Environmentalists Were For Fracking Before They Were Against It

Shale gas is still the bridge fuel to a low-carbon energy future.

(Page 2 of 2)

However, the study more reassuringly “found no evidence for contamination of the shallow wells near active drilling sites from deep brines and/or fracturing fluids.” In any case, should their findings stand up to subsequent research, the problem is not fracking, but improperly sealed well-casings. It should be noted that the wells were not tested for methane before gas drilling began. It would be interesting to repeat the study looking at conventional gas wells.

But what about radioactive contamination of streams by well waste water? The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that after checking samples from waste water plants that had treated gas well water, it found that “all samples were at or below background levels of radioactivity; and all samples showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for Radium 226 and 228.”

With regard to using too much fresh water, Ridley points out that gas drilling in Pennsylvania uses about 60 million gallons per day, which compares to 1,550 million gallons used by public water systems. Ridley also notes that each well site takes up about six acres to extract gas beneath 1,000 acres which is largely left alone once a well begins producing. Ridley notes that “each wellhead capable of producing gas from up to 12 wells, or about 50 billion cubic feet over 25 years, the output of one drilling pad is equivalent to the average output of about 47 giant 2.5 megawatt wind turbines.” Speaking of intrusions into the landscape, that many turbines would typically take up 188 acres of land.

Finally, an April study in the journal Climatic Change by a team of researchers led by ecologist Robert Howarth from Cornell University suggested that the greenhouse gas emissions released by natural gas production are worse than coal when it comes to man-made global warming. Natural gas is methane, and methane, on a molecule per molecule basis, has a much greater ability to trap heat from the sun than does carbon dioxide. Howarth claims that methane leaking from natural gas wells contributes so much to global warming that the benefits of substituting it for coal are overwhelmed.

Critics have pointed to a number of problems with this study including the fact that it uses a global warming potential factor of 105 over 20 years compared to carbon dioxide. In contrast, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generally prefers using a factor of 25 over a 100-year period. In addition, Howarth bases his leakage data on long distance Russian gas pipelines and by assuming that “lost and unaccounted for gas” is not mostly an accounting measure. Lost and unaccounted for gas includes the gas burned to run the turbines to keep pipelines pressurized. It is early days, but my bet is that further research will find that Howarth’s claims are considerably exaggerated.

No industrial process is completely benign and all have environmental consequences. The relevant question is: Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Are people better off using the resource than they would otherwise be? If one is worried about man-made global warming, natural gas remains the affordable way to supply lower carbon energy to the world as technologists work to bring renewable energy costs down. Let's hope that environmentalists will recognize the current faults of wind and solar and fall in love with natural gas all over again.

Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey is author of Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution (Prometheus Books).

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Excellent article, Bailey.

    In addition to your thoughts, natgas is selling at about 1/3 its 2005-2006 highs (so much for that fictitious "inflation"). We need to use federal incentives (gasp!) to persuade the serfs to transition to it.

    T. Boone and other capitalists would be proud.

  • ||

    so much for that fictitious "inflation"

    ummm the amount of known deposits just increased by 40% over a years period genius. Of course the price is going to drop.

    That still does not change the fact that there are way too many green backs in the market.

    But hell you don't believe in the law of supply and demand so what is the point in explaining this to you.

  • ||

    I guess that means that the amount of dollars must have increased by 20% during the same time.

  • ||

    Supply/demand is my mantra, you idiot.

    Its you conspiracy nuts who think a falling M3 in 2009-10 is inflationary that are off base.

  • ||

    correct myself - I meant 2007-08 - when total US worth fell.

  • Random Dude||

    M3 is a very small part of the overall credit base.

    Look at leverage ratios in the large investment banks globally and see what that has done to their credit and purchasing power. We do have inflation and it can be seen in just about everything where supply isn't massively outstripping the 6%+ price inflation we've got. Saying we have 1-2% price inflation is ridiculous; it assumes the Fed's subjective hedonic adjustments are valid, and it double-counts economic growth which would be factored into those adjustments naturally.

    Also, the price of natural gas has been dropping for.... oh... forever. Same with semiconductors. It's because there is actual growth in those industries.

  • ||

    Supply/demand is my mantra, you idiot.

    If it is your mantra then why do you deny it is why natural gas prices have dropped and why do you claim that the supply of the dollar has no effect on the value of the dollar?

    It is not your mantra, it is your bane.

  • ||

    Where do I deny market influence on natgas prices? I don't.

