Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Devastation of Oil Spills, Wind Energy, and Household Pets

As I watch the oil slick wandering northward in the Gulf of Mexico, I am somewhat amazed at the hysteria in the news.  There has always been oil in the ocean.  Even Christopher Columbus reported blobs of oil on the beaches of Cuba.  Natural seepage of crude oil pollutes the oceans much more than offshore drilling.  But I guess I shouldn't expect that to be a consideration when "birds are dying for our greed".

Offshore oil and gas facilities are responsible for just a few percent of the total oil in the ocean.  Around North America, most oil is from natural seeps.

I have always said that if the La Brea Tar Pits were not a natural formation, the area would be the largest EPA Superfund cleanup site.  Since it is just Nature In Action, somehow it is OK that toxic petroleum solvents bubble up in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard and in the lobbies of nearby buildings.

But anyway, back to the birds.  In 1969, one of the worst off-shore oil spills occurred off of Santa Barbara.  It is widely credited with creating Earth Day and the entire environmental movement.

During that disaster, about 10,000 birds died, according to Wikipedia.

But wind energy kills living flying things too.  The National Research Council estimates that 30,000 to 110,000 bats, and 6,000 to 45,000 birds (depending on which study you use) will be killed annually by windmills in 2020. Here is a griffin vulture getting whacked by one in Crete. 

Even though the video says "fatal," the bird was given medical care for a broken wing, and may be released. More info here.

Of course if you really want to save birds, you should kill off all domestic cats.  According to the same report, cats are responsible for "hundreds of millions" of bird deaths annually.  Everything else is just noise level.

I saw an article recently that said each dog and cat you keep in your home produces more CO2 than an SUV when you consider food production, breathing, health care, toy manufacture, and all the other things you do to take care of your pet.

No oil spill, not even this latest one, has ever come close to the environmental devastation caused by household pets.

Perhaps we should start a movement to ban cats and dogs.


Addendum:  The Big Dustup Index Fund (BDUIF) is heavily invested in oil futures ETFs.  The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, along with the shut down of nearby platforms, and 0bama's immediate ban on new drilling in the gulf, raised oil prices significantly last week, which, along with declines in the stock market, brought the BDUIF up to near record levels.  It will be interesting to see how next week plays out.  I really think that oil will continue to go up with respect to the general economy as 0bama continues to create economic dislocations, ignores or exacerbates world problems, and thus pushes the resulting crises out into the future -- where they will become much larger.

The BDUIF is a way to invest in long-term crisis oil and gold while hedging against short-term losses due to general economic declines.  See my previous BDUIF posts for more details.

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