News | September 22, 2011

Drilling Down


New book takes readers beyond the finger-pointing and political punditry to the underlying causes of the Gulf oil spill catastrophe

While news of the tragic Gulf oil spill has faded from nightly television newscasts and newspaper front pages, the underlying complex causes of the tragic accident are still with us today. In their new book Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma, Joseph Tainter and Tadeusz Patzek explain the real causal factors leading up to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history.

This disaster was not an isolated incident. The same processes and causal factors are at work in all areas of society from technology to business operations to government oversight, and even drive many of the everyday challenges of modern life.

Tad Patzek, a world expert on oil technology, and Joseph A. Tainter, one of our foremost social commentators and author of The Collapse of Complex Societies, join forces to:

  • Lead you on a fascinating tour from the events on the Deepwater Horizon to the processes in society that made the tragedy nearly inevitable
  • Explain the energy-complexity spiral that governs our way of life
  • Take you beyond the headlines, finger pointing, and political punditry to the underlying causes of the Gulf catastrophe
  • Help decision-makers from all walks of life to understand the risks and challenges of managing complex organizations
  • Discuss energy options for the future

Praise for Drilling Down
In this book, Joseph Tainter and Tadeusz Patzek use the Gulf oil spill as a point of entry to discuss our energy future. For those of us who watched the oil spill from afar, this book provides the technical background to help us understand it, something that was never available from the media. For those like me, who are interested in the role of energy in the rise and fall of civilizations, this is a must read. --Lester R. Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge Joseph A. Tainter is Professor of Sustainability in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University. Dr. Tainter worked on issues of sustainability before the term became common, and wrote the highly acclaimed book The Collapse of Complex Societies. His current research focuses on sustainability, energy, and innovation.

Tad Patzek is the Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Professor and Chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Patzek's current research involves mathematical and numerical modeling of earth systems with emphasis on fluid flow in the subsurface soils and rocks. He briefed Congress on the BP Deepwater Horizon well disaster in the Gulf, and was a frequent guest on NPR, ABC, BBC, CNN, and CBS programs.

SOURCE: Springer