On the same day last week, two groups of entrepreneurs, manufacturers and environmentalists who are alarmed at the worst oil spill in US history sent petitions to President Barack Obama stating that his administration should get on with the proposed climate change bill as a first step in helping America become a low-carbon economic power.
“The United States has an opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions and become the world’s leader in a burgeoning clean energy economy,” said a letter to the White House from 60 major corporations, including DuPont, Ford Motor Company and PepsiCo. “We face a critical moment that will determine whether we will be able to unleash homegrown American innovation or remain stuck in the economic status quo.”
A second petition also noted the need for new renewable energies.
“Your administration and Congress should commit the nation to a path that ends our dependence on oil,” said the petition, which was signed by 23 organisations, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Sierra Club. “You should immediately put policies in place to dramatically cut our oil use. Most urgently, you should speed the transition to a clean energy economy by enacting comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that creates jobs, makes America energy independent, and reduces global warming pollution.”
As the two petitions indicate, the appalling environmental catastrophe that continues to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico can provide the US the opportunity to finally substitute its costly and unhealthy addiction to oil with an innovative energy revolution that taps into the power of wind energy and other renewables.
Such a transformation is badly needed for the world’s largest economy and the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses caused by burning fossil fuels.
This realization is highlighted by the unwelcome news that it may now take until August to fully curtail the massive pollution caused by BP’s offshore oil drilling.
In addition to severely restricting important and lucrative Gulf fisheries, destroying marshes and beaches used by birds and other animals, the plumes of toxic oil are sure to sharply curtail a vibrant tourism industry. Simply put, the shorelines in at least four American states may never be the same again.
A disaster of this scale is a wake-up call to US lawmakers slow to change the way the nation produces and uses energy. Even those stubbornly refusing to budge from the destructive business-as-usual scenarios must now admit that oil has met its end game.
In comparison to the worsening nightmare now being played out on US coastal shores, emissions-free wind power continues to show it is at the forefront of a new green revolution for a growing, and electricity-hungry, world.