Burger Receives Harold Brown Faculty Fellowship

Nick Burger

February 28, 2013
The Pardee RAND Graduate School is pleased to announce that Professor Nick Burger has been awarded the first Harold Brown Faculty Fellowship for exploratory work on the relationship between shale gas resources and greenhouse gas emissions.

Endowed by RAND Trustee and former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, the Faculty Fellowship is designed to support a RAND researcher working on an important policy issue confronting the United States that is also of interest to students. In keeping with the goal of having PRGS serve as the engine of innovation at RAND, the application committee sought topics that move beyond issues where RAND clients are currently willing and able to provide funding.

Burger, working with PRGS students Kun Gu and Min Mao, submitted a proposal for "Estimating the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Implications of Abundant Shale Gas Resources in the United States."

As stated in this proposal, "The United States has developed substantial shale gas resources in the last decade, and shale-based natural gas now constitutes one-quarter of the domestic gas supply. ... Despite the many benefits of producing shale gas domestically, environmental concerns associated with natural gas extraction have prompted researchers to look closely at the environmental externalities of production."

The team proposes to answer the following policy questions through their research:

  1. How would different natural gas price scenarios impact the development and deployment of renewable energies?
  2. How would different natural gas price scenarios change U.S. GHG emission reduction pathways?
  3. How do policies designed to promote renewable energy development interact with and affect the GHG implications of increased natural gas use, and what policy options can help the U.S. achieve long-term carbon reduction while taking advantage of abundant domestic natural gas?

The Brown Faculty Fellowship is a two-year grant. In the first year, the team will focus on understanding the existing models and the literature on modeling the GHG implications of resource development. In the second year of the grant, they plan to fully develop a new model to estimate the GHG implications of shale gas development.