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The Coal vs. Fracking Canard


The Coal vs. Fracking Canard

Mitch Jones

Following a recent report from the Department of Energy that 66 percent of natural gas produced in the United States comes from fracked wells and news that March was the third straight “hottest month ever,” Mother Jones has published a piece – for a second time this year – that argues that fracking for natural gas


Clear headed thinking here! He points out how behind the scenes the pro fracking forces gained two big wins despite the talk by Obama. Obama never says no but only that we shouldn't! That is not much help. A useful fact based article but maybe the time has come for scientists to help organize protest as well as explaining why we need to protest.


I would say coal is worse than fracking for natural gas because carbon dioxide lasts over 100 years in the atmosphere and methane about 10 years on average, and burning coal results in high levels of toxin emissions that are a serious health threat whereas the toxic emissions from burning natural gas are much lower. So from a global warming perspective it is debatable but from a public health perspective it is not. But the US needs energy. Almost 80% of all our energy comes from fossil fuels. So the issue is not whether to make the transition but how. Since coal is the greatest source of US greenhouse gas emissions phasing out coal burning should have the top priority. That means we simply can't ban fracking but need to phase it out slightly slower than we phase out coal. Oil will probably the last to be phased out because it the most difficult fossil fuel to replace being liquid and widely used in transportation. Secretary of State John Kerry said we have to stop using fossil fuels for energy. If the US government gets it at the highest levels this should be something that the US can accomplish. But the US goals are still too weak. The goals need to be more aggressive. That is one reason why we have to keep fighting for faster action. At the pace we are on it looks like reaching 4C is quite likely. At this point 4C should no longer be in the discussion but it is.


Didn't you just mention CO2E the other day? Why not today?

pound for pound methane is 25 times as destructive as CO2 over a hundred year time span. Let's see if you can figure out that one. Methane is shorter lived than CO2 in the atmosphere. Given a 100 year span of time. A pound of methane will cause 25 more times as much damage as would a pound of CO2 over that time span.

That is including the 87 times as much destruction it causes in the first ten years.


Much of this talk of "clean natural gas" being advanced by magazines that give the appearances of being pro-environment is due to those pushing this talk liberally spending advertising dollars with those same magazines. Big money has corrupted everything, even the science.

Way back when as I was just coming out of my teens I met my first true socialist and he claimed all advertising by Corporations should be banned and that it was in no way shape or form "free speech". I never understood his basic point until many years later.


At least we have a choice of poison that will kill off or progeny.


Obama, "The Environmental President"... alas, some really think that!

"For anyone who thinks that that transition to renewables is inevitable, the policy evidence coming out of Washington suggests otherwise. In the past six months Congress has moved two energy bills that expedite exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), create “energy corridors” for pipelines through our National Parks, expand funding for finding new sources of methane, and undermine local communities’ ability to fight fracked gas infrastructure. Should they become law any of these provisions would help lock in the burning of natural gas for decades to come."

Thanks for sharing the research, Mitch Jones.


You are one hard-headed clone...

The main purpose of Jones' article was to liberate people from the "coal versus fracking" false dichotomy.

And there you go, a propagandist-in-training beginning your comment with a reassertion of the great canard.

How apt... for you.


The conventional (dirty!) energy companies also fund school "science" programs where they pass out shiny brochures that reinforce all the groovy things P.R specialists can dream up to convince the next generation of all the supposed benefits of "natural" gas, coal, nuclear power, oil, etc.


The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors can bridge until science gives us fusion reactors.

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) in One-Minute:

Small Thorium Reactors (13-min. video):
(the presenter, Taylor Wilson, — TED-Talks)

LFTR, Safe, Pollution Free Energy (10-min. video):
(the presenter, Kirk Sorensen, — TEDx-Talks)

What Fusion Wanted To Be (55-min. video):
(the presenter, Dr. Joseph Bonometti, — GoogleTechTalks)


This discussion is misleading for two reasons. There is nothing renewable about 'renewable' energy systems. Wind and solar systems are made of irreplaceable materials, have limited life times and use weak solar energy income (that is renewable!) to supply electricity intermittently. Secondly, these systems cannot possibly supply the concentrated energy in liquid fuels to power most land, sea and air vehicles that are currently operational. Electric cars will only fill a niche role for a while.