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The Research Is In: Stop Fracking ASAP

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/31/research-stop-fracking-asap

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Apparently Barbra didn’t get the memo, citizen safety means nothing in an unchecked capitalist society.
When you add it all up, it becomes clear that corporations nor the government they run give a dam about the environment or the people. It could even be said that their actions are trying to eliminate certain segments of the population.

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Barbara needs to do some homework on this methane leak problem.
Yes, EPA estimates of wellhead, pipeline and distribution system emissions are too low by a factor of five or even more. The monitors / sensors location downwind are too low to the ground to have a chance of accurate data. Using aircraft for measuring is the science.

The long term effect is also water table pollution that is permanent. After the wells are long closed off. Fracking is not needed to produce natural gas at all. We can also use critical pressure steam. This is more expensive and requires skilled operator at the well field. But, no pollution to underground water, no earthquakes (Ohio and OK) .

well blowout, like BP’s in the Gulf of Mexico, is immediately shut off with a surface mounted valve.

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This helps to illustrate a double standard that goes on here in British Columbia.

As the Government of BC puts roadblocks in the way of expanding pipelines through BC from the Alberta Tar sands , they are at the same time advocating LNG terminals on their coast so as to sell Natural Gas obtained by fracking to China.

Pulling carbon out of the atmosphere is a pipe dream at best. Where will it be moved to? How does it get stored? Fracking has a whole host of issues and I believe the H2O contamination and freshwater use itself for extraction are the key issues. The only real solutions are to cut use and emissions and the includes the military, something never mentioned in global poisoning/warming discussion. With out them being entered into the equation the other measures won’t matter enough to halt the warming and poisoning of Earth.

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Maybe because I was dropped on my head too many times as a baby, or something. My instant response to any informers I encounter is to distrust – everything I hear, everyone I hear from. Even sources who were previously reliable might be messing up this time, so you gotta keep on your toes when you’re as energetically paranoid as myself!

In return, I fervently hope my writing is similarly subject to skepticism. So far as I know, we don’t have the data – any good idea of how much methane is spewed from fracking operations, because the EPA has actively obstructed efforts to measure the air around them (believe it or don’t). There were disturbing numbers from a couple of universities flying crop-dusters or something over the oilfields awhile back, and no follow up.

Methane is worrisome. It could start leaching out of permafrost more noticeably, now that the Arctic is melting. Personally, I respect NOAA ESRL monitoring station data – it accords with data from other sources, and for any scientist, to co-operate with skewing the data would be a crime against every other scientist. Anyone can reliably track global methane at this site, I think.

In the long view, methane is doubling every 40 years just like CO2 and carbon emissions. When the permafrost gets going, though, I’d expect to see an even steeper increase logged by the far northern stations – nearer to the permafrost. Instead, I see the opposite right now: I do see a noticeable acceleration in the methane trend near the equator (at Mauna Loa) starting 18 months ago – but not at the northern stations. This indicates some increase in methane emissions below the Arctic, possibly.

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In todays world, I would say no, you’re skepticism is from not being dropped on you’re head as a baby.

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A personal solution for natural gas, if you are able, is to stop using it.

A couple years ago we converted our house to all-electric, as well as putting enough solar panels on the roof to be close to 0 net energy. We replaced all our ng appliances, including getting a heat pump for heating and cooling and an induction stove. We’ve been happy with these. The induction stove cooks as well as natural gas, and it’s more energy-efficient and also super-fast. The heat pump is more energy-efficient also. We’re eco-nuts so the environment was our primary concern. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if you care about the future and can afford it, I think it’s worth it.

But everyone should be aware that continued use of ng is incompatible with reaching the greenhouse gas reduction targets that are essential for preserving a livable planet. Don’t believe people who say natural gas is “clean.” They’re living in the wrong century.

Where do you live in BC ?

I am in Calgary ~

You are just flat out wrong on all counts. If we depend on emissions cuts alone, the situation will spiral out of control.

The globally averaged concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere increased by about 150 percent from 722 ± 25 ppb in 1750 to 1803.2 ± 1.2 ppb in 2011.[[17]](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane#cite_note-:2-17)

See graph of CO2 and Methane over the Holocene for comparison to the summary from Wikipedia just above - see link, Figure 2, p. 216 (CO2 at ~280 recently, while CH4 ~ 750 ppb at the same time.

Thus CO2 at the present value of 415 ppm is ~ 48% higher than pre-industrial, while CH4 at the present value of ca 1750 ppb is ~ 142% higher than pre-industrial.
Atmospheric methane isotope records covering the Holocene period Todd Sowers (2009)

But this article is about fracking and its health effects - i.e., negative.

I think we are missing the point.

Framing houses, which I have done (six years actually), is inherently dangerous to one’s health. My framing partner fell once and broke his neck - he was lucky, and was left un-paralyzed. Roofers are falling of roofs all the time. Many jobs are hazardous - you just don’t see them in the media.

Fracking is wrong because it is a stupid way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels from the Middle East and OPEC.

A much saner approach would be to first require our energy companies switch over to direct air capture syn-fuels from CO2 extracted from the atmosphere, and as soon as humanly possible, switch to perceived cleaner alternates, excepting nuclear, which is more toxic than the whole lot combined.

North Vancouver. I was born in Alberta in the town of Vermilion. Grew up in St Paul and then Ft MacMurray.

Much appreciated !

Wow! Where do you get that “direct air capture syn-fuels” dope, brother? I’ve been looking for some of that high-quality toke.

I’ve also been looking in vain for any DAC demonstration project (let alone turning captured carbon into synfuels) anywhere on Earth, anytime in the past 20 years. Please drop me a line when they find a way around the second law of thermodynamics – that’s the level of technological hubris at play, here.

Perhaps so but even you have to admit that we currently lack the technology to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and we are actively killing our planet’s natural defense system, that being trees, that can help absorb carbon from the atmosphere. I want to believe we can somehow solve this crisis but I each day it seems to get more and more bleak.

Carbon Engineering, Squamish, British Columbia, founded by now Harvard University Professor David Keith.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_Engineering

Keith is essentially following up on the much earlier work of Klaus Lackner and the late Wallace Broecker, the godfather if you will of climate science (Columbia University).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Lackner
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Smith_Broecker

Skepticism is an integral part of the scientific method, and I understand you are big on this aspect of it.

In science, as personified by Wallace Broecker, you have a true giant - and I would think the hubris may be closer to your home than you think Aleph.

Keith is actually producing syn-fuels from direct air capture as we speak.

Broecker was a practical man, as well as a phenomenal scientist, and he was very very human, understanding more or less instantly over a decade ago that human nature would not do the things required to avoid the very crisis we find ourselves in now, and that we would eventually have to turn to some method of geo-engineering.

Amongst all the geo-engineering plan afoot today, my feeling is simply that direct air capture is the least harmful.

I would prefer the United Nations and the many national academies of the sciences have the final say on all of this, as I am no expert.

If you can convince Bolsanaro and the investors in the world’s multi-nationals to stop tearing down the Amazon rain forest, my hat is off to you.

One thing I am relatively sure of - even if we were to somehow cut out fossil fuel use asap, we need desperately to bring the level of CO2 down to something approaching Jim Hansen’s 350 ppm asap.

Ethiopia has just set a world record planting trees.

Maybe you can get your fellow Americans to one up that Aleph?

But if you can’t - we better all start contemplating direct air capture.

Please see my reply to Aleph_Null MCH ?

Supplying domestic home gas utiliies are is only a small part of the shale-gas extraction industry - the big customers of the gas produced from the Marcellus Shale are electricity generation, export, and soon, massive plastics plants spread along the Ohio river.

And at this point, unfortunately, ending fracking would totally crash the economy of western Pennsylvania. Efficiency, frugality and environmental responsibility are the great emenies of capitalism.

Keith & Broeker have been at it for years, as you know – decades – and neither can point to a demonstration project of any significance. DAC has been, is, and will remain a delusion similar to the perpetual motion machine: a dream of outstripping the very laws of physics. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. You should know that, and be able to deal with that reality, by now.

Has there been any studies of the increased level of Earthquakes in areas of this nation (& others) that used to not have them? I’m am going to go out on a limb here and say that there probably is a correlation/causation that no one wants to talk about - to do so would be to interfere with corporate avarice! And just for good measure let’s mention those aquafers that once they’re polluted means “bottled water” forever! Yes, let’s just keep passing the problem on to the next generation - except that there might not be one!!

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