Fracking good for climate change

June 26th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The American interest blogs:

Despite there being no real effort by Congress to addressglobal warming and America’s longstanding reputation as an energy hog, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are falling.

The lackluster economy has something to do with it. But it doesn’t fully explain what’s happening. Consider that even factoring in a stronger economy, forecasters see greenhouse gas emissions continuing to fall.

It’s possible the country may meet its pledge to reduce emissions 17% by 2020.

So what is causing this?

The secret isn’t laws, green activism or regulations (although these do have roles to play). Innovation is the force that is enabling the cut in US carbon emissions. Specifically, the new ways of extracting natural gas that make have driven a natural gas boom in this country and dramatically cut the cost of the cleanest hydrocarbon energy source of them all. …

Ignore the greens and innovate, and you will cut carbon. Pay a lot of attention to them, spend a lot of money — and you will keep carbon emissions unchanged.

The story of course is more complicated than this, and there are real environmental problems that come with . Nevertheless, the one force capable of enabling human beings to have the kind of freedom and abundance that they want while preserving the planetary environment on which we all depend is innovation. Regulations and laws have their place, but they can only do so much.

Right now, fracking is doing more to control carbon emissions than all the efforts of all the greens in the world. …

And by creating more well paid blue collar jobs both in gas and oil extraction and in the manufacturing industries that will grow to exploit the new cheap energy sources, fracking strengthens the American economy and the tax base, providing revenues for both federal and state governments.

Fracking is the left’s best friend.

Now the Greens always say is the biggest challenge the planet faces – we risk extinction in fact. So I expect them to immediately stop their campaign to ban fracking, and endorse its use!

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44 Responses to “Fracking good for climate change”

  1. RightNow (6,649 comments) says:

    Fracking good, carbon capture and storage bad. A Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study warned that carbon capture and storage (CCS) risked causing earthquakes.
    http://news.msn.co.nz/worldnews/8485855/carbon-capture-too-risky-study

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  2. Auberon (869 comments) says:

    Head on over to Truthland – http://www.truthlandmovie.com/ – and check out how the guy who filmed Gasland told serial “mistruths”, including how those flaming faucets emitted gas BEFORE anyone fracked in the area, i.e. fracking had nothing to do with gas getting into the water table.

    The trailer is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps8hsexFSmo

    My prediction: we’ll be getting gas out of the ground using this technique on a regular basis in New Zealand … in 2050 and beyond. It’ll take that long for us to get poor enough for the alarmist greenies to have their madness fall on deaf ears with the majority.

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  3. Yvette (2,689 comments) says:

    Specifically, the new ways of extracting natural gas that make have driven a natural gas boom in this country and dramatically cut the cost of the cleanest hydrocarbon energy source of them all.

    Unfortunately this key sentence [DPF quote and original] is a bit buggered.

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  4. Mark (497 comments) says:

    Doh!

    Only an idiot would not think the natural gas industry hasn’t been investigating new and better techniques of extracting natural gas to do it cheaper, safer and extract more natural gas than when it was first done.

    Doesn’t mean the the original techniques caused issues complained by the greens and left. In fact fracking has only been complained about in the last few years since there has been a boom in the ability of natural gas industry to extract natural gas in larger cost effective amounts.

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  5. Australis (99 comments) says:

    Everybody agrees with efforts to enhance the environment, but not everybody can afford it. In wealthy communities, the air and water are 1000% cleaner than they were 50 years ago, whilst they continue to deteriorate in poor communities.

    Fracking will make entire countries wealthier and thereby ensure huge advances in environmental protection.

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  6. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    The story of course is more complicated than this…

    Nevertheless, let’s pretend it’s not.

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  7. Auberon (869 comments) says:

    Actually Lyndon, it’s really not a lot more complicated than this.

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  8. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    “…. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are falling.”

    Whoopie, that means the percentage of Anthropogenic CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere will drop from 0.00004563% to 0.00004562%.
    Great news!

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  9. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Actually Auberon, you might be right, but I’ll take a punt and say it’s not simple the way you think it is.

    Sorry; if I’m not going to play I should’ve just let you all have your fun. ‘night.

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  10. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    There is no evidence of course that fracking affects groundwater.

    No doubt massive new law firms will be springing up across the US to dispute any claims of an artesian catastrophe ahead.

    All that beautiful ancient groundwater across the midwest, so crucial to the breadbasket of the world, poisoned forever.

    The bigger looming crisis of the planet is the water crisis. One of America’s greatest assets is its excellent supply of fresh water. Another its fertile soil. Both can produce food and income for the rest of time. Unless they’re fucked by fracking.

