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 Social Profit Handbook

The Social Profit Handbook

By David Grant

How to Articulate and Assess What Success Looks Like

The Social Profit Handbook offers those who lead, govern, and support mission-driven organizations and businesses new ways to assess their impact in order to improve future work rather than merely judge past performance.  

For-profit institutions measure their success primarily by monetary gains. But nonprofit institutions are different; they aim for social profit. How do you measure the success of these social profit institutions, where missions are focused on the well-being of people, place, and planet?

Drawing upon decades of leadership in schools and the foundation and nonprofit worlds, author David Grant offers strategies—from creating mission time to planning backwards to constructing qualitative assessment rubrics—that help organizations take assessment back into their own hands, and improve their work as a result. His insights, illustrated by numerous case studies, make this book a unique organizational development tool for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, as well as emerging mission-based social venture businesses, such as low-profit corporations and B Corps.

The Social Profit Handbook presentsassessment and evaluation not as ends in themselves but as the path toward achieving what matters most in the social sector. The result: more benefits to society and stronger, more unified, more effective organizations prepared to make the world a better place.

Available in: Paperback

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The Social Profit Handbook

David Grant

Paperback $20.00

The Looting of America

The Looting of America

By Les Leopold

How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it?

In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance.

He also asks some tough questions:

  • Why did Americans let the gap between workers' wages and executive compensation grow so large?
  • Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives' pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes?
  • Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America's new, postindustrial economy?
  • How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again?
  • And what can we do to get our money back?

In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street's exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by "innovative" products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They'll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again.

As the country teeters on the brink of what could be the next Great Depression, we should be especially wary of the so-called financial experts who got us here, and then conveniently got themselves out. So far, it appears they've won the battle, but The Looting of America refuses to let them write the history--or plan its aftermath.

Available in: Paperback

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The Looting of America

Les Leopold

Paperback $17.95

Marijuana is Safer

Marijuana is Safer

By Steve Fox and Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert

In 2012, voters in Colorado shocked the political establishment by making the use of marijuana legal for anyone in the state twenty-one years of age or older. In the wake of that unprecedented victory, nationally recognized marijuana-policy experts Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert revisit the "Marijuana Is Safer" message that contributed to the campaign’s success--as the first edition of this book predicted it would in 2009. In this updated and expanded edition, the authors include a new chapter on the victory in Colorado and updates on a growing mountain of research that supports their position.

Through an objective examination of marijuana and alcohol, and the laws and social practices that steer people toward the latter, the authors pose a simple yet rarely considered question: Why do we punish adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol? For those unfamiliar with marijuana, Marijuana Is Safer provides an introduction to the cannabis plant and its effects on the user, and debunks some of the government's most frequently cited marijuana myths.

More importantly, for the millions of Americans who want to advance the cause of marijuana policy reform--or simply want to defend their own personal, safer choice--this book provides the talking points and detailed information needed to make persuasive arguments to friends, family, coworkers, elected officials and, of course, future voters.

Available in: Paperback

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Marijuana is Safer

Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, Mason Tvert

Paperback $14.95

Limits to Growth

Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows and Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows

In 1972, three scientists from MIT created a computer model that analyzed global resource consumption and production. Their results shocked the world and created stirring conversation about global 'overshoot,' or resource use beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Now, preeminent environmental scientists Donnella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows have teamed up again to update and expand their original findings in The Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Global Update.

Meadows, Randers, and Meadows are international environmental leaders recognized for their groundbreaking research into early signs of wear on the planet. Citing climate change as the most tangible example of our current overshoot, the scientists now provide us with an updated scenario and a plan to reduce our needs to meet the carrying capacity of the planet.

Over the past three decades, population growth and global warming have forged on with a striking semblance to the scenarios laid out by the World3 computer model in the original Limits to Growth. While Meadows, Randers, and Meadows do not make a practice of predicting future environmental degradation, they offer an analysis of present and future trends in resource use, and assess a variety of possible outcomes.

In many ways, the message contained in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a warning. Overshoot cannot be sustained without collapse. But, as the authors are careful to point out, there is reason to believe that humanity can still reverse some of its damage to Earth if it takes appropriate measures to reduce inefficiency and waste.

Written in refreshingly accessible prose, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a long anticipated revival of some of the original voices in the growing chorus of sustainability. Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update is a work of stunning intelligence that will expose for humanity the hazy but critical line between human growth and human development.

Available in: Paperback

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Limits to Growth

Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows

Paperback $22.50