Home Institution

The University of Texas at Austin

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


Last year the New York Times published a newsworthy article stating that the United States could become “Energy Independent” from the tumultuous OPEC countries. This groundbreaking revelation, supported by statistics from the International Energy Agency, claimed that newfound energy resources were spread throughout North America in the form of shale oil and gas. Politicians and the public clung to this possibility in the face of strenuous relations with the Middle East as the Arab Spring and the War on Terror waged on. However, the consequences of becoming “energy independent” have not been considered. What are the geopolitical implications of pursuing energy independence? What are the effects the search for shale oil and gas will have on more sustainable energy sources, like renewable energy? What will happen as the search for unconventional fuels begin? This research project will focus on these geopolitical questions of renewable energy and the rise of unconventional fossil fuels and end with a policy recommendation based on the information provided in this essay to promote a sustainable energy future.


American Politics | Growth and Development | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability