quickly follow suit with similar bans, as the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster has proven many times over that the oil industry does not have a plan for addressing spills when they occur. Their sole objective is to extract oil quickly and cheaply and turn as big a profit as possible. It’s not a question of if another spill occurs, but when.
Rule Number 2: Do not reward the people who put you in that hole. Last year, member nations of the G20 agreed to phase out subsidies for dirty energy, but their resolve seems to be weakening. We need firm commitments and timetables to phase out polluter giveaways, which stifle the cost competitiveness of renewable energy sources.
Rule Number 3: Do not believe people who tell you that you are not in a hole. While the oil and other fossil fuel companies try to convince us that fossil fuels are necessary and a future free from them is far over the horizon, the Energy [R]evolution Scenario developed by the German Space Agency and the European Renewable Energy Council in collaboration with Greenpeace provides a realistic blueprint for how to make a clean energy future possible.
The Energy [R]evolution
The report: “Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook,” provides a detailed practical plan for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency. This phase-out of fossil fuels offers substantial benefits such as energy security, independence from volatile world market fuel prices, and the creation of millions of new green jobs.
The Energy [R]evolution scenario shows how to create about 12 million jobs, 8.5 million in the renewables sector alone, by 2030. Under business as usual global renewable power jobs would be only 2.4 million of the global power sector’s 8.7 million jobs. By implementing the Energy [R]evolution 3.2 million or over 33 percent more jobs globally will be created in the power sector.
We must reclaim the responsibility for where our energy comes from and how much energy we use, while demanding from our elected officials at every level of government that they do their job and establish a plan to phase out fossil fuels. People are waking up to the reality that transferring public money to private polluters is both bad economic policy and bad for the local economy.
With news green jobs, new clean technology, and a new hopeful spirit, the world is changing fast. The 21st century is going to be the one in which we get it right and get off oil and other dangerous fossil fuels. As we see in Louisiana, we have no other choice.
TAKE ACTION: Enough is enough. Sign the Greenpeace petition to Congress telling them that now is the time for a permanent ban on ALL new drilling.
Gulf Recovery Blogathon Calendar (All times Pacific)
Wednesday August 11
3pm Daniel Kessler (Greenpeace)
5pm Patriot Daily
6pm Project Gulf Impact
Thursday August 12
4pm Bill Mckibben
6pm Project Gulf Impact
Friday August 13
1pm La Feminista
2pm Pam La Pier
4pm Meteor Blades
5pm Laurence Lewis
6pm Project Gulf Impact