    The fracking industry. Just like the tobacco industry.

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  11. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    @paul henry

    “There is no evidence of course that fracking affects groundwater. ”

    Not if it is done properly.
    But that isn’t the point is it?
    Nothing is a 100% certain and taht is enough for the luddite watermelons.
    Whatever it takes to undermine the economy and stop development.
    Just like the tobacco industry?
    You are pathetic.

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  12. Johnboy (14,961 comments) says:

    I always try to do as much fracking as I can manage while I can afford the chemicals to keep my drill stem functioning.

    Never realised I was helping the ecology till now! :)

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  13. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    There are a few problems with the extract DPF quotes, as he feeds the deniers who flood his comments thread with their nonsense.

    When the report says “cleanest hydrocarbon” it ignores the fact that that particular gas use is still as dirty as any gas and the jury is still out on the overall effect of tracking, quite apart from groundwater pollution which has, in fact, been proved in the US at least to the satisfaction of the EPA.

    And while it’s true that US emissions declined for two years in the wake of the GFC, they are now increasing again

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/interactive/2012/jun/21/world-carbon-emissions-map

    and the US remains by far the biggest emitter per capita, so there is nothing to write home about there.

    Then for some strange reason he accuses only the Greens of saying climate change is the biggest challenge the planet faces – we risk extinction when, in fact, this view is endorsed by every credible national science body and every climate scientist in the world except for the default contrarians, retired octogenarians and outright nutters – about three or four out of that group worldwide!

    It’s worth remembering that even 49% of Republicans in that bastion of nutterism, the USA, accept that climate change is happening, and from memory about 87% of Kiwis are of the same view. And every government in Europe, all true-blue conservative until recently (as DPF himself illustrated with the example of France yesterday) endorse the views of the science community. So it’s not a left-right divide as DPF would have it – is David Cameron a gweenie or a conservative?

    Humankind is facing catastrophe over the long term, and the best right wing nasties like Mathew Hooten can do is quote out of date science and publicly state that he just doesn’t care about the future of his children and grandchildren, and DPF publicly endorses the science but then sneers at those who advocate action.

    It’s all very sick.

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  14. Johnboy (14,961 comments) says:

    “Humankind is facing catastrophe over the long term”. :)

    Luc knows. He just knows that to be true. :)

    What mountain do you suggest we should all sit on Luc? :)

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  15. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    “There are a few problems with the extract DPF quotes, as he feeds the deniers who flood his comments thread with their nonsense.”

    Flood…?
    Hardly.
    Only one so far.
    A default contrarian, retired sexagenarian and outright nutter and denier called Luc Hansen.

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  16. Johnboy (14,961 comments) says:

    Are you then a Luc denier then Other? :)

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  17. Ross12 (1,147 comments) says:

    There has been 1.2 million wells drilled in the USA which have used frackking to some extent since the the technology was introduced in 1947.

    Lisa Jackson ( the head of the EPA ) has said there has been no case proven of water cotamination resulting the use of fracking
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im-yJhCHhCo

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  18. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Other_Andy said

    “Nothing is a 100% certain and taht is enough for the luddite watermelons.
    Whatever it takes to undermine the economy and stop development.”

    Sure Andy. The jury is still out on whether smoking is bad for your health. We need to see more evidence right? And after that, more evidence.

    Undermine the economy and stop development? If fracking decimates global food and fresh water supplies, might that not put some downward pressure on the economy and development? You environmental vandals have absolutely no foresight.

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  19. B A W (98 comments) says:

    Can somebody please explain to me how Fracking actually reduces carbon emissions. Fracking produces methane thus

    CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O Hey CO2 gas here.

    Yes it is cleaner fuel compared to coal, but it still produces CO2.

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  20. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    @paul henry

    “Sure Andy. The jury is still out on whether smoking is bad for your health. We need to see more evidence right? And after that, more evidence.”

    Not sure what this has to do with fracking.
    A straw man?

    “If fracking decimates global food and fresh water supplies, might that not put some downward pressure on the economy and development?”

    But it doesn’t. Check Ross12′s link.
    Aren’t you going a bit over the top with your “decimates global food and fresh water supplies…..”?
    You sound like Chicken Little.

    “You environmental vandals have absolutely no foresight.”

    For vandals and environmental hypocrites see the so called ‘Greens’ who are pushing environmentally destructive ‘solutions’ such as wind energy or ‘solutions’ that are not economically viable and will hit the people who can least afford it the hardest.
    And you have foresight based on what…?
    Hype, scare mongering, emotional blackmail?

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  21. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    B A W

    “Can somebody please explain to me how Fracking actually reduces carbon emissions”
    “Yes it is cleaner fuel compared to coal, but it still produces CO2.”

    So if it is used instead of coal it reduces CO2 emissions.

    Carbonazis seem to think this is important.
    I can think of more important advantages.

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  22. climatekiwi (5 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t say fracking is good for the climate. A Cornell University study found that gas sourced from fracked rock in the US could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal. Professor Robert Howarth says “The take-home message of our study is that if you do an integration of 20 years following the development of the gas, shale gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil.

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  23. Spam (593 comments) says:

    Can somebody please explain to me how Fracking actually reduces carbon emissions. Fracking produces methane thus

    CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O Hey CO2 gas here.

    Yes it is cleaner fuel compared to coal, but it still produces CO2.

    Because it displaces coal use, and has a higher energy content than coal per unit of co2 released. For the same amount of energy consumed, less co2 is produced.

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  24. Johnboy (14,961 comments) says:

    More CO2 produced more trees grow faster Spam! :)

    Trees good = CO2 good! :)

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  25. Spam (593 comments) says:

    http://ecowatch.org/2012/us-leading-the-world-in-co2-emission-decrease-from-reduced-coal-use/

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  26. southtop (262 comments) says:

    just got my power bill – I need some global warming/climate change/climate disruption syndrome or whatever the luddites are calling it now.

    It’s fracking freezing here at the top of the south right now!

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  27. Johnboy (14,961 comments) says:

    Burn more trees southtop.

    More trees burnt = more CO2 = more trees growing faster!

    Gaia is wonderful! :)

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  28. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    “I need some global warming/climate change/climate disruption syndrome or whatever the luddites are calling it now. ”

    Socialists have always spent much of their time seeking new titles for their beliefs, because the old versions so quickly become outdated and discredited.

    Margaret Thatcher

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  29. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    That’s funny, OA

    Maggie Thatcher immediately understood the science and the implications of anthropogenic climate change. She would be even greener than Cameron if she still had her wits about her.

    Why do you guys hate your grandchildren so much?

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  30. big bruv (13,249 comments) says:

    Luc

    Why do you feel the need to tell lies to your grandkids?

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  31. Other_Andy (2,278 comments) says:

    Ahh Luc.

    Anthropogenic climate change?
    Maggie was the first leader to warn of global warming.
    However…..
    In 2003, towards the end of her last book, Statecraft, in a passage headed “Hot Air and Global Warming”, she issued what amounts to an almost complete recantation of her earlier views.
    She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the “doomsters”, she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7823477/Was-Margaret-Thatcher-the-first-climate-sceptic.html

    “Why do you guys hate your grandchildren so much?”

    Stopped beating your wife yet?

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  32. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    OA

    That’s unfair to someone who was then78 and already suffering from dementia.

    Enjoy wallowing in your wish to destroy the environment for your personal pleasure and fuck your descendants.

    That’s an entirely valid, if evil, philosophy, but a sad reflection on your (lack of) humanity.

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  33. UrbanNeocolonialist (181 comments) says:

    1 kg of coal can produce about 3kWh of electricity in a thermal power station while creating about 3.6kg of CO2 so about 1.2kg CO2 per kWh.

    1kg of Natural gas can produce about 8.3kWh of electricity in a combined cycle thermal power station, while creating about 2.75kg of CO2, so about 0.33kg of CO2 per kWh.

    Replacing coal with natural gas for power production thus drops CO2 emissions by a factor of nearly 4. Worldwide that is massive.

    Problem is that watermelons don’t like solutions to problems that don’t give them greater control and power. Every revolutionary is a closet aristocrat.

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  34. kowtow (7,599 comments) says:

    Dig,drill, mine, frack our way to wealth.
    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/59971/major-gold-find-nelson-points-potentially-yield-worth-12-billion

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  35. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    UN (interesting diminutive):

    It’s still CO2 and your figures are hotly disputed because they don’t take into account methane release and externalities.

    A station at the Arctic has recorded CO2 concentration of over 500ppm, so we appear to have no show of not doubling pre-industrial CO2 level of 280ppm.

    This means, eventually, an average global temperature rise of at least 3.5 degC, increasingly extreme weather events, accelerating sea level rise and other assorted misadventures for most extant species.

    Sleep well, my friend.

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  36. RightNow (6,649 comments) says:

    Luc Hansen (3,946) Says:

    That’s unfair to someone who was then78 and already suffering from dementia.

    Your age is no excuse Luc.

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  37. tom hunter (4,374 comments) says:

    Why do you feel the need to tell lies to your grandkids?

    Luc’s little girl: What happened then daddy?

    Luc: And then …. the great, big, horrible AGW came slowly creeping into the room

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  38. Kimble (4,378 comments) says:

    Maggie Thatcher immediately understood the science and the implications of anthropogenic climate change. She would be even greener than Cameron if she still had her wits about her.

    But on economic matters? Well.. she didnt get that at all, did she Luc?

    When are you tools going to get it? THIS ISNT A RELIGION!

    “Hey guys, you HAVE to agree with me because your leader does. You dont want to go against your dogma, do you?”

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  39. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Problem is that watermelons don’t like solutions to problems that don’t give them greater control and power.

    In actuality, Greens tend to be more committed than the average person to consensus and the processes of liberal democracy (witness their silly dual leadership nonsense). Thats one reason they find it hard to accomplish their goals. If they had any brains at all, they would be attempting to convince elites and the military of the need for action, rather than hoi polloi. After all, the public are the last to know.

    Still. It will be pretty funny once things get bad and governments have to start forcing citizens to comply with ever stronger legislation. The intransigence of right wingers who fear Eco authoritarianism makes the realization of those fears inevitable.

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  40. Manolo (13,341 comments) says:

    Spreading fear and helping the Luddites.
    Shame on Scott: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/tom-scott-cartoons

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  41. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    Not that I disagree with the fact that natural gas is a relatively efficient means of extracting energy from hydrocarbons, but the general thrust of this Industry PR opinion piece is wrong. The efficiency gains made by the USA over the past few years are only due in small part to increased consumption of natural gas.

    See for yourself

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  42. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    So if it is used instead of coal it reduces CO2 emissions.

    Reminds me of the old Nutella ads: “Contains less fat than peanut butter and less sugar than most jams!”

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  43. kowtow (7,599 comments) says:

    tom jackson @1244

    Greens tend to be more committed than the average person to consensus and the processes of liberal democracy

    is that why they backed off the antiparental discipline bill in the face of the referendum results?

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  44. UrbanNeocolonialist (181 comments) says:

    Luc, you are wrong on basically every count.
    The only way a station in the Artic recorded 500pm is if there was a nearby upwind source. Like an engine, station air vent, polar bear or ground or water released plume. We are still less than 400ppm around the world and outside of typically hyperbolic IPCC projections that disregard rise of nuclear power etc there is little chance that we will hit 560ppm.

    A 3.5°C temp increase would require huge positive cloud feedbacks. IPCC assumed high figures 20 years ago, because they stupidly only look at the 1980′s-1990′s when forming their theories and tuning their models, ignoring that the 1920′s-30s had warming just as fast as 80′s-90′s before CO2 rise was significant, and that there was no warming from 1950′s to 70′s as CO2 was starting to rise, yet they still naively pinned everything on CO2. That key assumption (not actual science or data) underpins all their predictions. They also ignore and do not model the dominating effect of oceanic cycles (PDO, AMO, and others of longer duration that are clearly visible in the temperature record and ice core data) and that are quite clearly responsible for most of the oscillating warming and cooling trends.

    The IPCC cannot explain these long term temperature oscillations or cycles that are demonstrably responsible for over 3 degrees of variation through the last 10000 years, and are so large that coming off the back of nearly the coldest period in the last 1000 years (little ice age in 18th century) we are still only at about the average temperature for the current interglacial.
    http://www.iceagenow.com/Now_colder_than_during_most_of_the_past_7000_years.htm

    Consequently all of the IPCC’s models have proven to be massively pessimistic and we are now approaching 15 years with no warming. CO2 probably has some warming effect – perhaps as much as 1°C above natural cycles for projected CO2 rise, but nowhere near as large as thermageddonistas claim.

    As for sea level rise acceleration check the following graph:
    http://www.climatedata.info/Impacts/Impacts/sealevels.html
    Sea rise follows the PDO cycle and was rising just as fast as currently back in 1930-1960 BEFORE CO2 rise really kicked in. About 0.8mm out of current 3mm/year is actually due to gound water abstraction for agriculture – that is a relatively modern effect, so the sea level rise is not even as high as it was 60 years ago during the last PDO warming phase.

    So where is the long touted accelerating rise in sea level? Like all other parts of the CAGW scare the data just doesn’t back up the story.

    Pointless showing you all this I know, as belief in CAGW is religion and not allowed to be questioned, still maybe you will stop making stupid claims if you are shown enough evidence of it’s baselessness.

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