Several years ago, Paine Webber (now UBS) had a snappy advertising campaign: “Thank you, Paine Webber.” Clients were thanking the firm for the creation of wealth.
Today, we should re-incarnate this slogan to “Thank you, BP!” Not for the destruction, damage, or ruination of the environment, and certainly not for the loss of jobs or death blow to the Gulf Coast economy. But, thank you, because maybe this will finally push America to ramp up the efforts for new sources of cleaner, renewable energy, and less reliance on fossil fuels.
In less than two months, we have witnessed a proclamation by the President that encouraged offshore oil exploration, then an announcement of wind power offshore in Massachusetts, and now this mess!
Elected officials seem to be adopting the new Capital Hill term of keeping a boot on the neck (or throat, or whatever) of BP as a signal of force to stop the leak and begin the cleanup.
I have a better idea: how about a boost for renewable energy? Or, better yet, a boot to the butt of Congress to reduce reliance on fossil fuels? Remember summer 2008? Oil at $147/ barrel, and gas at the pump of $4.00 plus? The oil import bill was $400 Billion. Don’t forget, we shipped $400 Billion out of the U.S. economy.
Two years ago, Main Street America didn’t know who Fannie or Freddie were, didn’t know about stress tests, and had certainly never heard of CDS or CDO’s. But, Main Street knew about $4/gallon. Today we are expanding our vocabularies, learning about kills, top hats, risers, blowout preventers, and mud. For crossword puzzle enthusiasts, the terms may be useful. For fans of the environment, BP (blood pressure) rises when hearing these terms or seeing the news.
So, it’s back to the boot. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently conducted a survey, Appetite for Change, of 700 companies of all sizes that reviews the attitude of business toward climate change, environmental policy, and the role of government. http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/appetite-for-change/talking-points.jhtml. The summary shows that businesses are committed to carbon reduction, and businesses see the cost and beneficial corporate opportunities of adopting environmental policies. Please click on the link and view the entire report. It’s very positive for the renewable energy outlook.
These 700 respondents don’t need the boot. They get it. But, what about everybody else? The BP disaster points to the fact that we need new sources of clean energy. BP will be getting the boot well after the leak is stopped and cleaned up.
What about our policymakers? Do they get the joke? Waxman and Markey do. Kerry and Lieberman do. And Lindsay Graham does. What about the rest? Legislators in 30 states with renewable portfolio standards get it, but what about the rest of the country?
Turn off the spill cam. Don’t look at Google photos. Instead, use your boot. And, if you are a crossword puzzle fan, remember this: one barrel equals 42 gallons. When the press reports 5,000 barrels, it doesn’t sound as bad. But, do the math and see how bad it truly is.
BP once stood for British Petroleum, but is now Beyond Petroleum. It’s time to really go beyond petroleum. The age of renewable is actually here.
So, thank you BP!