Conspiracy Watch: Drill, Corsi, Drill

Oil not from living organisms

Illustration: Peter Hoey

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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!)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest