Fossil Fuels, Truth & the N.Y. Times

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reality is bad for business. What’s good for business is the fantasy. — Richard Heinberg

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A top story on page 1 in yesterday’s New York Times, headed “Frackers Fail, But Executives Reap Millions: Taxpayers Could Bear High Cleanup Costs,”* by Hiroko Tabuchi, conerns the failure of fracking operations around the country.

It’s beautifully done, a must-read article. The reason that some energy companies are “hurtling toward bankruptcy at a pace not seen in years” is “a global price war and a pandemic that has slashed demand.” In the same fourth paragraph “a potential environmental disaster” is noted: “unprofitable wells that will be abandoned or left untended, even as they continue leaking planet-warming pollutants ….”

For me, the story recalled the newspaper’s consistent shutout of a host of researchers and writers, some of them from the inside petroleum industry, who predicted this years ago, coronavirus pandemic or no coronavirus pandemic. My impression is that they were uniformly non-existent in the pages of Times, their books unreviewed and their views barely acknowledged—the same treatment the newspaper accords to 9/11 “truthers.”

See THIS quick response by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute to a 2014 column, titled “Errors and Emissions,” by a Nobel Prize-winning Times columnist, headed “Paul Krugman’s Errors and Omissions,” which links to Krugman’s column. To my knowledge, Heinberg’s name has never appeared in the Times, a distinction he shares with other prescient authorities on energy matters.

— Mark Channing Miller

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* The link is to the article as carried in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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