When I blasted the generally poor reportage about energy in my last blog, I was unaware of this outstanding piece published by the Chicago Tribune a week earlier. But it’s burning up the blog charts now. It’s long, so download the complete PDF and read it at your leisure, but do check it.
The author, Paul Salopek, has done what no one had ever done before–indeed what most said couldn’t be done–and that’s to trace a tankful of gas back to its oil fields of origin. But aside from that feat, he’s done his homework about the various perspectives on the future of oil, and has come up with a sensible, balanced, and mostly correct conclusion.
It also has some well-done and very pithy appendixes (listed as “Sidebars” in the Web version) that do a decent job of covering the peak oil debate, the nature of oil, and the debate over the Saudi peak.
A Tank Of Gas, A World Of Trouble
By Paul Salopek
Published July 29, 2006
Seriously, read it. It’s great, and a compelling bit of journalism, not your usual dry stuff. I give it an A+. I hope he wins his third Pulitzer for this one.
Update Saturday August 26, 2006:
Paul Salopek imprisoned in Darfur and charged with spying
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ — Paul Salopek, who was traveling in Africa to report on the culture and history of the Sahel for National Geographic magazine, was detained by Sudanese authorities and on Aug. 26 charged with espionage in a North Darfur court in El Fashir, Sudan. National Geographic magazine vigorously protests this accusation and appeals to Sudan for his immediate release and the release of two Chadians assisting him.
Update September 9, 2006:
Salopek, his driver and his interpreter were released after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir pardoned them on September 9.