60-Second Earth

The Full Price of Oil

The ongoing oil spill is just one cost of our ongoing addiction to fossil fuel. David Biello reports

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico continues to grow. The screw top placed on top of the broken well now captures more than 600,000 gallons a day and, yet, remains largely invisible behind a veil of oil that continues to spill, adding to the as much as 50 million gallons already in the ocean depths.  

Whereas it is the worst oil spill in U.S. history—it's just a piece of the devastation around the globe .  

Nigeria, for example, experiences more than 300 such oil spills every year. At least 450 million gallons of oil have fouled the Nigerian delta over the last 50 years. There are other similar recent disasters from Australia to Venezuela.  

The environmental impact is only one cost of our oil addiction. Like all addictions, the greatest toll is on human health . Whether that be the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the more than 70 cleaners sickened by the aftermath, or the thousands of Nigerians killed directly or indirectly by our unquenchable thirst for petroleum .  

And don't forget coal and natural gas. They also pollute, sicken and kill. Cleaning up our energy habits is indeed the moral equivalent of war

—David Biello

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