with Dennis Meadows, UNH
Greatly expanded use of hydrofracturing to produce oil and gas in the United States has reversed recent declines in domestic output of both fossil fuels and generated enormous optimism about the energy/economic future of our country - For example a recent report by Merrill Lynch stated: "An economic revival is taking hold in the U.S.," .. "is well on its way to becoming energy-independent," and "we could end up with the cost of energy to U.S. manufacturers returning to what it was in the …’60s."
This ebullience is, unfortunately, founded on gross ignorance about the physical realities involved in the production of fossil fuels from tight formations. I will summarize some relevant data to suggest that the surge of oil and gas from fracking is a short-lived bubble and explain why there is prevalent optimism about our energy future. It is essential that engineers who will practice in the 21st century design their services and products to be compatible with persistent high energy prices.
Limits to the use of nonrenewable resources played an important role in our 1972 report on the long-term causes and consequences of physical growth on the planet Earth. In my Jones Seminar talk, I will describe our original assumptions and reflect on how understanding has changed during the past 4 decades.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.