I have been following the tragedy  of the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf with growing frustration. The  pursuit of oil seems destined to not go away as we needto keep using non-renewables for the time being, and  we squabble over the dilemmas associated with  the perils versus the benefits of renewables, as well as the ongoing search for really clean energy and energy storage.  But, whilst we do all this we realise that nothing in life comes free, and most of the time it seems to be wild nature that pays the price for our human endeavours.
As Greenpeace said on Radio 4 yesterday, no offshore windfarm would have the same catastrophic environmental disaster  as the oil spill has evoked….and they are right…of course. What really makes me mad followed another recent article that highlighted the fact that there was not enough  forward planning put into the recovery of disaster situations in advance by oil companies, or proper risk management in the case of a spill. One has to seriously question the ethics of  agreement to this kind of risky exploration,  and the responsibility given for the natural environment, and the care needed to make sure that all damage is risk managed well in advance or planning rejected.
Focus on extraction not redemption is my guess as to the reasons why. But then this is the same issue for the on shore wind energy companies, some of whom have no built in restoration budget for when they need to de-commission their turbines. What was their life of a turbine again…25 years?  And then what?  Probably, and this is the cynic in me speaking, the land will have been so desecrated by the infrastructure of roads for the management of the turbines that planning departments will have no compunction to avoid development of housing and other progressional initiatives, depending of course on what you deem ‘progress’ to be. A slow industrialisation of the wild parts of the island may well ensue.
All this of course relates to  wind farms established in areas of outstanding natural beauty or of wild land value. I have no issue with development on development. I do have a deep issue however with the violation of last remaining tracts of wildness that are destroyed by technologies that have yet to be total proven.  Hmmm…back to the old risk issue again and the what is good for us, versus what is good for nature battle, most often decided in the depths of Government departments in the cities, rather than on the ground with the view of the landscape affected in front of them. It has echoes of the Galipolli of the environmental peat bog  battles.
And what else was new ? Lake Tankanyika has been discovered to have an ongoing temperature rise from the time that researchers were able to get back, to something like 500BC, which is pretty extraordinary. But they say that the vast hikes in temperature over the last forty years or so is definitely caused by human activity….what outcomes for fish…and those that feed on them…not only the bird life – but humans as well. It does not bode well.
And then discussions by the IPCC yesterday mentioned that actually humans have not made a huge impact on climate change after all…I am so confused….and I am really interested and reasonably well informed. What about the poor blighter who is relying on the environmental specialists to give balanced information?  I must admit that my instinct takes me to join the Lake Tanganyika team and not the others. Hope I am wrong. But whomsoever caused the problem does not take away the fact that we have a problem. Lets put energy into solving that than finding who is at fault. That comes later when the energy (sic) is there to do it. And that takes us back  full circle. The tragedy of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Someone described the oil as looking like melted chocolate. What an analogy with something that makes you feel good and is sweet. There is nothing sweet about this.