Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
This article is an excerpt from Richard Heinberg's new book Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. Given the urgency and importance of the issues we are serializing the book here at Resilience.org
Oct 9, 2013 | The tiny ghost town of Desdemona is situated in Eastland County, Texas, about halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene. It was founded in the mid-19th century as a fort to protect settlers from Indians, its early economy revolving mostly around peanut farming. In 1918, Tom Dees of Hog Creek Oil Company discovered an oil field nearby, and within weeks 16,000 speculators and rig workers crowded Desdemona’s dusty streets. Fortunes were quickly made—less often on actual oil production than on the trading of stock shares, which appreciated dramatically in value during the first couple of years of the boom. (Some shares that originally sold for one hundred dollars soon fetched over ten thousand.) Fortunes were just as suddenly lost in gambling or robberies. By 1920, rampant lawlessness had drawn the attention of the Texas Rangers, who at the time operated as a paramilitary organization employing tactics like targeted killing and enhanced interrogation. The Rangers effectively ran Desdemona—but they didn’t stay long. Between 1919 and 1921, oil production rates dropped by two-thirds. The value of oil stocks collapsed. By 1936, Desdemona’s city government had dissolved itself; the town’s lone school closed its doors in 1969, and as of 2013 only two businesses remain.
Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators. He has authored eleven books including Snake Oil.
Snake Oil | Chapter 2: Technology To The Rescue, Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
Fracking will end America’s reliance on imported oil. The United States can look forward to a hundred years of cheap natural gas. The US will soon become energy independent and will surpass Saudi Arabia to become the world’s foremost petroleum producer.
Snake Oil | Chapter 1: This is What Peak Oil Looks Like, Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
Oil is the linchpin of our modern industrial way of life. Nearly all energy used for transport derives from it, and transport is essential to virtually all trade. Take petroleum away and the global economy would shudder to a halt in a matter of minutes.
Snake Oil | Introduction: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
For the past decade I’ve been a participant in a high-stakes energy policy debate—writing books, giving lectures, and appearing on radio and television to point out how downright dumb it is for America to continue relying on fossil fuels. Oil, coal, and natural gas are finite and depleting, and burning them changes Earth’s climate and compromises our future, so you might think that curtailing their use would be simple common sense. But there are major players in the debate who want to keep us burning more.