Could Fracking Actually Be Good for Climate Change?


Have they Studies Fracking Enough to Say it's Risks Outweigh Natural Gas' Climate Change Busting Merits?
Have they Studies Fracking Enough to Say it’s Risks Outweigh Natural Gas’ Climate Change Busting Merits?

I’m having a hard time seeing how this is possible, but could fracking for natural gas actually be good for climate change?

According to all research on the subject, climate change is being effected by a drastic increase in carbon dioxide emissions, specifically since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was fired, literally, by the mass application of fossil fuels in power production and internal combustion engines, leading to the rise in carbon dioxide levels. In fact, carbon dioxide levels have never been this high, breaching 400 ppm (parts per million) in March. The last major peak was 320,000 years ago, a little over 300 ppm.

Clearly, carbon dioxide reduction needs to be at the top of our list of things to do if we’re going to address climate change at its source, us. Fuel efficiency improvements aren’t enough, however, as it still involved the use of fossil fuels. Getting rid of coal-fired power plants and moving to renewable-energy, even in the transportation sector, is seeing slow improvement. One fuel supply seeing a surge of development, natural gas via fracking, could be considered a very important part of the solution, and even climate change scientists have said so, in the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report.

Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and it seems we need a few decades to wean ourselves from the fossil-fuel addiction. Still, natural gas generates less carbon dioxide, which is of a concern to climate change scientists. Switching power plants and vehicles over to natural gas could slow climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but there’s another side of the coin that the climate change scientists overlooked in their report. What about fracking (hydraulic fracturing), the current-best method for extracting natural gas from the shale it’s been hidden in for millennia?

Are the problems with fracking, absolutely necessary to increase utilization of natural gas, less than those of improving fuel economy and moving toward renewable energy in a bigger way? I can agree on the natural gas front, but it seems that climate change scientists have ignored a critical issue with fracking.

Photo credit: Maryland Sierra Club / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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