Saturday, August 07, 2010

Yet more on the oil spill

This is the beach at Pass Christian, Mississippi after cleaning. Normally, it would be covered with sun-worshippers. It isn't Jaws keeping them out of the water, but Obama-hype.

The volume of the Gulf of Mexico is 2,424,000 cubic kilometers, or 6.43 * 10^17 US gallons. The volume of oil spilt is estimated at 20m gallons to 50m US gallons; let's take the maximum, 5 * 10^7 gallons. That's one part of oil to 1.29 * 10^10 parts of water.

As Tony Hayward said, "A drop in the ocean". No true word ever goes unpunished.

The volume of the Thames at mid tide between Teddington and Gravesend is about 2.4 * 10^7 cubic metres (633 * 10^7 US gallons, or 127 times the total volume of the BP oil leaked). To replicate the 'environmental disaster' the Septics are claiming, one would therefore have to empty 1.87 litres of engine oil into the river.

There was some oil on the beaches, however, if the U.S. TV news crews had returned just three days after their original visit, they would have seen that the black morass had already been removed by some of the 20,000 clean-up workers hired by BP.

The workers are still there - only now they are using toothbrushes to sift out even the tiniest particles of oil.

We are now seeing a backlash against the hype that suggested that this was the worst environmental disaster ever. It began when Time magazine's environmental writer voiced the near-heretical proposition: that the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 had been massively hyped. This article was largely based on the opinions of Professor Ivan van Heerden, a brilliant but controversial marine scientist fired by Louisiana State University after publishing a book about Hurricane Katrina that said cataclysmic flooding was inevitable because the protection given to the coast was wholly inadequate. (No true word ever goes unpunished)

Emboldened by the academic’s willingness to go against the accepted wisdom, other leading scientists have concurred, with similar views being expressed in the influential New York Times and Washington Post (not known for their extreme right-wing views).

The spill from the Exxon Valdez (owned by an American company) in Alaska though smaller was a much more severe ecological disaster. The area’s ecology was devastated, and an estimated 250,000 birds and 2,800 otters died, plus hundreds of seals and at least 22 killer whales. The Gulf spill has so far accounted for some 1300 birds, 17 sea turtles and 3 dolphins. Reports suggest that fish stocks in the Gulf have actually increased because the fisherman have been forced to hold off.

It is the last refuge of a politician in trouble to blame foreigners. BP (no longer for more than a decade "British" Petroleum) merged with Amoco and it is the old Amoco operation in the Gulf that was responsible for the spill. The company is almost equally owned by British and American pension funds. The fall in the share price induced by Obama's xenophobic reaction has hit ordinary American and British pensioners equally hard. I don't have a vote in American elections, but many of my readers do.


Richard said...

This article in the LA Times gives an interesting slant on the story:,0,4597902.story

Anonymous said...

Obama's xenophobic reaction

Really Terry. This is just a rehash of "Lord" Tebbit's talking points. You would think it fairly easy to give many examples of President Obama's use of "British", but then the Mail is bigger on rhetoric than facts.

Terry Hamblin said...

He used 'British' five times in five different speeches when he did not need to. He was obviously using the term so as to avoid the same sort of (unjust) criticism that GWB came under for Katrina. In fact his over-reaction was probably worse that Bush's under-reaction.

Why do you put Norman Tebbit's "Lord" in inverted commas? He was an elected MP for many years and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1992 when he was made a life peer.

You may not like his views but he served his country loyally for many years and suffered at the hands of the IRA when he was blown up in Brighton. He has cared for his paralysed wife ever since. He deserves some respect.

Suppose I started taliking about "President" Obama.