Monday, August 29, 2005
Hurricanes and oil
So the real test of this hurricane is whether, after the event, there's still the will to tackle the long-term questions. For example, as further refutation of the Diamond thesis, in 1981 America had 315 oil refineries in operation; today, it has 144.
Louisiana has 17 of them, operating - pre-hurricane - at capacity. Which is why petrol will be up 20 cents a gallon by the weekend. Why, in the middle of a war centred on unstable foreign oil regimes in the Middle East, is it still politically impossible to upgrade the capacity of the domestic oil industry?
As the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina demonstrate, mankind has got very good at responding to acts of God. We're not so hot at responding to the acts (political and cultural) of man.