4th October 2016
I recently became aware that we need to keep around two thirds of existing fossil fuels in the ground (based on reserves in operation), in order to stand any chance of meeting the 1.5C climate change target agreed in Paris. We know that burning fossil fuels is a major threat to our climate, and causes a whole raft of related issues like air pollution, which leads to increased mortality rates.
Today I watched the new Deepwater Horizon movie, which if anything reinforced the need to move away from fossil fuels as fast as practically possible. Mark Wahlberg plays the lead role in the film, which is about the worst oil spill in US history that took place in April 2010.
I won’t go in the plot, as I don’t want to give away spoilers for anyone intending to watch the movie (although if you followed the disaster in 2010, you probably know what to expect). Click here to get a taste from the film trailer.
For me, the film cleverly captures human nature in all it’s positive and negative capacities. We have the heroes like Mark Wahlberg, who are just doing a job and end up being forced to go above and beyond in this situation. We also see the greedy BP hierarchy (portrayed by John Malkovich) who only care about making money and have no regard for the safety of the people onboard the rig, or the wildlife which lives in the Gulf’s waters.
It’s all too easy to stereotype companies like BP as immoral, greedy and selfish. But you watch a film like this and you can see exactly why they deserve those labels. Add in the fact that they are holding up any kind of meaningful action on climate change and you can see why they are detested so widely. A better articulated view on fossil fuel companies can be seen here, in the form of Leonardo Di Caprio’s Oscar acceptance speech.
I was mildly surprised that Halliburton and Transocean escaped so lightly in this movie, but ultimately there were many failings and a lot of them fell squarely on BP’s shoulders. I hope this can be used as a lesson and an additional incentive to move away from fossil fuels to cleaner, greener and safer renewable technologies.
BP oil spill: judge grants final approval for $20bn settlement – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/04/bp-oil-spill-judge-grants-final-approval-20-billion-dollar-settlement
Manslaughter charges dropped against two BP employees in Deepwater spill – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/manslaughter-charges-dropped-bp-employees-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill
My debut children’s picture book, Hedgey-A and the Honey Bees, is about the need to protect bees from pesticide pollution. It can be purchased online here.