Welcome to EE at Caltech
image David Rutledge

Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Engineering

B.A., Williams College, 1973
M.A., University of Cambridge, 1975
Ph.D., University of California, 1980

Mail Code: 136-93
Phone: (626) 395-4806

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An accurate estimate of the production of oil, gas, and coal in the long run would be helpful for the ongoing policy discussion on alternatives to fossil fuels and climate change. It takes a long time to develop energy infrastructure, and this means it matters whether we have burned 20% of our oil, gas, and coal, or 40%. In modeling climate change, the carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the most important factor. The time frame for the climate response is much longer than the time frame for burning fossil fuels, and this means that the total amount burned is more important than the burn rate. Production of oil, gas, and coal in the long run is traditionally estimated from government geological surveys of oil and gas reservoirs and coal seams, together with an allowance for future discoveries of oil and gas. Where these estimates can be tested, they tend to be too high, and that more accurate estimates can be made by curve fits to the production history.

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   last update: 04/20/2015
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