Help me write my next book

MuseLetter #250 / March 2013 by Richard Heinberg


I’m busy working on my next book titled SNAKE OIL! How Big Energy’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, and would really appreciate your participation. The book is going to debunk big energy’s misleading promise of plenty, by presenting the facts of our energy predicament. It is really crucial that this book is available quickly, as time is running out to act on this issue. With that in mind I’m trying a new community publishing model for the book, and would love for you to be involved. Learn more about it via the video link and description below, or go directly to the campaign page.

I’ll have my introduction draft finished shortly and look forward to hearing and incorporating feedback from my Merry Band of Editors. You can join them, pre-order the book, and help me fight Big Energy by signing up.

Thanks for your support. Normal Museletter service will resume in the near future.

Download printable PDF version of this Museletter here (PDF, 103 KB)



Okay, maybe not save the world. That’s a work in progress. Yet, as most of you know, the oil & gas industry is lying to us. And the consequences of these lies affects everyone we know. These consequences aren’t esoteric, or limited to prices at the gas pump. They shape the very face of the planet and impact the quality of life of every living creature. Help us fight back against Big Oil’s billion-dollar spin machine.
The Story
We’re being told that — thanks to technological advances like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling — the US is undergoing an energy revolution, leading us in a few short years to become once again the world’s biggest oil producer and an exporter of natural gas. According to the Oil & Gas Industry and their proponents, “fracking” will provide the US with energy security, low energy prices for the foreseeable future, more than a million jobs, and economic growth. And they tell us that we can frack our way to independence without hurting the environment.
The Reality
This is beyond absurd. The energy abundance of the so-called “Shale Revolution” will be short-lived, while the environmental, economic and societal costs of this drilling frenzy will last for generations.
Help us expose these lies and turn the tide in the ultimate fight against greed by pre-ordering and participating in the writing and editing of Richard Heinberg’s next book, SNAKE OIL! How Big Energy’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future.


In SNAKE OIL! Richard will directly confront the widespread hype about fracking and America’s potential to become energy independent. This hype has infected environmental organizations as well as the mainstream media, so one chapter will attempt to disentangle thinking about climate change and peak oil.
Another chapter will dissect the relationship between fracking and Wall Street, showing that shale is the latest financial bubble being blown by the big investment banks. We’ll also see why other unconventional sources of oil and gas are unlikely to change the overall trend of fossil fuel decline that will characterize the remainder of the current century.
In many respects, this book is an update of the peak oil story for the post-fracking era. It focuses, more than any of Richard’s previous books, on the culpability of the oil industry for actively discouraging awareness and action on climate change and peak oil (hence the title).


  • $5500: This small amount will cover the book’s publishing costs. These include the cover art, layout, formatting, interior design, conversion to ebook and, we hope, just a smidgeon of marketing. Any additional funds will go toward putting free copies into the hands of anti-fracking activists, to equip them with powerful and unassailable arguments.   
  • Your Participation: Using the Community Engagement Model of publishing, we’re inviting those interested in this hugely significant topic to weigh in as Richard’s editors as he moves through the writing process. We’ll also ask for your thoughts on the cover artwork and overall distribution strategy. SNAKE OIL is a print-on-demand book, meaning it will be shipped to you as soon as it’s finished. 


  • Hopefully, more than anything, a WIN. That is, a book that, like Richard’s previous work, has a direct impact on public opinion, behavior and legislature. 
  • Beyond that, as you’ll see in the perks, we’ll provide to you a special edition of the book, autographed copies, limited edition art prints and all kinds of recognition for recognizing that this is a critical fight at a critical time.
  • Participation: You get to help shape a book that will have a real impact.
  • A copy of the book! For those who pre-order at the $20 and above mark, you’ll get a limited edition “Merry Band of Editors” version. 


This isn’t a symbolic protest. Or an online call to change the world through LIKES and SHARES. No, this is a real world book. And historically, few human endeavors have had as much impact as the written word, especially when its put in the hands of motivated citizens out to shift the public conversation.
Yes, Big Oil can outspend all of us, but they can only fool us into complacency if we let them.
Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email
  • Idiolect

    Is honesty the best policy? We are facing a die-off. There is not any course of action that will keep us all healthy. Perhaps lying is actually a good tactic for avoiding panic. Some who see through the hype will do what they can ( transition, etc) but some will despair. Many people would not to know the consumer lifestyle is doomed; they have nothing else.

  • tahoevalleylines

    Continually we suggest Richard Heinberg provide readers a solid presentation of whys & wherefores of local railway connectivity as indispensable component of the Post Carbon solution set. Will railway methodology and Parallel Bar Therapy genius as “Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform” appear in the very last of Richard’s book series? We can’t wait until things completely unravel…

    As Richard Heinberg tarries, there are examples of renewable energy applications to rail propulsion in China, Africa and, a new Scandinavian railway tunnel line taps wind & solar electricity for railway motive power. United States examples of renewable generation partnered with railway remain on the drawing board; “Retail Railways” is an obscure web page with some info, but this is scant comfort considering the scope of the Post-Carbon transport challenge about to wreak havoc in North America.

    Boone Pickens’ Natural Gas proposal for long-haul trucking is stalled, and Pickens has no ideas about bringing railways into his plan so far. Nobody in these renewable discussion pages seems cognizant of the fact imminent Middle East meltdown will affect US transport for years, unfortunately… Maybe some can follow sites like “Al-Monitor” and update their respective circles?

    So, back to Prof. Heinberg: How do you stand, sir?

  • John McVicker

    One way to make commuter electric railways more renewable is to get people who commute to them to drive more electric cars. In the NE corridore, many NJ, PA, DE, MD and so on residents drive to the train station and take mass transit to their big-cities. Very few drive electric vehicles today but this is changing every day. It will take decades to get people to drive more efficient or even electric cars but electrifying the rails only solves the rail’s energy-usage problem. There is a whole lot more energy used by the sum total of the commuters in their one-person vehicles getting to and from the station.

  • John McVicker

    The Die-off will not happen internationally until the planet hits 9-billion people mid-century. Then, through education and economic variance, it should drop back down to some manageable number. We don’t know the future and should something really bad happen (supervolcano, big meteorite, virus) – then you have your die-off. People are living longer now and in countries of high infant mortality, they are using medicines to keep the kids alive – thus allowing population bloom. Organizatoins like the One campaign (Bono and company) are actually helping create an unsustainable future by addressing infant mortality in Africa. Richard should write a book called “Welcome to 2050″ to outline how things may look at that point.