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Fracking Frack

April 11, 2013

An even longer day. Notes:

Fuels and Energy Futures (Gary Dirks)

  • we are not running out of carbon
  • we need a transition, but we also don’t want to crash the energy system
  • tar sands vs. oil sands -> implications of language
  • should force the Exxon-Mobile’s to invest in renewables
  • the US is the barrier to climate change policy

Fracking (Mike Godec & Elisa Graffy)

  • semantic argument frames the debate – fracking is just the cracking (industry) vs. fracking is the whole process (public)
  • it’s technically possible to do fracking in a safe way – but unclear that the regulatory process is ensuring that
  • the public sees historical patterns of harm
  • our governance models are outdated
  • it’s really a fight over political influence

Electricity Policy (Frank Laird)

  • we can’t legislate technical transformations
  • regulators are insulated from politics
  • goals: low cost, high reliability, universal service
  • need to have the climate change talk at the regulatory level – ex. wind is better than coal because of the climate impacts
  • the fact that politics are messy does not make them dysfunctional

Smart Grid (Tim Kostyk)

  • tend to subsidize ICT by selling data
  • just because it works doesn’t mean people like it
  • we have an obligation to communicate with the public
  • why do engineers start with the assumption that a new technology should happen?

Then we watched Gasland, which was a surprisingly powerful film. I’ll have to do more digestion later, when I’m less tired.

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