Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Woodstock Redux

The Silly Season, la morte saison, the dog days of Summer - this is the time of year when everyone is on holiday and what little news there is is pretty silly. Thus on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock (news item #1 last week) I read that a new wave of protest is rearing its head. This one is not against health care reform, but against the prevention of climate change. The American Petroleum Institute (the last bastion supporting America's gas-guzzling habits and Sarah Palin's 'drill baby drill' policy) is organizing 'town hall' style protests across the US. Oil companies, their employees, and some of the US oil producing states are banding together to protest legislation that is designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. I can envisage the protests now - obese people on ATVs and disabled-scooters wielding signs saying 'I heart my SUV'. Coal-burning utilities covering their buildings in banners proclaiming 'Soot is good for America'. Oil company CFOs waving placards that say 'Alaska doesn't need more wildlife'. I have a hard time understanding how people can be FOR air pollution. We may not have reached peak oil output yet (it depends who you listen to) but it will happen eventually. Oil is a limited resource. Exploration, production, refining and burning oil is bad for the environment. Whether this causes global climate change or not, we need to slow down our usage and find viable alternatives. How can you protest against that? It is almost as bad as protesting against people having health care.

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