Fracking: The Good and The Bad
By: Johnathan Mize
THE GOOD: Fracking's positives are many. According to ourworldindata.org, the US, despite leaving the Paris climate accords, dropped its CO2 emissions from 5.42 Billion tons in 2015 to 5.27 Billion tons. In contrast, during the same period both France and Germany increased their CO2 emissions. The US was able to accomplish this by replacing coal and oil powered power plants to natural gas powered power plants, which produce as much reliable power but produce just as much if not more power. Not only that, but it has decreased the United States reliance on genocidal Nations like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It has also breathed new life into desiccated States like Pennsylvania that were destroyed by horrific trade treaties that still operated on the "cash for allies" foreign policy the United States used since World War 2. There is a very valid argument that Fracking is far healthier for the Earth using traditional oil powered facilities. Just getting oil from the Middle East puts a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. However, it's not all sunshine and roses.
THE BAD: It still makes CO2 and then there are the problems specifically with Fracking. First there are the Earthquakes. As one might imagine, forcing pressurized fluids into fractured rocks could cause unfortunate side effects for the surrounding rock, and everything on top of it. Then on top of that, said pressurized water is now contaminated, and is under pressure has two options, come back up or find a new place to force its way somewhere new, all too often an aquifer, which many people in the rural regions where fracking takes place. This can lead to illness as you can end up drinking oil particulates.
Why we should care? We need to have a real, nonpartisan discussion about fracking in the United States. The ability to replace extremely dirty oil and even more so coal with far less destructive natural gas could buy the world the time it needs for a more permanent solution to climate change.
The Hill article above by JOHN HOFMEISTER AND PAUL SULLIVAN provided valid criticism to a fracking ban that I believe needs to be addressed. I can agree that a shock therapy approach, even deadly for those parts of the country that get very cold, and I can even concede that switching right now would not only devastate our economy but give power to many bad actors around the world. However, fracking is a problem that still needs to be addressed. A move towards something like nuclear power should be the long term goal. We need to start removing CO2 from the environment where we can and however we can. I have to mention that there is an argument that using Natural Gas to replace oil and coal will dramatically improve the environment. Not to mention the fact that the data shows that this is indeed the case as I mentioned before.
Science in Action.
Mark Schrope is a researcher at Director at Schmidt Marine.
The work of Mark Schrope, among others, goes to great lengths to show all of the problems with fracking. They focus predominantly on the possibility of water contamination. This is because most fracking is done in rural areas where wells are the predominant water source. They note that and EPA administrator by the name of Lisa Jackson stated “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” which lends the article credit as it steel man's the opposing argument. He makes a valid point in that small cracks often form bigger cracks which could cause an unwanted fluid exchange. Articles like this are important because rather than portraying the other side as a dehumanized enemy only to be destroyed, it portrays them as a human rival to be persuaded and convinced, something all to rare in the modern day.
I think fracking is just bad in general. There is good that comes out of it but I think that price is paid by a major risk. Just as you mentioned, "forcing pressurized fluids into fractured rocks could cause unfortunate side effects for the surrounding rock, and everything on top of it." This can cause cracks in the pipes and exposure to toxins leaked in ground water. This can be then a HUGE price to fix. I think we should just invest in re-newable green energy. Its the safest way to create energy which will not emit CO2 gas and will also play a big role against global warming. Overall great post. I enjoyed reading it.
Once it comes to fracking, its good and bad. Its a good way to emit less CO2 in the air but also a very risky thing to do especially around where people live. Having to pressurized fluids within the pipes, can cause cracks and without rigorous safety regulations, it can poison groundwater, pollute surface water, impair wild landscapes, and threaten wildlife. There is also large amounts of water used to get the results. Its almost as if we are emitting less CO2 but on the other hand using large sumps of water and playing with risk to get results. I just don't think its a safe game to play.
Your blog post was super helpful to me as I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of fracking. I think breaking it down into the pros and cons shows that there is some good that can come out of fracking but is worth the risk that comes with that. I personally after reading this think that the bad outweighs the bad and we should be looking into ways that can be used instead of fracking
In the beginning of your blog post, I liked how you discussed both sides of the argument. I understand the positive side of fracking and why some may want to keep the process intact but I do not think the pros outweigh the cons. The large amounts of water pollution, sound pollution, and potential contamination risks outweigh the fuel benefit if there are other systems such as the use of natural gas are available.
As great that we are moving away from coal it still isn't enough if we are trying to become sustainable. The advances in technology for extracting natural gas has basically made a Jevons paradox. I hope that we don't become complacent in our environmental efforts due to cheap energy sources.
I agree that transitioning from oil and coal to fracking and natural gas could be a short-term solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With that said, there are too many environmental risks associated with fracking for it to be scalable and sustainable enough to bring us to a future with clean energy. I think that it would be best to invest in a transition from oil to natural gas to renewable energy as quickly as possible.
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