by Vaclav Smil
American Enterprise Institute
July 01, 2014
Complex changes do not bring unalloyed benefits, and the United States’ natural gas boom is no exception. Rather than adhering to a simplistic infatuation with new riches, we should recognize a number of already obvious complications and ask a number of necessary questions. How long the boom will last and what levels the extraction will reach are two such questions, the answers to which have been revised up and down by a number of credible estimators. External consequences are equally uncertain. The US regaining its status as the world’s top natural gas exporter is certain to effect a strategic realignment in countries around the world, but exactly what that realignment will look like remains unclear. As is always the case in the early phases of any rapid development of new energy sources, it is too soon to offer assured, balanced verdicts.

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