Why the gulf oil disaster will not cause a climate change wake up

21/7/2010 New Scientist  The Gulf oil disaster is a wake-up call, but we’ll sleep right through it.THE blowout of the Deepwater Horizon oil well is haunted by superlatives. The worst
  ecological disaster of modem times; the largest offshore oil spill in American history.
  Does that make it the wake-up call we all need to rethink our damaging addiction to oil?
  Sadly, no. In a year or two, few outside the usual environmental campaign circles will
  remember the trauma of the past three months, let alone be motivated to take action.
  A quick scan through history shows that massive disasters do not bring massive shifts in
  behaviour. After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, climate campaigners thought
  that, at last, Americans would wake up to the threats of global warming. Al Gore put it on
  the poster for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Five years on,polls show that
  public concern about climate science in the US has, if anything, steadily declined.
  The oil spill into the Persian Gulf in 1991, during the Gulf war, made headlines
  worldwide and triggered warnings about our dangerous dependence on oil, including
  editorials in this magazine. That spill was 6 million
  “in a year or two,
  few outside the usual environmental circles will remember this trauma”
  barrels of oil - larger than the current estimates for Deepwater Horizon—but  it changed
  Even when disastrous events are fresh in our minds, they can be powerless in the face of
  ingrained behaviour and vested interests. When the giants of Wall Street went belly up in
  2008 anddragged the global economy into the gutter, seasoned economists chimed that
  this would be a wake-up call about “casino capitalism”. The result? A rapid resumption of
  As we report in this issue, an army of ecologists is descending on the Gulf of Mexico to
  track and document t’he true scale of this catastrophe (see page 6). Their goal is to work
  out what happens when you allow millions of barrels of crude oil and gas to gush
  unhindered through deep water, then pump toxic dispersants into the mix.
  No doubt they hope to keep attention focused on the disaster. In truth, the tacit
  assumption of this colossal research programme is that similar events will happen again,
  and the more we know about them, the better prepared we will be next time. 
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