Conspiracy Watch: Drill, Corsi, Drill

Oil not from living organisms

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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the conspiracy: Oil is the product not of ancient microorganisms, but of a chemical reaction deep beneath the earth’s crust. So no matter what the doomsayers claim, we’ll never run out of the stuff—which means the oil companies are massively ripping us off at the pump.

the conspiracy theorists: Cold War Russian scientists looking for homegrown energy sources first came up with the idea of “abiotic oil.” (Abiotic: not from living organisms.) The theory was refined by former Swift Boater and Conspiracy Watch favorite Jerome Corsi, also the author of The Obama Nation. Corsi’s 2005 Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil posits that crude is an unlimited resource. So where is it, then? Corsi says we need to look “where we have never looked—even deeper in the world’s seas.” Now that’s offshore drilling.

meanwhile, back on earth: Giora Proskurowski, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, recently discovered small amounts of hydrocarbons forming through an abiotic process deep in the Atlantic. The abiotic oil believers have seized on his findings, but Proskurowski says sorry—talk of bottomless, Saudi-free oil is “a pipe dream.”

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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