    Same with higher crude oil prices. I don't.

    Its you "money supply" idiots who have the mixed message.

    To you - natgas falls due to supply but crude oil rises due only to the Fed!! Idiot - your hypocrisy is astounding.

    Inflation is mild to non-existent here in the USA! (2%)

  • PIRS||

    Has it ever occured to you that more than one factor might impact both?

    Or is that too complex for you?

  • skr||

    Why are you forgetting that we also argue that government run oil companies fail to invest properly in increased production and don't react to demand increases in a timely manner because they are stupid and inefficient?

  • Jekyll Island||

    Inflation is non-existent here in the US (2%)

    Are you a moron, have you not pumped gas in the last month or gone to a grocery store?

    If you are dum enough to go by the the gov't standards that strip away energy & food (this that people use EVERYDAY) then all comments you post are pure rubbish.

    That one line has to be the most insane, illogical & perverse comments on the board (I know someone will now try to beat it).

    Get off your knees take the Government's balls off your chin and smarten up please

  • Tony||

    Higher prices for specific commodities does not equal inflation.

    It's like supply and demand is only turned on when it's convenient for your political ideology.

  • Vinny||

    No, rising prices are by definition inflation irrespective of cause. I think you meant to point out that inflation in certain sectors does not always correspond to "general" inflation.

  • Vinny||

    Further I think the fact that the government ignores energy and food prices when calculating inflation is one of the most devious and evil aspects of the entire Federal Reserve System.

    Even Tony & Shrike should find this unconscionable. That is, if they TRULY care about senior citizens. Their SS payments are directly related to the COLA, which is related to the government's fraudulent inflation calculations. The entire system is a fatal conceit.

  • Shrike in Bliss||

    oooohhhhhmmmmmmmmm

    The dollar is immune to the laws of supply and demand.

    ooooooohhhhhhmmmmmmm

    Price drops in buggy carts and shares in telegraph companies is proof that inflation does not exist

    oooooohhhhhhmmmmmmm

    Obama's new war in Libya is a monetary phenomena

    oooooohhhhhhhmmmmmmmm

    the phillips curve is made of adamantium.

    oooooooohhhhhhhmmmmmmmm

  • ||

    Ru Paul fan!

    Its all that nasty Federal Reserve!

  • PIRS||

    He now has a show on Logo. I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on that channel and see adverts for it.

  • ||

    Give shrike time, he needs it to copy more stuff from wikipedia so that it looks like he knows what he's talking about.

  • CatoTheElder||

    the industry's success in exploiting unconventional gas does indeed put downward pressure on natural gas prices. However, short-term price movements of natural gas are not much driven by reserves. Natural gas prices are influenced far more by seasonal demand expectations, inventories, and prices in other energy markets.

    In other words, lots of factors influence natural gas prices. It's silly to debate that prices over a few years are determined solely or even overwhelmingly by either money supply or reserves.

  • ||

    say the same for crude oil then.

  • Random Dude||

    In proxy for Cato, I won't say the same for crude. In fact, I won't say the same for any commodity except something like natural gas, where supply has absolutely exploded.

    Look at any commodity where supply has increased in line with demand and look at the prices. They are up 30%+ across the board.

    Then look at CME margin hikes and how they have affected the price of an asset on the futures market. Look at silver over the last week, and then consider that CME hiked margin requirements 5 times. This is a monetary+credit phenomenon, not a supply or demand phenomenon as traditionally thought (but I am of course considering the supply and demand of credit).

    The recent drops in oil follow this pattern as well. The 10% drop in oil in one day followed the ECB's decision to forgo interest rate hikes and the dollar skyrocketed. This made the price of oil in dollars less. You saw a collapse in commodities that day. Oil collapsed more because of its elasticity, but the broad commodities sell-off that day was a dollar strengthening. Something similar happened today with the CME limit adjustments.

    Better yet, just chart the dollar index over the last decade with the S&P. Then come and tell me these markets are governed by supply and demand and credit is a non-factor.

  • ||

    In other words, lots of factors influence natural gas prices. It's silly to debate that prices over a few years are determined solely or even overwhelmingly by either money supply or reserves.

    I used the 40% figure because it was in the article.

    Go and look at natural gas production and supply in the US.

    You will find that the US is producing a shit load more natural gas then it was a year ago....let alone in 2005/2006.

  • ||

    A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published today finds elevated levels of natural gas in groundwater wells within 3,000 feet of active gas well sites. The researchers conclude that the source is likely leaky casings.

