Life's a gas?
It's now a year and a half since BP's Macondo oil well exploded into the news, wrecking livelihoods and delicate ecosystems across America's Gulf of Mexico. BP has already had to pay out nearly $8 billion in compensation, and has earmarked $42.5 billion in total.
The court cases and buck-passing continue in the States, but yesterday our very own Department for Energy and Climate Change slipped out an official review into whether the same kind of incident could happen in UK waters.
It's written in establishment euphemisms, but there are some pretty stark findings. The UK's ability to respond adequately to a similar incident is in serious doubt. The panel found:
- question marks over the ability to implement disaster control plans;
- lessons haven't been learned from similar technology failures here; and
- if something does go wrong it's not clear who would pay for it and whether they could afford it.
It could happen again here, seems to be the stark conclusion.
On top of this catastrophe-in-waiting, rocketing oil and gas prices have also left people struggling to pay their bills. Bills rose by an average of £175 this summer - on top of a £450 increase over the previous 6 years - and the overwhelming reason was the rising price of gas, which the 'Big Six' energy companies have kept us hooked on.
So why is the Government so determined to maintain our dependence on oil and gas, squeezing every last drop from the North Sea fields, and importing vast quantities more from Norway, Qatar and beyond? The Danish Government, in stark contrast has a bold plan to completely end the country's fossil fuel use, without the need for new nuclear or carbon capture and storage.
Maybe it's the pernicious influence of the oil and power companies?
Yet another reason to join our Final Demand campaign, exposing how the energy companies have made a packet from keeping us hooked on gas power, and their grip on the government's thinking.
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