Like most people following closely news of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, it didn’t escape us this morning that the Obama administration had leaked news that Arctic drilling plans will be suspended for this summer. Like less people, it also didn’t escape us that no official announcement had been made.
We’re cautious people, and for now, we can’t help but wonder why such news is leaked rather than properly announced, as any good decision to be proud of should be. So, as cautious people, we’re waiting for the official announcement. The devil is always in the detail.
Pessimism aside though, assuming the New York Times version of the story is true, then offshore drilling in the Arctic is suspended until the end of this year. That’s good news, but far from enough. Six months is not a solution, it’s a down-payment. It’s about the time it should take in politics to realise that Arctic drilling is always going to be a bad idea.
A bad idea because the Arctic Ocean is too fragile, too cold, too remote a region for any kind of oil spill response rescue or recovery to be possible.
A bad idea because instead of encouraging oil addiction, we should be getting away from it and encourage renewable energy, smarter public transport – the kind of energy that creates jobs, looks to the future and doesn’t leave entire ecosystems for dead.
We can’t let this be a simple get-away media management statement from Obama, so he can appear to be doing something about the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. We need long term thinking – the kind that prevents future oil disasters, because we won’t be drilling for oil, because we have weaned ourselves off of our addiction.
Let’s watch this space for the real announcement, and get ready to take that down payment on a strong campaign for a future without more Deepwater disasters, for a future without oil.
UPDATE: Well, it looks it won't be this year at least - Barack Obama has made it official. Read more here: oil industry out of US energy policy.