Chelsea Green Publishing

Snake Oil

Pages:162 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Post Carbon Institute
Paperback: 9780976751090
Pub. Date June 13, 2014

Snake Oil

How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
June 13, 2014


The rapid spread of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has temporarily boosted US natural gas and oil production . . . and sparked a massive environmental backlash in communities across the country. The fossil-fuel industry is trying to sell fracking as the biggest energy development of the century, with slick promises of American energy independence and benefits to local economies. Snake Oil casts a critical eye on the oil-industry hype that has hijacked America's energy conversation. This is the first book to look at fracking from both economic and environmental perspectives, informed by the most thorough analysis of shale gas and oil drilling data ever undertaken. Is fracking the miracle cure-all to our energy ills, or a costly distraction from the necessary work of reducing our fossil-fuel dependence?


"Those who think fracked gas is a panacea for our energy future would do well to read this cautionary account—it has an undeniable whiff of reality about it."--Bill McKibben, founder of and author of Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist

"Many long-time observers of the world energy scene have been wondering whether claims being made for US shale gas and tight oil are "too good to be true." Here is hard evidence that they are indeed. America will achieve real, long-term energy independence and security only by doing two things: reducing energy demand and developing distributed renewable energy sources."--Michael Klare, Director of Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, author of The Race for What's Left

"Snake Oil exposes the unsustainable economics behind the so-called fracking boom, giving the lie to industry claims that natural gas will bring great economic benefits and long-term energy security to the United States. In clear, hard-hitting language, Heinberg reveals that communities where fracking has taken place are actually being hurt economically. For those who want to know the truth about why natural gas is a gangplank, not a bridge, Snake Oil is a must-read."--Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and author of Coming Clean

"Unconventional production from shales has been hyped mercilessly by the oil and gas industry. Richard Heinberg does an outstanding job of purging the myths and bringing sensibility to a dialogue which, unfortunately, has been driven by a brand of thinking on the part of energy producers that closely mimics the mentality of Wall Street."--Deborah Rogers, founder of Energy Policy Forum, former Wall Street financial analyst

"We are already living with the false promise that fracking would not harm the environment. Now read the facts about the false promise that it will provide an energy-secure future and lots of jobs. Snake Oil debunks all the myths. It is a must-read for our elected leaders."--Maude Barlow, Board Chair of Food & Water Watch and author of Blue Covenant

"It always sounded too good to be true . . . Richard Heinberg authoritatively explains the fine print beneath the hype—sure enough, fracking is the 21st-century version of snake oil. The real deal is energy efficiency along with solar and wind power. It's time for a sober and honest debate about our energy future. That's why Snake Oil is essential reading."--David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College, author of Down to the Wire

"In Snake Oil, Richard Heinberg reveals two key themes everyone should understand: The promise of shale oil and gas abundance is exaggerated and misleading, and the cost of producing the shale oil supply has reached a level that is inconsistent with economic growth."--Arthur Berman, consulting geologist and Director of Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

"The shale "revolution" might be over sooner than you think. Snake Oil does what the mainstream media have failed to do: ask the tough questions—particularly about the economics—and closely examine the real potential of fracking for oil and gas. This book is an important counterpoint to what has been little more than regurgitated industry press releases thus far and is an essential read for investors and policy makers."--Chris Nelder, energy analyst and author of Profit from the Peak

"When some things are too hard or painful to understand, it takes a heroic effort to even try to get a message across. Richard Heinberg is a beacon of light cutting through the fog of wishful thinking to illuminate the critical issues by which the human project may stand or fall: energy and economy."--James Howard Kunstler, author of Too Much Magic and The Long Emergency


Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg is Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is the author of several influential books on resource depletion including Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century Of Declines.


Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

By Woody Tasch

Could there ever be an alternative stock exchange dedicated to slow, small, and local? Could a million American families get their food from CSAs? What if you had to invest 50 percent of your assets within 50 miles of where you live?Such questions-at the heart of slow money-represent the first steps on our path to a new economy.

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money presents an essential new strategy for investing in local food systems and introduces a group of fiduciary activists who are exploring what should come after industrial finance and industrial agriculture. Theirs is a vision for investing that puts soil fertility into return-on-investment calculations and serves people and place as much at it serves industry sectors and markets.

