Feeling the Heat

August 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Here’s another rare, good piece of journalism about peak oil, global warming, and redesigning communities. This is an excellent primer for those who are still getting up to speed on those topics. Highly recommended.

Pabulum to the People, or Purveyors of Petro-Prozac

August 21, 2006 at 11:18 pm
Contributed by: Chris


The ASPO is gearing up for a proper and complete rebuttal to the aforementioned CERA report. Here is a precursor commentary by Randy Udall and Matthew Simmons, “CERA’s Rosy Oil Forecast – Pabulum to the People”. Smart, concise and on-the-money. The bottom line? “Taking such Pollyannish scenarios at face value threatens economic prosperity and national security.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.


BP: Beyond Propaganda

August 18, 2006 at 8:51 pm
Contributed by: Chris


Here’s a fresh perspective, tales from an insider on British Petroleum’s “beyond petroleum” ad campaign. It’s a fun read.


Wishful Thinking: Yergin and the Worry-nots

August 15, 2006 at 10:03 pm
Contributed by: Chris


Whenever the corporate media want to present a “balanced” view of our oil and natural gas problem, there’s one guy they always call upon: Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, or CERA. He’s that benign face on the TV assuring you that we’ll have ample supplies for the foreseeable future, who projects that we’ll add another 40 million barrels per day (mbpd) of production capacity by 2015, magically matching our projected demand. He’s the one who’s opinion is supposed to be as valid as the host of petroleum geologists who make up the ASPO, who say that we’ll hit the peak around 90 mbpd in 2010, or 4 mbpd more than today, in four years.

A Tank Of Gas, A World Of Trouble

August 14, 2006 at 10:12 pm
Contributed by:

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

Chicago Tribune

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.

Welcome (back) to the new GetRealList!

August 4, 2006 at 2:21 am
Contributed by: Chris
Howdy folks,
Well it’s been nearly two years since I last blogged regularly, and it’s high time I got back on my high horse for some high times in the blogosphere. GRL is now sporting a new face (thanks to poddesigns for the new header logo!), on a new version of GeekLog, on a new server, under its own domain name (www.getreallist.com). And along with its new face, it’s got a new mission: educating as many people as possible about the coming energy crunch, and what they can do about it. Never mind the politics, we’ve got a lot of urgent work to do.

The world certainly has changed a lot in the last two years. Peak oil has been covered by many of the mainstream media,
documentaries about global warming and energy and alternative vehicles are out, books about energy are being published at a breakneck pace, and there’s even a peak oil caucus in the House (thanks to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Rep. Mark Udall). Many regular folks are starting to wake up and pay attention to where their energy is coming from, and what that means for geopolitics and American foreign policy. The drumbeat has begun!

On the other hand, most of the reportage I’ve seen is either wrong or politically twisted or just badly done (did anybody see that horrible abortion of a production called “We Were Warned: The Coming Oil Crisis” that CNN did back in March?), and full of misinformation and unreasonable projections. Meanwhile, the White House and Congress are still without any plan to wean us off of oil and natural gas and start making serious tracks to a renewable energy future. In fact, right now their biggest objective is to do more offshore drilling on the continental shelf and in ANWR, with renewable energy investment still a pittance. Apparently they still haven’t gotten the message that we can’t drill our way out of this mess.

I hope I don’t need to tell you that time’s a-wastin’. The ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and
) is projecting that we’ll reach the global production peak of all oil (including the “unconventional oil” category which
includes tar sands, oil shale, polar oil, and ultra-deepwater oil) around 2010-2011, and it looks as though the peak of “conventional oil” (light sweet and heavy sour crude from on-shore, and offshore drilling in shallow to deep water) was last year.
Meanwhile, at the ASPO Conference in Pisa two weeks ago, Robert Hirsch, co-author the now-famous ‘Hirsch Report‘ on mitigation scenarios for the next 50 years, doubts that the world can keep increasing oil flows for much longer. “CERA sees a long plateau ahead,” he said. “But I can’t find a plateau in the data I’m looking at.” The downturn, when it comes,  would take the world by surprise. “Peaking could come with little warning and sharp declines,” he said. His latest projection? We’ll need to spend a trillion dollars a year for the next 20 years, globally, to come up with adequate substitutes and mitigation plans.
Also at the conference, Chris Skrebowski said we have 1500 days to prepare for the peak..er, make that 1486 days, give or take. Hm, that’s not much time to muster the political and popular support for spending a trillion a year, certainly not at our current rate. So there is still plenty of work for me to do, getting the story straight and educating as many
people as possible about energy. 
This is where you come in.
Please invite your friends and associates to join the GRL mailing list and help me rebuild the readership! Your help will
enable me to start producing some revenue from the blog and establish a basis for some much more ambitious public education projects I am contemplating.
I hope you enjoy the new GRL and its new focus on all things energy. I love to hear from you, so don’t be shy, drop me an email or a headsup on anything you think might be relevant!

Stay tuned, much more to come!



Living on the Banks of Denial

July 28, 2005 at 8:47 pm
Contributed by: Chris

It’s been a long time since my last, pre-election blog. I made several false starts at resuming it since then, but the words just weren’t coming. But my reading and learning has continued unabated, and now it’s time to share some thoughts.

But before I get into that, I have to let you know that the time has also come to say goodbye to betterworld.com. It’s a sad development for me personally, but the offer and the timing was right. (It will be sold to a fine and altruistic organization called Better World Books.) I will be moving Better World to a new domain. This blog will be located at http://www.getreallist.com. So they will be offline for a while as I make the transition, and this will probably be my last blog at the current site.

GetRealList will also be taking a few turns. First, it will focus almost exclusively on energy, because my conviction has been steeled that energy is all that matters going forward. Politics, at least in the US, is all but a lost endeavor at this point. The corruption of our leadership and media, and the revolving door between politics and big business, has effectively nullified any real hope for working within the system for change and for the welfare of the common man. This era belongs to the captains of industry, and there’s really no time left to turn the ship around, even if populists did manage to gain some control over it again.

Second, it will be less oriented to disseminating information, and more focused on my opinions. I have learned that those who are willing to do their own research can find the information themselves, and those who aren’t, didn’t read the articles I was sending around anyway.

And finally, it will be a lot less concerned with building consensus, and a lot more about cutting straight to the truth, as I see it.

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