The prosperity we have known up to the present is the consequence of rapidly spending the planet's irreplaceable capital.

- Aldous Huxley

The danger is that global warming may become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already.

- Stephen Hawking

Syllabus: ENV 201 (Fossil Fuels - Use and Effects), Spring, 2012
Lecture: MWF 11:00 - 11:50

Texts (click for reviews):

Oil 101: Morgan Downey

Book available in bookstore at $37.95
Description of Course:

The burning of fossil fuel is by far the primary source of energy for transportation, electricity and the production of heat, making up more than 80% of total energy use. This use of fossil fuel, however, is only temporary as supplies are finite and being rapidly depleted. The effects of this energy use include significant changes to atmospheric CO2 that are resulting in rapid climatic change. This course provides an introduction to the exploration and development of oil, coal and natural gas as well as some of the imporant effects of this use. An understanding of these most important sources of energy of the past century and the present time is necessary to better understand the transtion to future energy sources.
Lab Science course (Geology, Biology or Chemistry)
ENV 110 (Introduction to Environmental Science) or ENV 125 (Introduction to Energy)
Kevin McCartney (office: 302 Folsom, hours: 10:45-12:00)
office phone 768-9482; home phone 492-4766

Above table is is an early draft idea for this course.
No make-up exams unless a valid excuse is given before the missed test.
tests and assignments final grade percents
Test 1 125 pnts A = 90% (522 pnts)
Test 2 125 pnts B = 80% (464 pnts)
Test 3 125 pnts C = 70% (406 pnts)
Introduction 10 pnts D = 60% (348 pnts)
Summary of
current event
3 at 15 pnts each
45 pnts F = below 60% (348 pnts)
Final (cumulative) 150 pnts
Total 580 pnts 580 pnts

A steady improvement in test scores may be used in revising grade upwards. Otherwise, grades will not be curved. Attendance can be taken into account in the case of borderline grades.

If you have a disability and need an accomodation or assistance in this course, please make an appointment to talk with me. If you prefer, you may contact Student Support Services, South Hall.

Course Objectives

Kevin's Education and Test Philosophy

Sample Test Questions

Introduction of Yourself

News Summaries

News Summary Submittal Procedure

Below is a tentative schedule of Fossils Fuels lectures
(Spring, 2012)

Click lecture for day´s quote
Assignments need to be read before class.
# date lecture title reading:
Downey online readings
Part I - Energy and earth cycles
1 1/18 Introduction
2 1/20 Essentials of Geology Submit introduction to yourself
on Blackboard
3 1/23 Interpretation of Strata Hutton-Steno Principles
1/23 Last day to Drop a class
4 1/25 Isostacy and Basin subsidence Isostasy (mathematical)
1/25 Last day to Withdrawl
5 1/27 Interpretation of Geologic Age Age and the Grand Canyon
6 1/30 Relationships of Time and Strata onlapping-offlapping sequences
7 2/1 Essentials of Energy
8 2/3 Electrical Grid How Power Grids Work
9 2/6 Engines and Motors
10 2/8 The Hubbert Curve
11 2/10 National Energy Agency data National Energy Agency
2/10 News Summary 1 due
12 2/13 TEST 1
13 2/15 What is Coal? Sunkhaze Peatland Complex
14 2/17 Geology of Coal http://Coal Overview, from Ohio
(click for 2010 youtube video)
(click for 2011 youtube video)
February 18 - 26, BREAK
15 2/27 Properties and Types of Coal
16 2/29 Properties and Mining of Coal Underground Coal Mining
17 3/2 Mining of Coal Underground Coal Mining
18 3/5 Use, Effects of Coal ch 1:1-29
19 3/7 History of Petroleum Use ch 1:1-29
20 3/9 Development of modern petroleum industry ch 1:1-29
3/9 News Summary 2 due
21 3/12 What is crude and refined oil 2:30-40
22 3/14 Petroleum Chemistry 4:51-61
23 3/16 Test 2
24 3/19 Geology of Petroleum 6:83-97
25 3/21 Oil reservoirs and traps 6:83-97
26 3/23 Interpretation of Subsurface Geology
March 24 - April 1, BREAK
27 4/2 Exploration and Drilling 6:99-124 Offshore Drilling
Gulf Coast
28 4/4 The Drilling Process 6:99-110 BP Spill
29 4/6 Well Drilling and and Service Industries 11:242-276
30 4/9 Service Industries 11:242-276
4/11 University Day
31 4/13 Developing Reservoirs 6:124-142
4/13 Geological Society of Maine meeting, UMPI!
4/13 News Summary 3 due
32 4/16 Transportation of Oil 11:242-276
33 4/18 History of Major Oil Fields Geology of Mideastern Oil
34 4/20 Oil Sands and Shales Marcellus Oil Shale
Methane Hyrdrates
35 4/23 Hydrocarbon Liquid Pollutants
and Low Altitude Atmospheric Pollutants
36 4/25 Test 3
37 4/27 Hydrocarbon Liquid Pollutants
and Low Altitude Atmospheric Pollutants
38 4/30 Global Warming
39 5/2 Political Ramifications of Resource Crises
40 5/4 Biotic Crises and the Ocean Ocean Acidification
Final Exam: Monday, May 7, 11:00-11:50

