End of oil on the Deepwater Horizon

The pressure to “drill, baby, drill,” indicates just how close the end of oil really is.

The pressure to “drill, baby, drill,” indicates just how close the end of oil really is.

Surprise, surprise. BP and the Obama administration really don’t want us to see images of the Gulf oil spill that might make us even angrier about the way things are being handled. After all, it might reveal a number of important things:

First, the steady pulse of oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig has, for all practical purposes, killed the Gulf of Mexico. It’s dying, and will stay dead for generations.

Second, there is no safe method of deep-water drilling. None. Whether it’s being touted by the Bush administration, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or President Barack Obama, drilling in the deep waters offshore will lead to disasters like this because we don’t have the technology to clean up accidents—and accidents will happen.

Third, even though BP obviously cut corners and engaged in unsafe practices at the Deepwater Horizon, the fact that no oil producers have been conducting research on cleanup technology indicates that they just don’t care about the environmental dangers—at least not as anything more than public-relations disasters. Oil companies cannot be trusted to protect the planet. It’s not part of their mission.

Finally, the anxiety and pressure coming from all sides to “drill, baby, drill” indicates just how close the end of oil really is for us. Our entire contemporary civilization, from the food I ate for breakfast to the computer I write this onto the network I’ll use to post it—relies on the easy availability of cheap oil.

The willingness to drill in 5,000 feet of ocean tells us that there is no more easily available, cheap oil. The solution isn’t to drill; it’s to retool our civilization to run on less energy overall, and to rely on renewable sources.

The paradigm is shifting. All those marine mammals, birds and fish who are dying in the Gulf? If you read some of the pessimists on the consequences of peak oil—say, James Kunstler, over at Clusterfuck Nation—they’ll soon be joined by humans.

The price of oil is too high, and the days of easy access are over. It doesn’t matter who is running the government; the only responsible decision is to pull the plug on drilling, suck it up and learn new ways to live. If President Obama hasn’t got what it takes to do that, sooner or later the rest of us are going to suffer as the Gulf of Mexico is suffering now.

Compiled from Kel’s Hot Flash.