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.


What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

By Per Espen Stoknes

Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers.

In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, Stoknes not only masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but addresses them with five strategies for how to talk about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.

These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community, and include the use of signals, or indicators, to gauge feedback and be constantly responsive.

Whether you are working on the front lines of the climate issue, immersed in the science, trying to make policy or educate the public, or just an average person trying to make sense of the cognitive dissonance or grapple with frustration over this looming issue, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.

Available in: Paperback

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What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Jorgen Randers, Per Espen Stoknes

Paperback $24.95

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

By Steven Druker

This book uncovers the biggest scientific fraud of our age. It tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to restructure the genetic core of the world's food supply came into being, how it advanced by consistently violating the protocols of science, and how for more than three decades, hundreds of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of its products–and get them onto our dinner plates.

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth provides a graphic account of how this elaborate fraud was crafted and how it not only deceived the general public, but Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and a host of other astute and influential individuals as well. The book also exposes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was induced to become a key accomplice--and how it has broken the law and repeatedly lied in order to usher genetically engineered foods onto the market without the safety testing that's required by federal statute. As a result, for fifteen years America's families have been regularly ingesting a group of novel products that the FDA's own scientific staff had previously determined to be unduly hazardous to human health.

By the time this gripping story comes to a close, it will be clear that the degradation of science it documents has not only been unsavory but unprecedented--and that in no other instance have so many scientists so seriously subverted the standards they were trained to uphold, misled so many people, and imposed such magnitude of risk on both human health and the health of the environment.

Available in: Paperback

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Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Steven Druker

Paperback $21.95

Confronting Collapse

Confronting Collapse

By Michael C. Ruppert

The book that inspired the movie Collapse.

The world is running short of energy-especially cheap, easy-to-find oil. Shortages, along with resulting price increases, threaten industrialized civilization, the global economy, and our entire way of life.

In Confronting Collapse, author Michael C. Ruppert, a former LAPD narcotics officer turned investigative journalist, details the intricate connections between money and energy, including the ways in which oil shortages and price spikes triggered the economic crash that began in September 2008. Given the 96 percent correlation between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions and the unlikelihood of economic growth without a spike in energy use, Ruppert argues that we are not, in fact, on the verge of economic recovery, but on the verge of complete collapse.

Ruppert's truth is not merely inconvenient. It is utterly devastating.

But there is still hope. Ruppert outlines a 25-point plan of action, including the creation of a second strategic petroleum reserve for the use of state and local governments, the immediate implementation of a national Feed-in Tariff mandating that electric utilities pay 3 percent above market rates for all surplus electricity generated from renewable sources, a thorough assessment of soil conditions nationwide, and an emergency action plan for soil restoration and sustainable agriculture.

Available in: Paperback

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Confronting Collapse

Michael C. Ruppert, Colin Campbell

Paperback $15.00

Lean Logic

Lean Logic

By David Fleming

Lean Logic is David Fleming’s masterpiece, the product of more than thirty years’ work and a testament to the creative brilliance of one of Britain’s most important intellectuals.

A dictionary unlike any other, it leads readers through Fleming’s stimulating exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, being made up of four hundred and seventy-two engaging essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The threads running through every entry are Fleming’s deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural— on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. A society that provides a satisfying, culturally-rich context for lives well lived, in an economy not reliant on the impossible promise of eternal economic growth. A society worth living in. Worth fighting for. Worth contributing to.

The beauty of the dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw connections without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. Each entry carries intriguing links to other entries, inviting the enchanted reader to break free of the imposed order of a conventional book, starting where she will and following the links in the order of her choosing. In combination with Fleming’s refreshing writing style and good-natured humor, it also creates a book perfectly suited to dipping in and out.

The decades Fleming spent honing his life's work are evident in the lightness and mastery with which Lean Logic draws on an incredible wealth of cultural and historical learning—from Whitman to Whitefield, Dickens to Daly, Kropotkin to Kafka, Keats to Kuhn, Oakeshott to Ostrom, Jung to Jensen, Machiavelli to Mumford, Mauss to Mandelbrot, Leopold to Lakatos, Polanyi to Putnam, Nietzsche to Næss, Keynes to Kumar, Scruton to Shiva, Thoreau to Toynbee, Rabelais to Rogers, Shakespeare to Schumacher, Locke to Lovelock, Homer to Homer-Dixon—in demonstrating that many of the principles it commends have a track-record of success long pre-dating our current society.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges ahead, but rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture.

Lean Logic is a comfort in disorientating times. A book to keep at your side. A dictionary of empowerment.

Available in: Hardcover

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Lean Logic

Shaun Chamberlin, Jonathon Porritt, David Fleming

Hardcover $49.95