    3000 feet??

    That is it?

    Just put a 3000 foot radius no fracking regulation around well heads used for potable water.

    Problem solved.

  • KWebb||

    Even that is not necessary. Existing regs requiring properly constructed well casings will take care of the problem.

    The study sucks. The authors left out how they picked locations to sample. Most of them are concentrated around two locations, one the famous Dimlock, PA with a known gas well with a leaky casing. I can't tell for sure, as the authors didn't include a table with their data, but I would be willing to bet that every water sample they took with elevated levels of methane are within a kilometer of the same well.

  • ||

    Even that is not necessary. Existing regs requiring properly constructed well casings will take care of the problem.

    Actually that isn't even necessary.

    Simple property rights and liability law covers it.

    I was just giving a standard statist solution to a small externality problem.

    Of course the real statist solution would be to limit the liability of the natural gas corporation in exchange for lax oversight, exclusive rights, and a fund which the gas company won't have to pay into until there is a massive disaster....at which point all gas production will be halted nation wide and subsidies will be payed to foreign natural gas production and the free market will be blamed.

  • ||

    The other issue is that the area is littered with old 19th and early 20th century oil wells whose capping methods leave something to be desired. It is possible that the fracking is disrupting the delicate remains of the casing seals in these old wells, releasing shallow formation gas left over from the oil reservoir and providing nice paths for gas to enter the water table.

    The problem is anti-fracking advocates would rather a rube goldberg explanation for how gas thousands of feet down is migrating into a shallow water reservoir than take occam's razor approach and look for the obvious culprits. There's no doubt that fracking releases alot of energy into the ground, but to create fracs thousands of feet upward has never been likely.

  • ####||

    Drilling mud = cat litter, big environmental deal.

  • ||

    So once again, an alternative energy source that is better for the environment...is rejected by environmentalists. It's almost like they have alternative motives. Will we ever solve such mysteries?

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    I'm sure MNG can tell us what they are really thinking, along with what books they read in college.

  • Esteban||

    He better hurry up. We're all gonna be late to the tractor pull

  • Paul||

    London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation

    Wow, Global Warming. It's so... so 90s and early aughts! Anyone notice how the subject of Global Warming is becoming almost as scarce as anti-war protesters after GW Bush.

    I wonder if we'll look back on these halcyon days and write about how Obama solved Global Warming, like we wrote about how Bill Clinton cured homelessness.

  • Klipe||

    "Bill Clinton cured homelessness."

    Bill Clinton was too busy balancing the budget, creating jobs and reforming welfare to cure homelessness.

  • Esteban||

    You forgot about saving the Balkans.

  • Klipe||

    You have to admit, Bill Clinton did end the fighting in Northern Ireland. George Mitchell was a great appointment.

  • ||

    And trying to find a good dry cleaner...

  • ||

    Shhh! Don't tell the conservatives here that!

    Bush the Lesser blew the budget up, went negative on private sector jobs, and bumped entitlements way up.

    But they love that fucker anyway!

  • Esteban||

    I just can't help but wonder who was in Congress at the time.

  • ||

    2003-2007 it was the GOP - when Bush blew the budget up, went negative on private sector jobs, and bumped entitlements way up.

  • Esteban||

    That's not the period we were talking about, now was it?

  • JoshINHB||

    2003-2007 it was the GOP - when Bush blew the budget up, went negative on private sector jobs,

    Total employment 1-03 130.26m
    Total employment 1-08 138m
    Total employment 4-11 131m

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001

    US Budget Deficit 2003 378b
    US Budget Deficit 2007 161b
    US Budget Deficit 2011 1,645b

    http://www.usgovernmentspendin.....=c&local=s

  • ||

    JoshINHB 1

    Shrike 0

  • Also Barack Obama||

    Nice post. Apparently shrike suffers from Selective Vision Syndrome (SVS). I'm sure he would have admitted defeat if he had actually been able to see your response...

  • ||

    careful Esteban, you just exposed yourself to Shrike as a crusading religious zealot of the christian variety....or worse a gold bug!!!!

  • ||

    shrike can you name the "conservatives" that comment here regularly?

  • Spiny Norman||

    But that's how he cured homelessness. He created something like 50 billion new jobs. I'm sure I read that somewhere.

  • mngene||

    "It [unemployment payments] creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name."

