Fossil energy in a modern world: Managing impacts on water & climate from domestic energy extraction.

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2-17-2021


energy extraction, fossil fuels, water resources


Over the past ten years, horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing (HDHF) has transformed the US energy landscape and disrupted global energy markets. This expansion occurred in rural, residential areas in the Northeastern United States (e.g., Pennsylvania and Appalachia) and amidst great uncertainty regarding the impact on local and national water resources. In this talk, I will present an argument for why we can expect fossil energy extraction to remain part of the US energy grid, what impacts on water resources are demonstrated and absent, and how improvements can be made to protect ecological and public health and reduce the contribution of natural gas extraction to global warming.

Streaming Media


Desirée Plata earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Union College (2003) and her doctoral degree in Chemical Oceanography and Environmental Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Joint Program in Oceanography (2009). Plata is an NSF CAREER Awardee (2016), an Odebrecht-Braskem Sustainable Innovation Awardee (2015), a National Academy of Engineers Frontiers of Engineering Fellow (2012), a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2011, 2013), and a Caltech Resnick Sustainability Fellow (2017). Plata is Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT.