We Are So Fracked

Fracking, the hydraulic fracking of rock to release oil and natural gas, is, to say the least, a controversial environmental issue. While groundwater pollution has been the main focus, an article in today’s The Hill “Study: Gas from ‘Fracking’ Worse Than Coal on Climate” adds another aspect to the controversy.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

Cornell University professors will soon publish research that concludes natural gas produced with a drilling method called “hydraulic fracturing” contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more.

The conclusion is explosive because natural gas enjoys broad political support – including White House backing – due to its domestic abundance and lower carbon dioxide emissions when burned than other fossil fuels.

Cornell Prof. Robert Howarth, however, argues that development of gas from shale rock formations produced through hydraulic fracturing – dubbed “fracking” – brings far more methane emissions than conventional gas production.

Enough, he argues, to negate the carbon advantage that gas has over coal and oil when they’re burned for energy, because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas.

Like any serious scientists, the researchers explain the tentative nature of their study and warn that they do not consider it “definitive.” The article also presents counter-arguments from the industry’s experts.

So are the comments posted for this article also “fair and balanced”? Read and and find out.

In case you are unfamiliar with fracking, you might also want to read about the underground concerns already raised by environmentalists and ranchers in natural gas areas such as Wyoming. Keywords fracking wyoming are a good start.



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