    N. Pelosi

  • ||

    Bill Clinton was too busy balancing the budget, creating jobs and reforming welfare to cure homelessness.

    If only Obama would follow the same path Clinton did....

    Namely declaring the end to big government and handing control of spending over to the deficit hawks in the house.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Namely declaring the end to big government and handing control of spending over to the deficit hawks in the house.

    The problem is that the economy is so dependent on government spending now that ANY rollback to that equation in GDP is going to result in sharp pain immediately. It's a much bigger part of the cake now than it ever was, and it's been artificially propping up the economy for a long time. The problem is that a country can't play that game forever--compound equations are real.

    Also, to claim that Clinton "created" 50 million jobs is unadulterated bullshit. Clinton had the good fortune to be in office when a massive credit bubble was blown up, and to get out of office right before the damage from it popping really took hold.

    Bush's sin was doubling down on yet another credit bubble and not choking off the housing market when Greenspan and idiots like Krugman were calling for people to use the equity in their homes like ATM machines.

    Furthermore, what the Krugmans of the world don't want to acknowledge is that even if you go back to the Clinton tax rates (across the board, not just for "the rich" [cough]), you only cut the deficit in half IF, and only IF, no subsequent tax avoidance takes place. There's no credit bubble right now to prop up people enough to create jobs on a massive scale.

    And quite frankly, not even Clinton could fix this mess. We're at the worst employment to population ratio that we've seen in 30 years. We haven't even gotten to the troughs of the early 2000s recession, as I've pointed out repeatedly. Where are those jobs going to come from?

  • ||

    The problem is that the economy is so dependent on government spending now that ANY rollback to that equation in GDP is going to result in sharp pain immediately.

    Economic Studies on past spending cuts both here and elsewhere show the exact opposite.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Economic Studies on past spending cuts both here and elsewhere show the exact opposite.

    The economic studies aren't taking basic math into account.

    http://www.market-ticker.org/a.....st=2506151

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I should add that over time, if the other portions of the GDP equation go up in response to the weight of overreliance of gov spending going away, then yes, eventually the pain will go away, probably sooner than people expect. See the Harding years as the example.

    But to argue that it won't happen at all, as your post seemed to imply, is simply inaccurate. The GDP equation is what it is.

  • jtuf||

    It took the environmentalist movement less than a lifetime to go from "save the trees" to "clearcut the forests and install my solar panels there". Rational egoism rules again.

  • Ur Right||

    Dumb inaccurate comment!

  • Esteban||

    Yeah, but Discover Magazine told me that there were some people who's water looked dirtier at some point after fracking started near there house. No drinking water for gas!

  • Realist||

    Hey, Bailey when shrike likes your article you know you're fucked up!

  • Shrike in 2009||

    Bailey is a christfag who voted for the neocon Christian Obama!!!!

  • CatoTheElder||

    "Environmentalists Were For Fracking Before They Were Against It"

    Well, of course. Enviros are usually strong advocates of novel energy technologies until they become technically and economically feasible at a significant scale. Fraccing, biofuels, solar, wind ... no difference.

  • rather||

    It is rejected by environmentalist because it pollutes the water.

    http://www.greenmuze.com/clima.....cking.html

  • ||

    See the study about 3000 foot radius around well heads.

    Also see that it is not fracking causing the pollution but broken gas well casings.

    Ron covered this material in the article pretty thoroughly.

    Furthermore natural gas in the ground water is not a large health or environmental threat, it is easy to detect, easy to contain (self contained really), and easy to fix.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Difficult to know whether fracturing fluid is contaminating water supplies when no one knows what to test for. The industry is fighting tooth-and-nail to avoid giving that information to public agencies.

  • ||

    Difficult to know whether fracturing fluid is contaminating water supplies when no one knows what to test for.

    You might want to explain how the mystery substance moves 1000s of feet underground up to the ground water.

    The only way up is through the gas well and again the only way it can contaminate the ground water is if the well casing is not sealed properly.

  • Ben Wolf||

    The rock at the base of the well is often porous. That's how it can potentially contaminate water supplies. Keep in mind the whole point of fracturing is to break up the rock, releasing the trapped methane.

  • ||

    The fracturing part of the fracking takes place 1000s of feet down.

    Ground water on the other hand is relatively shallow.

    here is a picture for you:

    http://www.earth-issues.com/wp.....aphic.jpeg

    There is a big difference between the depth of ground water and where the fracking occurs.

    To think there is an exchange of water between the the layer where fracking occurs and ground water level aquifers is absurd on its face.

    If you want to look for sources of hydrocarbon contamination to ground water the best place to look is your roof or nearest asphalted road.

  • Ur Right||

    You're clearly an environmental engineer and know a lot about ground water hydrology.
    ohwaitnoudont

  • ||

    where have all the enviros gone?
    careful thinkers, all of them...

    it amazes me that thousands of pounds of fertilizers and pesticides are overused on private landscaping each year and there they are straining gnats again on a chance of a chance of a possibility that one well could leak and affect the whole Delaware aquifer?
    just a thought...

  • KWebb||

    You test for salts. The fluid picks up lots of salts underground. If it migrates upwards, the salt levels of the shallow aquifers will go up.

  • rather||

    The water is pumped out from the ground with a mixture of chemicals and they refused to divulge what they have used. We have huge reservoirs of contaminated water that is left to run-off.
    I linked to the wrong story
    http://dontfrackmichigan.org/f.....erList.pdf

  • Sam||

    I live in the DFW metroplex and can see 2 gas wells from my house and my water is fine.

  • Rather||

    They are having issues outside of Fort Worth. Most of Tarrant county has city water but the outskirts, and outside of the county have well water.

    I've read about sick horses, and dying trees and some of the areas are lobbying against drilling.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    My parents live in the outskirts of Fort Worth, have well water, have 3 gas wells you can see from the second story windows, are getting paid from two of the wells, and their water is fine. Anecdotes FTW.

  • ||

    "I've read about sick horses,..."
    Enquiring minds want to know...

  • ||

    Its so predictable here - when prices RISE - its all the Federal Reserve and the JEWS!!!!!

    Prices fall - its just supply/demand.

  • PIRS||

    Who here has ever balmed any particular religioun or ethnicity for rising prices?

    By the way, the NAZIs were socialists. Or did you forget that?

  • PIRS||

    AHHH spell check again. Please forgive my spelling. It has been a long day.

  • ||

    The Nazis were fascists (conservatives) you idiot - and I hate socialists.

    All the top capitalists are liberals - see the Forbes top 10 (as far as I went).

  • ||

    shrike: Nazi = National Socialist German Workers Party.

  • ||

    Yeah - Peoples Republic of China = Republican.

    Names mean nothing.

    Hayek was a liberal too, so what?

  • skr||

    Wow

  • ||

    Progressive does not equal liberal.

    I am a liberal shrike, you are a progressive.

    In case you were wondering a progressive is America's version of a socialist. If they were honest like say the French they would simply call themselves socialists.

  • Ur Right||

    u honestly call urself a liberal?

  • Srhrrreeek||

    Can't stand where he came from....therefore, the projected raving hatred...

  • ||

    its all the Federal Reserve and the JEWS!!!!!

    Just because you blame Christians for everything from cancer to frayed shoe laces does not mean the rest of us try to find religious scape goats for our problems.

    Also what PIRS said. It tends to be the most anti-Semitic who advocate for the most government control over the economy.

  • this is one under every bed||

    "It tends to be the most anti-Semitic who advocate for the most government control over the economy."

    That would be the Catholics. Damn idol worshiping papists, they love top-down hierarchies.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Wut? "the JEWS!!!!"? I've lost track of your narrative. If we're all a bunch of free-market-fundamentalist-neo-conservatives doesn't that make us pro-Israel and pro-financial sector? That pretty much eliminates all the traditional Jew-hating fuel doesn't it?

  • PIRS||

    +9999999999999999999999999

  • Jew hating libertarian||

    Milton Friedman gives me fits.

  • Realist||

    Why would the Jews be to blame for rising oil prices???

  • ||

    Uh, weren't you the one upthread who claimed that falling prices, even when supply rose, was proof that inflation wasn't occuring???

  • ||

    Ron, you need to realize that the greens don't care about the environment, for them its just a vehicle to destroy trade, commerce and capitalism.

  • Ur Right||

    you need to realize how ignorant and unfounded this comment is

  • ||

    U.R.
    note to fool: sorry to burst your bubble, don't raise your hand and comment if you didn't read chapter about why the former president of Sierra Club left because they were becoming radicalized...

  • KDN||

    Wasn't it the founder of Greenpeace? Or is the Sierra Club President an unrelated case?

  • ||

    damn, got a bad case of sometimers
    "its a thinking facility, not a storage facility"

  • ||

    Here we have the typical liberal "bait and switch" energy policy . Move away from dirty old coal and oil, dangerous nukes, and set up windmills and solar farms, they cry. But just try it and watch what happens! The same green activists who demand "alternative energy" are cheerfully suing to prevent
    it from ever being adopted- the usual subterfuge of some suddenly endangered lizard or slime mold, or perhaps unfettered wild scenery.

    Just look at the Kennedy opposition to the Cape Cod wind project, or the lawsuits against solar collectors in the Mojave Desert. And just so with fracking. It's a good idea until somebody actually tries it. Then they sue.

    They don't want to take away one form of energy and replace it with another. They want to take away America's energy forever. Why? Because people with access to reliable, inexpensive sources of energy are free to chart the course of their own lives. They don't need rationing and social planning and direction from the top. And that's what big government liberals are all about.

  • me too||

    "look at the Kennedy opposition to the Cape Cod wind project"

    Don't forget the Hudson Bay hydroelectric project. The greenies loved hydroelectric power generation right up until it threatened the hunting grounds of the native peoples.

  • Ben Wolf||

    This may come as a surprise, but "liberals" and "greens" are not a monolithic bloc, all pursuing the same goals. There are hundreds of constituent groups, many of which have conflicting agendas.

    There's no action plan we wait in front of a computer monitor to receive, telling us that this month we'll support fracturing or wind-power, then next month oppose. Opinions on energy policies among people other than the Right are exceedingly diverse.

  • bill||

    did anyone ever watch "the goode family" on its brief run?

    because it would seem to refute your claim

  • ||

    It sounds like a lot of people aren't interested in looking at the reality of the situation. Many seem to just want to vilify and fist-shake at the "opposite side"(if one can even call it that) of the spectrum. Its so much easier to do that than to actually relate with the situation.

  • Ur Right||

    ^^^^THIS^^^
    lets keep the battle of uneducated and ill informed opinions rolling.

  • ||

    tell me all about the scientific method used in "Gasland"...

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Opinions on energy policies among people other than the Right are exceedingly diverse.

    Oh, bullshit. "Greens" are some of the most stereotypically reactionary, philosophically monolithic people in the country. They want all the benefits of living in a modern, energy-abundant society and none of the costs.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Put four random environmentalists in a room and you get 3-4 different opinions.

    For example, there are environmentalists like James Hansen who think nuclear power is the best option for going carbon neutral. And there are enviros like Henry Wasserman who are adamantly opposed to nuclear. Then you have environmentalists like me who aren't opposed to nuclear power but think given the realities it just doesn't have much potential.

  • JoshINHB||

    Put four random environmentalists in a room and you get 3-4 different opinions.

    Yeah,

    The only thing they agree on is killing the American dream and enslaving the general public to enviro dominated government.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Yes, my desire is to kill the American Dream. You've found me out.

    I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids and that dog.

  • me too||

    And yet, James Hansen, Henry Wasserman and you all accept as gospel the notion that "going carbon neutral" is a good and necessary thing so there is, in fact, only one opinion and all of you use that one opinion as a pretext to suggest endless f'ing around with private property and free enterprise by government.

  • ||

    Opinions on energy policies among people other than the Right are exceedingly diverse.

    This is actually correct. All the green groups fight among themselves trying to convince the government to hand out big bucks to their "alternative" and to outlaw the other guy's "alternative".

    This same sort of thing happened with ethanol. You can see that most greens now have banded together to say ethanol is the most horrible thing ever.

    Ethanol is the worse thing ever but the greens do not care...they just know that ethanol is getting money and they are not getting it.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Many environmentalists have opposed corn-ethanol from day one, myself included.

    I wouldn't say, "All right libertarians think . . .", or "All blacks want . . .". It would be ridiculous.

    I just gave an example of three different positions on nuclear energy, and that extends to virtually every environmental issue.

  • Ur Right||

    "Greens" are some of the most stereotypically...

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOLOOLOLOLOLOOLOLOLOL

    I'm also sure you're the first one to want to include the externalities into cost right?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That's big talk coming from a charter member of the "Free Shit Army."

    You'd be the first to chimp out if your SNAP card wasn't recharged on your monthly Walmart run.

  • me too||

    "Opinions on energy policies among people other than the Right are exceedingly diverse."

    That's true. Some greenies want the government to regulate society back to an agrarian state, some greenies want the government to ban industrial activity outright and other greenies want the government to abolish private property rights altogether.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Can you give me some names? The only people with ideas like you describe I've ever met are a handful of deep ecologists way out on the fringes.

