Academics back David Golding in Obama BP crisis row

A NORTH East campaigner who attacked Barack Obama over his response to the BP oil spill has won backing from fellow academics.

Dr David Golding

A NORTH East campaigner who attacked Barack Obama over his response to the BP oil spill has won backing from fellow academics.

David Golding weighed in to the debate over the environmental disaster and accused the US president of “hypocrisy” for his approach to the crisis.

He criticised the Americans and claimed they had failed to protect the environment in the past by not curbing the emission of greenhouse gases.

And after his argument was picked up by The Journal, his comments have travelled across the Atlantic and were featured in the New York Times’ Global Edition.

More than 11 other professors and lecturers at Newcastle University have also lent their support to Mr Golding’s views and put their names to his fight.

The Newcastle University chaplain, who also heads up a campaign against climate change in the North East, said the US were not in a position to criticise BP after refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol – an international agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Last night Mr Golding, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, said: “I recognise that BP and its corporate associates deserve severe censure for their failure to provide adequate safeguards for their hazardous operations and that Americans have every right to be angry at the loss of life and the terrible damage being done to people’s livelihoods and the environment.

“However, this damage is barely a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the impact of America’s contribution to global atmospheric pollution resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels and this is a legitimate cause for anger on the part of people living in less developed countries.”

In yet another PR humiliation at the weekend, BP chief executive Tony Hayward went sailing round the Isle of Wight as the stricken rig continued to spew oil.

An estimated 60,000 barrels of oil a day continue to gush into the seas of the Gulf of Mexico and drift towards the US coast threatening wildlife and livelihoods dependent on tourism and fishing.

And Mr Obama called for the resignation of Mr Hayward following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

Mr Golding, North East co-ordinator of pressure group People Against New Coal-fired Power Stations, said: “At least BP has offered fulsome apologies, is compensating those affected, and is making strenuous efforts to prevent further damage.

“Has the US accepted responsibility for the impacts of its energy profligacy on climate change? Has it committed itself to providing full restitution for the now well documented misery which global warming is already inflicting on countless millions of the world’s poor? In each case, the answer is, most regrettably, in the negative. In consequence, it really is in no position to throw stones.”

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