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Energy Abundance and the Environment: An Interview with Meghan L. O’Sullivan, Part 2

  • Scott Nyquist
| Apr. 03, 2019

Meghan O’Sullivan is a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the director of its Geopolitics of Energy project. She also has real-world experience in the subject, having served as a special assistant to the president and Deputy National Security Adviser in the George W. Bush administration, including two years in Iraq.  In 2017, O’Sullivan published Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power.

The subtitle tells the story. In the early 2000s, many pundits and politicians talked up “peak oil”, “energy scarcity,” and all that. In a geological heartbeat later—about a decade—the world had entered an era of “energy abundance,” largely due to innovations that allowed producers to crack into shale formations to release massive new sources of oil and gas. The United States has gone furthest and fastest in fracking and is setting records for oil and gas production. For the US, says O’Sullivan, this has been an economic, strategic, and environmental game-changer. For the rest of the world, the effects are more differentiated but hardly less profound.

O’Sullivan agreed to chat with me about her book, and related subjects. What follows is an edited transcript of our discussion, which she has approved.

NOTE: This is the second part of a two-part interview. The first interview focused on how the new abundance of energy is changing geopolitics.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Nyquist, Scott.“Energy Abundance and the Environment: An Interview with Meghan L. O’Sullivan, Part 2.” LinkedIn, April 3, 2019.

The Author


Meghan O'Sullivan