Friday, 30 July 2010

Oil, Oil Everywhere, er, I Don't Think

From the sublime - Paul Lewis playing Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto at the Proms - to the ridiculous - that environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico that never was.

'twould appear that BP got it right after all. One hundred days after Deepwater Horizon blew up, sank and ruptured the pipeline a mile under the ocean, the daily disaster being played out on national television - reporters specially flown over for in-situ to camera pieces - has turned out to be the product of environmentalist hype and politicking by President Obama.

Ever since BP managed the impossible feat of capping the leak a couple of weeks ago, news interest in eco Armageddon disappeared almost as fast as the oil slicks from the surface of the Pacific. The latter partly due to remedial action, and opartly due to natural causes according to a boffin at the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "People think of 'oil spill' and think 'disaster'. But it is not always the case. It is not all about the size of the leak. It is the type of oil and where it happens that matter. People don't realise that one tonne in a mangrove is more damaging than 100 tonnes on a beach, which is more damaging than 10,000 tonnes in open ocean.

"The Gulf of Mexico is a bit like the River Tyne. There is a lot of industry and boat traffic along it, as well as the oil industry, which has minor leaks all the time. When Tony Hayward (BP CEO who has announced his resignation) said it was a drop in the ocean, it might have been the wrong thing to say at the time, but it was the truth."

He said the spill, in the region of 200 million tonnes, was "equivalent to less than a drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. For all but a tiny bit of the Gulf, it will be back to normal within a year."

Gospel truth or more spin doctoring? Make up your own mind. But the speed with which the media went into apocalypso mode at the time of the leak reminded me of Saddam Hussein's oil fires in Kuwait. I well remember Jeremiahs forecasting eco doom for 'decades to come'. Red Adair put out the fires within six months.

Unhappy eco bunnies abounded. They had to wait for global warming to heat up and frighten gullible governments into wasting billions on quixotic windmills and carbon trading scams.

This nonsense will continue until either the money runs out or the lights go out. Obssessives who try to fill that hole within with belief in imminent man-made annihilation should stop listening to themselves once in a while and listen instead to Beethoven.