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Fracked Gas Won’t Achieve Paris Climate Goals, But Empowering Communities Could


Fracked Gas Won’t Achieve Paris Climate Goals, But Empowering Communities Could

Josh Fox

The United States is undergoing a massive energy transition that isn’t receiving enough attention, and it could render the Paris climate agreement meaningless. We’re swapping one climate-damaging fuel, coal, for another that is actually worse: fracked gas.


Mr. Fox points out how government needs to fix climate change. The federal government should mandate all communities to install renewables! However our government permits these pipelines to be constructed instead.

That is why electing Bernie is so important. Hillary and the repubs will simply allow the corporate oligarchy status quo to dictate solutions that don’t solve anything. Gas looks better than coal on paper but it isn’t in the real world.

We need the anti oligarchy candidate’s carbon tax and plan to install renewables on a governmental level.

Vote for Bernie… not the duopoly. Vote to make the government start to do something meaningful about climate change - Vote for Bernie!!!


Yes! Watch what Obama, Kerry, and all official US info releases on climate change and plans to address it say - they refer only to carbon pollution, not to methane, a primary greenhouse gas released by natural gas production and use that is 50-86 times more potent than CO2.

Yes also on local community action. We need the governments (fed and state) to release communities from the shackles to let them take action. For example, in North Carolina the legislature is totally in the pocket of Duke Energy the utility monopoly and won’t permit things like 3rd party sales of solar and decentralization of energy control that would allow communities to take charge of their energy futures.


This is a welcome article and a welcome film, and thanks to Fox for doing both and to CD for presenting this here.

I feel compelled to repeat an objection that comes up shamefully often: slipping fracking in under the public radar is not at all contradictory with Obama administration policy; it is quite representative of it in the extremity of both its abuse and its deceit. Obama started his first administration by signing through permissions for invasive and destructive coal mining all through the Appalachians, he has pushed for a renewal of horrifically damaging nuclear power plants, he has spread violence across thousands upon thousands of square miles of the globe in search of hydrocarbon monopolies, and now he has signed through permissions for fracking.

Throughout all of this, over seven years, he has managed so deceitful a rhetorical presence that someone like Fox, someone well informed in some way and well intentioned in some way, can find it appropriate for whatever reason to at least make some rhetorical gesture as though such things were not central to Obama’s policy, to administration policy, or to the policy of the elected leadership of the Democratic Party.

Maybe it seems like a petty thing to kvetch so over words, but for here and for now and likely for the better, words are what we are sharing. When I see what appears to me a willingness on the part of active and informed parties to turn a blind eye on such clear and extensive abuse, it brings on me a despair with our discourse and a despair with the scraps of democratic process that have survived our weakness and our recent bouts of so-called “privatization”–and our despair.

Can it be that we have arrived at a point at which the processes that we call democratic, such as these are, are not only inadequate but useless or worse, simply the excuse of abusive power? I note Chris Hedges’ recent observations in that direction not with a sense of certain disagreement, but certainly with a sense of alarm (http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/12/28/illusion-freedom).

Violence is a constant fellow in these matters, but not a friend. Violence does not clean or clarify, does not cause people to face realities. Instead, it brings negations, denial, secrets and lies, and almost always a centralization of power.

It seems to me that at the very least in his call for community here, Fox is well aimed. The large businesses that call themselves “global,” the imperial government that would call itself a global player and leader have proven themselves not unresponsive but enemies, and fearsome enemies. It seems to me that Fox and others would be wiser to use rhetoric that did not obscure that, and that is part of why I admire other aspects of the point he makes: I cannot imagine how we might respond effectively without gathering ourselves and creating networks of assistance and solidarity at relatively local levels or populating and extending those that exist.

I am not willing to say that participation in elections is useless. It seems to me an act of hubris to imagine that I could analyze things so closely as to know. But I will say that it is clearly and overwhelmingly and woefully inadequate. It seems to me that we have to withdraw our material support for the abuse, and that we can only do so piecemeal and progressively. I suspect that this is part of what is meant or should be meant by “community”: international information and international solidarity, but local purchases and services and resources and resource-distribution.

It has to be done from the bottom up, as a living thing, a self-organizing, complex system. But in self-organizing, communities will need some broader solidarity between them to meet the coming backlash from ruling classes, which will surely be fierce and violent, particularl if government and business are allowed something like their current impunity.


The Clean Power Plan leaves it up to the states how to meet the regulations. Certainly a combination of energy efficiency measures and renewables should be used. It is not even clear if the Clean Power Plan will ever go into effect. The states with Republican governors are suing the federal government to stop the plan. If they lose it hard to see why they won’t turn to natural gas. After all, most of the governors are probably climate change deniers. If the price of natural gas remains low I would expect that natural gas will play a large role in meeting the regulations. If there is a positive about using natural gas versus coal other than less CO2 emissions it is that natural gas burns much cleaner and therefore doesn’t cause the serious air pollution problems associated with burning coal. But certainly the use of natural gas should be minimized in making the transition to clean energy.


The federal government should not be mandating renewables in communities. The federal government needs to maintain a cooperative relationship with the states on this stuff and in turn the states need to maintain a cooperative relationship with their local communities. The implementation of renewables must be based partly on incentives and on newewable standards set by the states. A big incentive to switch to renewables would be a carbon tax and we do need that. I actually think all the Democratic candidates are committed to moving things along. My concern is a Republican president would essentially bring things to halt even in the face of intense international pressure to reduce emissions.


The Chasing Ice graphic was most impressive


Excellent points but there is the limited time element to factor in. We need to switch off fossil fuels quickly and I think allowing this graduated step by step process of local community to state to federal lengthens and slows that rate of change.

Yes we need to do as you say but we ALSO have to have the federal government provide an umbrella of incentives that encourage the states to make state incentives more comprehensive. Individual states would end up with a variety of incentives and without the federal gov’t. incentives to even out the playing field it would become unworkable or less workable.

The fed provides incentives to the states and to individuals - the states to local communities and individuals too and so forth. A broad net of differing incentives open to all segments of society will move things along much faster.

A conservative state may lag far behind a more progressive state’s incentive programs. That discourages investments by out of state corporations and investors etc. Some uniformity needs to be regulated. A diversity of choices but applied equally across the nation. Not just in certain states and not others.


I think the more top down the process is the more law suits there will be. The Clean Power Act could be overturned in court. I think there is a possibility that courts will find that the federal government cannot make these regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants based on the Clear Air Act. For many things the executive branch cannot act without legislation passed by Congress. I don’t know under what law they could require more renewables. Perhaps only an executive order is needed. The situation is that there is strong resistance from the Republican Party both in Congress and in many states to doing things that would hurt the fossil fuel industry or in some cases lose jobs. Because of a number of factors it appears that renewables can only be deployed so quickly. This has been a very frustrating situation given the need for urgent action.


I said the fed gov’t. not just the executive. Nevertheless I believe that were Bernie to win that the resulting public support for real change would make a lot happen. Obama never fought for change but Bernie sure as hell will and two years in there would be a plethora of reform minded candidates at the mid term. Bernie would open the door that oligarchy wants to slam shut and keep it shut.