Monday, August 30, 2010

TED Talks

I'm sure you all check out TED anyway, but I wanted to highlight the talk by Lisa Margonelli on the political chemistry of oil. I'll let the video speak for itself, but I found her comments on how we react to disasters like the BP Gulf of Mexico and Exxon Valdez oil spills insightful.

As human, we are great with dealing with the symptoms of problems and not their roots. With oil spills we are quick to impose moratoriums on drilling, but we don't actually deal with the root of the issue which is the need to reduce our oil use. Margonelli has a chart in the video that shows how moratoriums in North America have basically outsourced oil spills to other countries.

Another insight that Margonelli has is that oil spills really bring home the fact that we are big part of the oil problem, but most of us feel hopeless to affect change. She suggested that instead of knee-jerk moratoriums, governments change laws and really work on providing people alternative transportation options and work on reducing oil use. One of the example that she used for the US was to introduce a carbon tax much like we have in BC, but call it something like "Tax for a Stronger America" with a warning about the effects of oil usages on your gas receipt. Another interest idea was to use distance based insurance to incentivize shorter commuting. Anyway, it's a great video and you should check it out.

1 comment:

Robert in Calgary said...

Hello Nathan, a few points....

1. It was an odd start with you assuming everyone checks out TED.

2. SFOT is billed as "non-partisan". What is the dividing line on this site between partisan and nonpartisan material?

3. As for Lisa's presentation, a couple of folks in the comment section reflect what I felt at the end.

"This is nothing but her opinion, shaped to a politically correct agenda, and not science."

"This is the most useless talk I have seen on TED. Rather the only useless one so far!!"

Are oil spills in Nigeria honestly our fault? Folks on the left need to make up their minds, do we interfere in other countries or not?

Do we order Nigeria to operate their industry better and spend more of the oil money improving the lives of the citizens? Sounds like we should just take over the government.

If we pull investment out of Chad, does Chad suddenly become more stable? ....clearly they'll all be poorer.

And no mention of moving to nuclear power, that's an interesting omission from her chat, yes?