La marée noire du golfe du Mexique est un avertissement !

CAMBRIDGE – Alors que le forage pétrolier de BP laisse s'échapper des millions de litres de pétrole des profondeurs du Golfe du Mexique, l'urgence est de parvenir à arrêter ce désastre environnemental qui prend des proportions catastrophiques. Espérons que l'on va pouvoir bientôt contenir la fuite et que les prévisions les plus funestes ne se réaliseront pas.

Cette catastrophe soulève cependant un problème fondamental quant à la manière dont les sociétés modernes réagissent face aux technologies complexes. Le rythme de plus en plus rapide de l'innovation semble dépasser la capacité de l'Etat à établir une réglementation et des contrôles adaptés aux risques qu'elles présentent, et encore plus à les anticiper.

Faire le parallèle entre la fuite de pétrole et la récente crise financière revient à tourner le couteau dans la plaie : la promesse d'innovation, une complexité difficilement gérable et le manque de transparence (les scientifiques disent que l'on ne sait pas grand chose de ce qui se passe dans les profondeurs océaniques). Des lobbies disposant de moyens financiers considérables et politiquement très influants exercent une pression énorme sur la structure de gouvernance, aussi résistante soit-elle. Il est très embarrassant pour le président Obama d'avoir proposé - il est vrai sous la pression de l'opposition républicaine - d'accroitre fortement les forages en mer peu avant la catastrophe de la plateforme pétrolière de BP.

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