Leading the charge is Woody Tasch-whose decades of work as a venture capitalist, foundation treasurer, and entrepreneur now shed new light on a truer, more beautiful, more prudent kind of fiduciary responsibility. He offers an alternative vision to the dusty old industrial concepts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when dollars, and the businesses they financed, lost their connection to place; slow money, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in the new economic, social, and environmental realities of the 21st century.

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money is a call to action for designing capital markets built around not extraction and consumption but preservation and restoration. Is it a movement or is it an investment strategy? Yes.

Available in: Paperback

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Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

Carlo Petrini, Woody Tasch

Paperback $15.95

Waiting on a Train

Waiting on a Train

By James McCommons

During the tumultuous year of 2008--when gas prices reached $4 a gallon, Amtrak set ridership records, and a commuter train collided with a freight train in California--journalist James McCommons spent a year on America's trains, talking to the people who ride and work the rails throughout much of the Amtrak system. Organized around these rail journeys, Waiting on a Train is equal parts travel narrative, personal memoir, and investigative journalism.

Readers meet the historians, railroad executives, transportation officials, politicians, government regulators, railroad lobbyists, and passenger-rail advocates who are rallying around a simple question: Why has the greatest railroad nation in the world turned its back on the very form of transportation that made modern life and mobility possible?

Distrust of railroads in the nineteenth century, overregulation in the twentieth, and heavy government subsidies for airports and roads have left the country with a skeletal intercity passenger-rail system. Amtrak has endured for decades, and yet failed to prosper owing to a lack of political and financial support and an uneasy relationship with the big, remaining railroads.

While riding the rails, McCommons explores how the country may move passenger rail forward in America--and what role government should play in creating and funding mass-transportation systems. Against the backdrop of the nation's stimulus program, he explores what it will take to build high-speed trains and transportation networks, and when the promise of rail will be realized in America.

Available in: Paperback

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Waiting on a Train

James McCommons, James Kunstler

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Climate Change

Climate Change

By Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert

You know that the ice caps are melting, the seasons are changing, sea levels are rising, storms are on the increase, but what can you do about it? Plenty!

This book puts the power back into your hands in the face of the doom and gloom of climate change. You don’t have to wait for someone else to sort it out; rather than worry and feel helpless, you can get up and do something.

Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference is packed with ideas for action, from simple everyday things that cost nothing to bigger projects that involve more time and money. For example:

Get on your bike • Buy local food • Turn off your TV • Insulate your attic • Recycle and compost • Take the train • Turn down the heat • Install solar panels

Do your part and protect the planet for today and tomorrow.

Available in: Paperback

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Climate Change

Amanda Cuthbert, Jon Clift

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The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America

The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America

By Jonathan Tasini

Meet the essential Bernie Sanders—an authentic and uncompromising champion of the people.

Independent United States Senator Bernie Sanders—with a thirty-five-year career in public service, first as Burlington, Vermont’s mayor, then as Vermont’s sole representative to Congress, and currently as a United States senator—is now campaigning to become president of the United States. His goal is to build a movement to take back our country from the rich and powerful, and return it to its rightful owners—we, the American people. - Static Page Images - The Essential Bernie Approved

Sanders’ common sense, populist message is resonating with Democrats, Republicans, independents, as well as ordinary working- and middle-class Americans from all walks of life, including millennials, seniors, veterans, immigrants, environmentalists, union workers, and more.

In this short, accessible book, author Jonathan Tasini draws heavily from Sanders’ ample public record of speeches, statements, and interviews, and couples his working-class spirit with specific legislation he has championed on a number of core proposals that comprise a broader people’s agenda for America, including:

  • A national, single-payer health care system;
  • Free public higher education;
  • Taking on wealth and income inequality;
  • Preserving Social Security;
  • Caring for our veterans;
  • Ensuring civil rights for all;
  • Combatting climate change;
  • Reforming Wall Street, and much more.

The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is a must-read for anyone who shares a vision for a forward-looking, sustainable, and more just United States of America, and is eager to change the course of history.

Available in: Paperback

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The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America

Jonathan Tasini

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