  • me too||

    Anyone advocating the adoption of the Kyoto treaty is advocating the de-industrialization of the US, the redistribution of much of its wealth, principally to countries with wretched governments, and the surrendering of much of its economic sovereignty to a completely unaccountable international bureaucracy which would have the authority to micromanage private industry in the US. Lots of politicians have advocated the adoption of Kyoto, including WJC, Al Gore, etc. I guess you include them as being out on the fringes.

    Oh, and James Hansen is a sleezy, dishonest prick.

  • me too||

    Sorry, I was sloppy. You did write "The only people ... I've ever met" so maybe you spend so much time camping out in treetops thwarting lumberjacks or chaining yourself to bulldozers that you don't have a chance to meet a lot of opportunistic politicians. In truth, I don't know why you would have to meet greenie wack-os in order to be aware of their existence or the preposterous level of influence.

  • Ur Right||

    Any "greenie" with any knowledge at all knows that property rights are one of the keys to a sustainable future. Keep projecting, it looks good on you.

  • ||

    "Any "greenie" with any knowledge at all"

    There's the flaw in your argument.

  • Ben Wolf||

    May I also say that I am an environmentalist, and I fully support putting a windfarm on Robert Kennedy Jr.'s doorstep.

  • skr||

    And the wave farm down by San Pedro is being opposed by environmentalists and surfers.

  • Dude||

    fucks up the waves man. go pollute somewhere else....inland like.

  • ||

    I think this is an interesting article on a pretty contentious issue.

    I agree that Natural Gas has potential as a bridge fuel, it burns cleaner and is certainly better than coal or petroleum in terms of Carbon output.

    I am from Northeastern PA, in the heart of the gas development, and have done graduate work exploring the natural gas industry in the area.

    I believe there are many issues this article overlooks in an effort to simplify the problem, and to pigeon hole "environmentalist"who seemingly oppose it because it doesn't go along with their personal agendas.

    1. The definition of hydraulic fracking is incomplete. True, groundwater isnt polluted very often from the well-bore and casing. But it is polluted when the spent water sits in huge open air pits at the drill sites. They often leak or flood, which does pollute water. However, this does not fall in with the definition of fracking and is therefore not accounted for. This were MOST of the pollution takes place.

    2. Yes most of the fluid is water and sand, I'm not sure about 99.9 %, but when millions of gallons are being used, even a small percentage of heavy chemicals can turnout to be a huge amount in the long-term. Many of which traditional municipal water facilities cannot treat.

    3. Solar and wind have their drawbacks, (precious metals mined for use in solar, difficulties transferring energy in wind power, etc.) But in natural gas extraction, water can be and is seriously contaminated.

    Personally when it comes to drinking water, I think we need to be careful. I would rather have clean water than cheap energy.

    There are justifiable reasons why people are concerned about the fracking process. It can be easy to disregard this especially if one live in an area with no gas development. But being in the middle of all this, I certainly want this industry being looked at more closely.

    I think its great this article is out here. However, I don't know anyone who is short-sighted enough to be against natural gas because it "threatens" their investment in solar and wind.

    I am all for safe development of natural gas, it has great potential. But this article simply occasionally downplays many real issues in an effort it seems to "get one over" on "environmentalist."

  • ||

    Too rational for this site.

    Throw in a Ru Paul Federal Reserve slam and you get extra points!

  • skr||

    Yeah but what's worse, fracking or strip mining? Btw from Ohio.

  • ||

    The amusing part is that strip mining has the same sediment pool/water contamination/heavy metal problems that fracking does...only these problems with fracking are far smaller by extent.

    Funny how a guy working in Pennsylvania on mining neglects to mention that then claims that Ron is getting one over on environmentalists.

  • ||

    Strip mining is definitely worse than fracking.

    I don't support either. I understand we need energy, and if we don't support natural gas development, than that might mean we need to extract more energy from coal and other resources through a more damaging process like strip mining.

    I hear the point (if that is your point), and I think its a good one. It raises some larger questions in terms of where we get our energy.

    Its like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Get your energy through this ecologically degrading process or refuse and get your energy from a more ecologically degrading process. I wish there were other options. Certainly points can be raised for caution around both processes.

    In terms of getting one over on environmentalists, I'm not sure if this was Ron's intent. I just wish he were more specific. It bothers me when generalities are used, and everyone seems to have a different opinion on who exactly we're talking about.

