Tuesday, June 8, 2010


People have been making lots of noise about the recent oil spills, especially the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

The one near Singapore has been largely forgotten, after all, since when has the general Malaysian public placed concern over the environment?

Environmentalists and the American public mainly feel anger at BP, whose oil derrick exploded and started the leak in the first place. But there is also a growing chorus of protest against the way US President Barack Obama has handled the crisis, which I feel is a bit unfair, seeing as the President has declared that all clean-up costs are to be borne by BP.

But, strangely, few people have blamed our reluctance to wean ourselves off oil as a cause.

Think about it. Who continues to support and believe climate change denying politicians? Who continues to drive SUVs and waste electricity? The fact remains that the public is as much to blame as BP is, but of course, few would dare say this out loud.

Branching out from this is the fact that the disaster highlights a new need for a flat out carbon tax. And unlike what certain populist politicians claim, it will not hurt the poor, after all for every gallon of gas the poorest 20% of households use, the richest 20% use 3-4 gallons. And like Al Gore proposed, the tax could be offset by reducing other taxes (like sales taxes, and GST to the poor)

The bottom line is, oil needs more than ever to be phased out quickly, and not just because of global warming. There isn't much enjoyment in eating oil-poisoned tuna either.


  1. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................................

  2. Somehow or other I just don't seem to buy this. Yes of course by consuming tens of millions of barrels per day, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in profits for oil firms we are in a way to be blamed. But what exactly brought us to this place anyway?Big oil both private and state based and their backers. In the US there are more politicians than ever both Democrats and Republicans who derive their political and financial fortunes from Big Oil. The former Bush administration stands as a testimony to Big oil influence. Check out books like Secret US oil diplomacy with the Taliban and House of Saud House of Bush and you will come to know that Cheney, Bush and so many other politicians dating back to LBJ have made millions from oil. As a result the oil companies wield a tremendous amount of leverage across the political spectrum of nearly every nation, and the worse thing is that not everyone knows or wants to talk about it. Then comes foreign policy where each nation tries cutting deals on oil for their own interests. The best examples being the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia. With the Al Sauds and their clients holding US politicians by the neck and keeping some 1 trillion in american banks they will do anything to make sure that oil remains profitable for them. People in Ukraine will not have much of a choice on who to back (either Yanukovych or Tymoshenko)in their presidential elections if it was based on the defense of the environment. Yanukovych was backed by Rinat Akhmetov who made billions from the Russian oil and gas trade and Tymoshenko herself made billions from Russian gas. Russia itself holds many former USSR countries by their neck by controlling their energy supplies and will not hesitate to destabilize any country in that area which moves too quickly into renewable energy as it could hurt the Kremlin's influence. and there are so many other intricate situations like this in a highly complex world. So coming up with such an argument I think does not reflect the whole truth of the matter. People sometimes don't have a choice and have to choose a lesser of two evils in their political judgement.