The downside of drilling
By Scott Barstow
I was amazed and saddened that the March 17 Metro article on oil and natural gas drilling off the Virginia coast, “Tide for drilling off Va. turns favorable,” included not a single reference to climate change.
Each day that we live, plan and build using fossil fuels like it’s the 1970s or ’80s, we bring ourselves, our descendants and all other life on Earth that much closer to a dramatically less livable world. Given what we know today about the effects of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere’s absorption of radiant energy, it is insanity — not “common sense” — to invest in drilling to allow more burning of fossil fuels.
It is depressing that so many of Virginia’s elected officials seem to think we can somehow just repeal the laws of chemistry and physics when necessary later on, or that leadership doesn’t require preparing for the well being of future generations if it happens to inconvenience anyone living and of voting age at the next election. I imagine that many of them feel they are being hard-headed realists by supporting drilling, but being hard-headed and being smart are usually two different things. You can pretend to be as “realistic” as you want to be, but Mother Nature still bats last.
I also imagine that some of Virginia’s “leaders” would also say that the public just doesn’t support aggressive action on climate change. On this they may be right, given that recent polling shows that a surprisingly high, and somewhat growing, number of Americans doubt the need for action to address this problem.
Why might this be? Could it have anything to do media coverage that omits this important issue? It’s not surprising, really, that elected officials pander to voters, particularly on tough issues such as global climate change. But if The Post is going to help them pretend that the sky (and oil) is green, we’re in big trouble.
| March 21, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Virginia, energy, environment, transportation
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