Chelsea Green Publishing

Disaster on the Horizon

Pages:248 pages
Size: 5.375 x 8.375 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603583169
Pub. Date October 22, 2010

Disaster on the Horizon

High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 22, 2010


Disaster on the Horizon is a behind-the-scenes investigative look at the worst oil well accident in US history, which led to the current environmental and economic catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Cavnar uses his 30 years in the business to take readers inside the disaster, exposing the decisions leading up to the blowout and the immediate aftermath. It includes personal accounts of the survivors, assembled from testimony during various investigations, as well as personal interviews with survivors, witnesses, and family. It also provides a layman's look at the industry, its technology, people, and risks. It deconstructs events and decisions made by BP, Transocean, and the US Government before and after the disaster, and the effects of those decisions, both good and bad.

Cavnar explains what happened in the Gulf, explores how we arrived at deep water drilling in the first place and then charts a course for how to avoid these disasters in the future.


"Because of Bob Cavnar's extensive experince in the oil and gas drilling business--which includes being the victim of a drilling-related explosion himself--his book brings alive the BP disaster in ways no other account has done. Cavnar lets the reader understand how the disaster really happened, and who bears responsibility. Not surprisingly, he also shows what happened during the Bush administration to make this tragedy more likely."--Howard Dean, former DNC Chair and Vermont governor; author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform

"Cavnar captures all the drama of the disaster with an oilman's expertise. This book not only explains what happened on the well on April 20th, but all the decisions made in the past that led up to that fateful night. In the process, Cavnar hasn't just delivered a riveting story, but a political call to arms."--Mimi Schwartz, executive editor of Texas Monthly and co-author of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

Bob Cavnar, with thirty years of oil patch experience, has written the definitive story of the blowout in the Gulf. It is a gripping and deadly tale--one that takes the reader to the rig site, where he makes you feel the blast and heat from the explosion, and gives you an unrivaled look at what actually went on in the blowout and in the months that followed it. Lives tragically lost and lessons to be learned. A must read for everyone concerned about the oil industry, the effectiveness of government regulation, and America's energy future.--Mark White, former governor of Texas

"Brilliant. A must read to understand what happened--and why."--Bruce Babbitt, former U.S. secretary of the Interior and governor of Arizona; author of Cities in the Wilderness

Publishers Weekly-
Cavnar, a veteran of the energy industry (including early work on oil rigs and pipeline construction), does a more-than-admirable job of clarifying deepwater drilling, specifically the corporate interests behind it and the mechanics and risks associated with it. Cavnar approach his subject like a muckraking reporter, pointing fingers and wringing hands and, though he doesn't spare BP, he argues that their hands were tied. Regarding their lowball estimates of oil spilled in the early days, Cavnar states that "liability is based on the amount of oil released into the environment"; though BP officials "probably had calculated the actual flow rate to within a few percent," releasing those figures would have meant owning up to a much greater liability. Especially chilling is Cavnar's assertion that other disasters will follow Deepwater Horizon, since 27% of domestic production comes from deepwater drilling and a 2009 study of subsea Blow Out Protectors showed a failure rate of 45%. Even if the US were to regulate or ban all offshore drilling, multinational companies would set up deepwater rigs near more lenient nations to sidestep the problem. Ultimately Cavnar issues a call to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; only this, he suggest, will spare us ecological catastrophe.


  • Runner-up - Foreword Book of the Year Award: Environment - 2010


Bob Cavnar

Bob Cavnar is a 30-year veteran of the oil and gas industry with deep experience in operations, start-ups, turn-arounds, and management of both public and private companies. He is currently chief executive officer of Luca Technologies, which harnesses natural processes to produce natural gas sustainably. Previously he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Milagro Exploration, a large, privately held oil and gas exploration firm based in Houston, Texas with operations along the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Gulf Coasts, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Cavnar holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School.  He blogs at This Small Planet and The Daily Hurricane.


Bob Cavnar on Al Jazeera re: Halliburton & BP 10-28-2010

Bob Cavnar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer 09-06-2010

Bob Canvar on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann re: Drilling Regulation

Bob Canvar on MSBNC's The Rachel Maddow Show re: Recent Oil Rig Explosion

Bob Canvar on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show re: BP Oil Spill and Toxic Mud

Bob Cavnar on FNC's Studio B With Shepard Smith 03-22-2011

Bob Canvar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer

Bob Canvar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer


The End of Stationarity

The End of Stationarity

By Mark Schapiro

Scientists have devised a new term to explain the turmoil caused by climate change: the end of stationarity. It means that our baselines for rainfall, water flow, temperature, and extreme weather are no longer relevant—that making predictions based on past experience is no longer possible. But climate change has upended baselines in the financial world, too, disrupting the global economy in ways that are just becoming clear, leaving us unable to assess risk, and causing us to fundamentally re-think economic priorities and existing business models. 

At the heart of that financial unrest is the role of carbon, and as the world moves toward making more and more polluters pay to emit it, a financial mystery unfolds: What are the costs? Who has the responsibility to pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And how will those costs ripple through the economy?

These are the questions veteran journalist Mark Schapiro attempts to answer as he illuminates the struggle to pinpoint carbon's true costs and allocate them fairly--all while bumping up against the vagaries of the free market, the lobbying power of corporations, the political maneuverings of countries, and the tolerance of everyday consumers buying a cup of coffee, a tank of gas, or an airplane ticket. 

Along the way, Schapiro tracks the cost of carbon through the drought-ridden farmland of California, the jungles of Brazil, the world's greatest manufacturing center in China, the carbon-trading center of Europe, and the high-tech crime world that carbon markets have inspired. He even tracks the cost of carbon through the skies themselves, where efforts to put a price tag on the carbon left by airplanes in the no-man's land of the atmosphere created what amounted to a quiet but powerful global trade war. 

The End of Stationarity deftly depicts the wild, new carbon economy, and shows us how nations, emerging and developed, teeter on its brink. Originally published in hardcover as Carbon Shock, the book is updated throughout and includes a new afterword, based on the Paris climate talks.

Available in: Paperback

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The End of Stationarity

Mark Schapiro

Paperback $17.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.

The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.

"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback

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The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00

What Then Must We Do?

What Then Must We Do?

By Gar Alperovitz

Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new movement demanding change are forming.

But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like—and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer's darkroom, already taking shape.

He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.

Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.

For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

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What Then Must We Do?

Gar Alperovitz

Hardcover $27.95

How on Earth

How on Earth

By Jennifer Hinton and Donnie Maclurcan

Something incredible is happening within our economy. Beyond the failures of state socialism and the excesses of corporate capitalism, a realistic alternative is emerging. In How on Earth, Donnie Maclurcan and Jennifer Hinton chart the rise of businesses that place purpose ahead of profit, and outline how the advantages these businesses hold in the marketplace pave the way to an entirely different economic system, focused on addressing human need, not greed.

At the heart of this monumental transition lies the changing nature of not-for-profit (NFP) organizations. Contrary to popular notions of non-profit inefficiency, unaccountability, and dependence on donors, the 21st century NFP is proving highly efficient, transparent, and increasingly self-funded.

Distinguishing themselves from B corps and ethical/green shareholder companies by always reinvesting rather than privatizing profits, NFP enterprises around the world are proliferating and succeeding in areas as diverse as construction, manufacturing, software development, food catering, and retail. In a process described by Jeremy Rifkin as ‘the eclipse of capitalism’, many NFP enterprises (including various forms of cooperatives, community interest companies, government-owned corporations, and social businesses) are now outperforming their for-profit counterparts, driven by marked advantages in terms of finance, human resources, productivity, innovation, governance, environmental outcomes, value creation and market reputation. Simultaneously, NFP enterprises are increasingly curbing the excesses that have traditionally been associated with the charitable sector.

Moving beyond the market/state dichotomy, the NFP model finally aligns our economy with the social values that modern science and ancient wisdom agree are central to our shared prosperity. With wealth recirculating through a purpose-driven system, the emerging NFP world economy is better able to serve people and planet, while retaining market dynamics and requiring less taxation and government bureaucracy in the process.

A groundbreaking contribution to economic theory, How on Earth presents the world’s first practical blueprint for the transition to a fairer, thriving economy that offers quality of life for all while respecting our ecological limits.

Available in: Paperback

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How on Earth

Donnie Maclurcan, Jennifer Hinton

Paperback $19.95