Political Promise

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 2010

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm

By Matthew Beer

The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico appears to have dealt another blow to a global economic market just recovering from crisis. The effects of the spill do not need to be exaggerated, it is the possibly the most significant man made environmental crisis in history.

BP have said this week that the oil spill has cost them just over £1billion to clean up this far, with their stocks also falling by 9%. The Oil Spill will dent many parts of the US economy first of all in the change in energy prices. Also the tourism industry, which is worth billions in places such as Florida, will lose out. At a time where economic recovery is being hinted at, the effects of the oil spill will hit consumer confidence, causing economic growth to slow down.

The USA will not only be affected, as the global market will feel many effects of the spill. It is impossible to tell how deep the costs will be until later on, as the actual cost of the spill will be dependent on much more than the volume of oil spread into the sea. A major factor in the effects of the oil spill is the effective response of the Obama government, and the ability of BP and the government to manage and control the disaster.

Obama has hailed the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as the ‘9/11 for the environment’ consequently altering the American psyche with concern to the environment. But it is here that there is a possibility of a silver lining emerging from this oil cloud. The disaster has possibly opened the way for much needed break away from US dependence on oil. Obama has pledged to draught up a new clean energy Bill and now has the people behind him to do it. Previously environmental concerns were secondary to filling up the car in the morning, however now the American people are working under the fear of the effects of the oil spill. Preventing catastrophes like this from occurring again is top priority, and thus gain impetus from the people.

If bold new energy legislation is pushed through Congress, the benefits of this crisis may well outweigh the costs, large as they may be. Those with vested incentives in the reliance on oil will be silenced by the cry from the masses. It is remarkable to see from all this that it takes such a significant environmental disaster to turn people away from their stubborn reliance on oil. It indeed appears to point out that as nations, we are prone to work on a crisis-first basis whereby any significant change in policy or significant push for a beneficial turnabout in the state requires a crisis to come into being. Throughout history we have adapted and advanced as crises have occurred. Wars, terrorist attacks and environmental disasters have all been needed to bring about changes in major state policy and base mentality.

All that is to be taken from this is that one should hope that the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the crisis that has sparked environmental policy change across the globe into action, and that nothing more significant is required to force the world to depart from its dependency on fossil fuels.

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