Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism
What differences do you see in the manner in which the webloggers address the issue? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of forum on this issue in particular?
Note the British and Canadian publications; do they treat subject matter differently?
Of all the mediums I lay out for you, which is the most critical of America? The most optimistic? Pessimistic? Is this what you’d expect?
Look at Paul Ehrlich’s prophetic article in USA Today. “If the nation had continued its efforts to become energy-efficient, there’d be no need for 400,000 Americans to risk their lives to keep gas-guzzlers running.” He made this statement in 1991. Did he predict the future correctly? Has our government responded in the manner he suggested? He obviously had a good handle on what was happening, do you think he conveyed the seriousness of the situation well enough in his op-ed piece? How could he have done this better?
If you could graph your own ‘Oil Optimism’ curve since the start of the new century based on the material I’ve presented for you in this case, how would it go?
Note how many popular articles about peak oil take the format of relying solely on one expert (someone coming to town for a conference, or someone who has just published a book). While there are risks with this method, we are only given one viewpoint; there are also benefits, in that we get a thorough understanding as to where this one mind is coming from. It is a marked contrast from the ‘interview as many and as diverse sources as possible and put tons of opposing one-liners into your piece’ style of reporting we are more accustomed to in these cases. Do you enjoy this style of sapping all the info out of one expert? What are the benefits? Drawbacks?
What do you think of the content and style in the webloggers? Is this valid journalism? Why do you think this topic generates such a response amongst the weblogging community?
Is there a ‘smoking-gun’ in this case?
Given someone is at fault for this whole situation, who do you think it is? Who do the media seem to think it is? (If no one can be blamed then what is the cause?)
What other events in history do authors relate the ‘end of oil’ to? What would you compare it to?
Many articles try to use the ‘fact’ that we’re running out of oil to make the case for a switch to alternative energies. Others suggest we can continue to burn fossil fuels, but just do it cleaner? Based on today’s science and technology, which path is more reasonable to rely on? Do you see a journalistic bias towards one of these outcomes?
How long do you think this story will remain prominent in the media?
http://geology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=geology&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwhyfiles.news.wisc.edu%2F100oil%2Findex.html – Why Files
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale - Wikipedia
Stork, Joe. Middle East Oil and the Energy Crisis. Monthly Review Press: NY, 1975.
Schurr, Sam H. & Homan, Paul T. Middle Eastern Oil and the Western World – Prospects and Problems. Elsevier: NY, 1971.
Deffeyes, Kenneth S. Beyond Oil – The view from Hubbert’s Peak. Hill and Wang: NY, 2005.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/info_glance/petroleum.html - Dept. Of Energy, Energy Information Administration
Fears depletion of oil reserve. The New York Times. April 12, 1925.
O’Toole Thomas. U.S. Energy Crisis: Light Dims at End of the Tunnel. The Washington Post. April 14, 1972.
MacKenzie, James J. After the Oil Glut. The New York Times. November 6, 1982.
Stevens, William K. Oil exacts a price from the Earth. The New York Times. April 2, 1989.
Mathews, Jessica Tuchman. The Era of Cheap Energy is Over. The Washington Post. August 30, 1990.
Ehrlich, Paul. USA Today. January 2, 1991.
Kerr, R.A. The Next Oil Crisis Looms Large—and Perhaps Close. Science. 281: 1128-1131, 1998.
Duncan, R.C. & Youngquist, W. Encircling the Peak of World Oil Production. Natural Resources Research. 8: 219-232, 1999.
Hall, C., Tharakan, P., Hallock, J., Cleveland, C., & Jefferson, M. Hydrocarbons and the evolution of human culture. Nature. 426: 318-322, 2003.
Guseo, R. & Dalla Valle, A. Oil and gas depletion: Diffusion models and forecasting under strategic intervention. Statistical Methods & Applications. 14: 375-387, 2005.
Vidal, John. Global Warning: End of an era: New technologies may see the end of the carbon age that began with the industrial revolution and spread across the globe to the developing world. The Guardian. January 29, 2002.
Heinberg, Richard. Green Anarchism and Oil Depletion; How close is the Collapse? Fifth Estate. Summer 2004.
Ball, Jeffrey. Dire Preophecy: As Prices Soar, Doomsayers Provoke Debate on Oil’s Future; In a 1970’s Echo, Dr. Campbell Warns Supply Is Drying Up, But Industry Isn’t Worried; Charges of ‘Malthusian Bias.’ The Wall Street Journal. September 21, 2004.
Keefe-Feldman, Mike. Apocalypse…how? The End of Suburbia as we know it. Missoula Independent. May 26-June 2, 2005.
Hertsgaard, Mark. In for a Crude Awakening. The Washington Post. August 31, 2005.
The oiloholics. The Economist. August 27-September 2, 2005.
Op Ed. Crunch makes fuel options mandatory As world oil supplies fade, alternative energy sources are needed to brighten America’s future. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. September 5, 2004.
Defotis, Dimitra. How Close Is Hubbert’s Peak? Barron’s. October 3, 2005.
Edwards, John D. Energy in the 21st century World will have to rely on fossil fuels to renewables. Denver Post. December 4, 2005.
Abraham, Kera. Richard Heinberg; Peak Oil Educator. Eugene Weekly. January 5, 2006.
Sutherland, J. G2: The ideas interview: Mark Jaccard: Fossil fuels can keep the world going, and they need not be dirty, the energy expert tells John Sutherland. January 31, 2006.
Phillips, Paul. The American Empire Meets Peak Oil. Canadian Dimension. January-February 2006.
Laherrere, J.H. Focus exploration: World oil supply—what goes up must come down, but when will it peak? Oil & Gas Journal. 97: 57-63, 1999.
Gas Summit to seek answers soon to unease over supply, price in U.S. Inside Energy. June 23, 2003.
Bridgman, Geoffrey. “Peaking” Into Oil’s Future. Chemical Equipment. July 2005.
Energy Trends and Implications for U.S. Army Installations. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. September 2005. www.erdc.usace.army.mil
www.peakoil.com – ‘A community and collaboration portal.’
www.EnergyBulletin.com, EnergyBulletin - comprehensive energy blog.
www.crookedtimber.com, Crooked Timber (Out of the Crooked Timber of humanity. No straight thing was ever made). March 23, 2006.
Amanda Kovattana, Beyond petroleum. http://amandakovattana.blogspot.com/. March 2006.
Hopkins, Rob. Can We Use Fear as a Motivator for Change. Transtion Culture (An Evolving Explanation into the Head, Heart, and Hands, of Energy Descent). http://transitionculture.org/. March 29, 2006.
Price, David. Energy and Human. Die Off, www.dieoff.org. March 2006.
Staff. Top 10 U.S. cities best prepared for an oil crisis. SustainLane.com (The Web’s best community resource for healthy and sustainable living. March 25, 2006.
Nuline, Aaron. I feed me. Powering Down (A discussion on peak oil with an emphasis on relocalization as a response for North Carolina and the greater southeast. April 2006.
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