I was channel surfing recently when I came across this promo on FX for Oil Storm. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find much information on the plot of the movie, just the air date of June 5th @ 8PM. From the commercial I saw, the movie narrates the ramification of a hurricane in Central America which destroys 1 million barrels of oil, leading to skyrocketing oil prices in the US. Ultimately, a state of bedlam ensues as the US dependence on foreign oil is exposed. I read somewhere online that it takes place in 2007. It must take place sometime in the future as we imported an average of 11.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) from January to October last year and consumed about 20.4 million bbl/d, and experts believe that the US has almost 21.9 billion barrels of oil in reserve as of the 1st of this year.
Even though Oil Storm will almost certainly prove to be a sensationalistic exploitation of current fears about US energy policy, I still believe such movies do an important job of getting environmental issues on the radar for people who wouldn't normally think about them. The Day After Tomorrow is case and point. Although it set the pace of global climate change at an almost absurd rate and was a silly movie in general, it provided a real booster shot to the global warming debate. I also think it picked up on a real misunderstanding between the government and the public on the environment, climate change in particular. According to a study published by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in October 2004, 71% of the American public, 72% of leaders (admittedly a murky term), and 68% of administration officials favored the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Yet it was unanimously rejected by the Senate that same year. You can argue that big business was behind this, but the unanimous rejection in light of public opinion indicates that many representatives either don't understand their constituencies or don't think their opinion matters.
Okay, that was enough of a tangent, back to Oil Storm. Politicized movies bring important issues to the masses. Hypotheticals like Oil Storm, albeit outlandish, can be good for intensifying the debate. The US can't rely on oil forever and steadily climbing oil prices have screamed of the need for more research and development of clean, renewable sources of energy. Although I vehemently disagree with drilling in the ANWAR, I have noticed that Bush has recently been quietly promoting biodiesel and ethanol as alternative fuels. I think this is a good place to get the ball rolling, but we still have a way to go before we achieve a responsible energy policy. Check out this cool alternative energy blog for more on developments in the industry.