University of Maine at Presque Isle
Statement of Commitment

As a member of the university, I pledge to
Pursue academic excellence,
Support open inquiry and civil expression,
Listen respectfully to the viewpoints of others,
Participate responsibly in the life of the community,
Conserve and enhance the beauty of the campus, and
Help members of the university realize their potential.

Return to Kevin McCartney's Homepage



  • Be on time to class.
  • Do not leave during the class period unless there is an emergency.
  • Refrain from unnecessary conversation with your neighbors during class.
  • Place all waste in the appropriate waste containers.
  • Do not mark or cut desk, table, or bench tops.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle provides reasonable accommodations upon request to qualified individuals with documented disabilities. Students with documented disabilities have a right to ask for accommodations and are encouraged to talk directly with the responsible faculty member, supervisor or other staff person to explore possible accommodations. For assistance with accommodations or academic support services, contact Mary Kate Barbosa, Director of Student Support Services, South Hall, at 768-9613 or by email at . A copy of the accommodations request form can be found at .


  • Attendance of all scheduled class meetings is a requirement of the course and the student is both responsible and accountable for the information presented and the activities carried out during the class period in accordance with the schedule published in the syllabus for the course.

  • Tests not taken when scheduled and assignments not done and handed in as scheduled will receive a score of zero points unless the student has obtained the instructor's permission to make the test or assignment up or to hand the assignment in late. In such cases the instructor will establish a new schedule for completion which must be met. Permission to make up a test or assignment or to hand an assignment in late will only be considered for documented cases of illness, accident, or written notification of an authorized absence or leave from the university.


The academic community of the University of Maine at Presque Isle recognizes that adherence to high principles of academic integrity is vital to the academic function of the University. Academic integrity is based upon honesty. All students of the University are expected to be honest in their academic endeavors. All academic work should be performed in a manner which will provide an honest reflection of the knowledge and abilities of each student. Any breach of academic honesty should be regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. All students should refer to the policy of the University pertaining to academic honesty published in the current issue of the University of Maine at Presque Isle Student Handbook. Violations of academic honesty include:

  • Receiving or giving aid on examinations.
  • The use of any form of notes or reference material not specifically authorized for use on an exam by the instructor.
  • Any form of plagiarism or dry labbing (making up data) on assignments or exercises.

    If the instructor has reasonable cause to believe that the policies of academic honesty have been violated he will discuss the matter with the individual or individuals involved and, depending on the nature and gravity of the violation, assign the individual or individuals involved a grade of F (zero points) for the violated work or require that the individual or individuals withdraw from the course with a grade of F.

    The University guarantees specific rights to students and there is an Academic Appeals procedure for a student with a grievance concerning alleged violations of the explicitly stated and/or published policies regarding a particular course. Refer to Academic Appeal under the Academic Policies section of the current University Catalog as well as The Student's Bill of Rights and Student Grievances under Section 2 of the current Student Handbook.

    UMPI Writing Center

    Located on the first floor of South Hall, the writing center offers one-on-one consultations for writers at all levels of course work, at all stages of the writing process. Call 768-9615 or stop by to set up an appointment.