Steven Koonin & Unsettled: Cooking oil

Koonin who was chief scientist for BP, barely touches the elephant in the room (significant global oil depletion) in his anti-climate science diatribe “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters“. Checking Google Books for references to oil, it started out promising, thinking he would discuss why renewable energy was important, independent of any climate change considerations:

Page 3

Instead he discusses cooking oil, spread over several pages, in reference to a Richard Feynman parable on deceptive advertising.

Page 7
Page 10
Page 24

On page 33, a mention of crude (not cooking) oil, although the context is missing, perhaps referring to methane concentrations?

Page 33

But then back to cooking oil! Twice!

Page 119
Page 172

After 200 some pages, a few factual statements on supply and demand for fossil fuels and the difficulty of carbon capture.

Page 227
Page 243

That’s it. The book’s index only points to page 243 relevant to oil, which is consistent with Google Book’s search.


The book is a smokescreen, with the intention of smearing climate science so as to avoid discussing the obvious No Regrets strategy for addressing rapidly declining oil reserves. No discussion of this on Rogan’s podcast with Koonin either. Oil companies do not want this discussed so they can continue to squeeze investment $$$ to find the meager and scant remaining reserves.

Koonin’s book is a bait and switch, which is to put the emphasis on the least existential crisis. Today we are globally using over 35 billion barrels of oil per year, but discovering less than 5 billion per year. That’s equivalent to having an annual income of $5,000 while spending as if you earn $35,000 — not close to sustainable after the savings you have runs out.

One thought on “Steven Koonin & Unsettled: Cooking oil

  1. How Koonin got cimate science wrong, which is a separate topic

    I Think Koonin is misguided based on his experience with computational physics. Koonin says “Climate is a chaotic system” on Rogan’s show. Not true, it is straightforward to model as a deterministic system. The fact that we may be able to control a metastable fusion reaction in a toroidal topological configuration suggests that metastable climate behaviors such as ENSO and QBO are predictable. Koonin may think everything is chaotic


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