    Who falls into that category(environmentalist)? If i care about the health of where I live, does that make me an environmentalist?

    Or do I have to be hypocritical, pie in the sky and vegan?

    "Environmentalist" I've heard that word applied to hundreds of different people, ideas and opinions that I have no idea what it even means anymore.

    I hear the term "greens" and "enviros" on this thread pretty often. some think this means liberals, others think its a trick to fool people into a controlled society, others might think it just means democrats.

    Its hard to have a discussion about it, if we don't know who the players are.

  • ||

    I hear the term "greens" and "enviros" on this thread pretty often. some think this means liberals, others think its a trick to fool people into a controlled society, others might think it just means democrats.

    In the context of this blog and the general attitude of libertarians here environmentalist generally means those who wish to grow the power and size of government on the pretext of protecting the environment.

    No one here wants to destroy the environment. Most here think it would be better protected by private individuals, common law and strong property rights rather then a massive growth of government.

    It really is no more complicated then that.

  • me too||

    +

  • Neu Mejican||

    In the context of this blog and the general attitude of libertarians here environmentalist generally means those who wish to grow the power and size of government on the pretext of protecting the environment.

    No one here wants to destroy the environment. Most here think it would be better protected by private individuals, common law and strong property rights rather then a massive growth of government.

    It really is no more complicated then that.

    Shorter version: we fear some non-specific threatening group of people that primarily lives in our own imagination.

  • me too||

    "we fear some non-specific threatening group of people that primarily lives in our own imagination."

    Tell that to the farmers in CA who can't grow crops because enviros have highjacked the State government and are preventing the farmers from getting the irrigation water that they need. Enviromentalists have real influence and use it to wreck other people's lives.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Tell that to the farmers in CA who can't grow crops because enviros have highjacked the State government and are preventing the farmers from getting the irrigation water that they need. Enviromentalists have real influence and use it to wreck other people's lives.

    This is an odd example to use. Where do you think that irrigation water is coming from?

  • me too||

    Do you need another example? Consider the Michigan Wetland Protection Act and its attendant permit process. The act allows the MI State government to block improvements to private property on the pretext of protecting "wetlands". The definition of wetlands is broad enough that it can be applied to any land with a five foot square patch of grass that gets soggy once in a while. MI is covered with inland lakes and soggy land is everywhere. I have personally known people who have paid a premium for lakefront property only to find that they could not dump a load of fill dirt, plant trees or flowers or put down sod because the State declared that their property contained wetlands. It wasn't just the soggy grass patch that was affected. Improvements were blocked for their entire property. It took one couple years and a helluva lot of hassle just to get "permission" to build a small cottage. Another couple was blocked from building anything. They stood in exasperated frustration as the State made clear to them that the money they had spent on a vacant lakefront lot with the intention of building a snug little cottage as their retirement home was wasted on a piece of property that they could not use for anything. Naturally, they still had to pay property taxes on the property and the State didn't compensate them for their taking through regulation.

    Environmentalists have real influence and use it to wreck other people's lives by watering down their property rights.

  • ||

    Specific threatening groups: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, etc.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ron Bailey|5.11.11 @ 8:55AM|#

    Specific threatening groups: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, etc.

    Really Ron? You think these groups are just stealth socialism that "wish to grow the power and size of government on the pretext of protecting the environment."

    It's worse than I thought.

  • ||

    NM: Really Neu? You are unaware of their specific policy proposals and their general dislike of market solutions? Your naïveté is much worse than I thought.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ron. Read what you are accusing them of. You are saying that their primary purpose is to grow the power of government and that they are just using environmental concerns as a cover for their REAL agenda.

    While it is one thing to disagree with specific policy proposals, it is another to endorse the view that Joshua put forth above. In addition, just glancing at your list I see a pretty diverse range of support for various market based solutions to specific problems within and among those groups.

  • ||

    NM: actually I take it that JC is observing something which I believe nearly any poll will tell you (as well as the recent research at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project on which I have reported) that "environmentalism" strongly attracts egalitarians and communitarians - they are highly suspicious of markets and a lot of new technologies - the latter exemplified by their general support for the strong version of the precautionary principle.

    With regard to the alleged support of markets by the specific groups mentioned - my analysis is that they support markets only when they think they will provide a certain predetermined result they favor.

  • ||

    River Keepers
    there, that's pretty specific or how about
    Philadelphia City Council
    that's specific...

  • Ur Right||

    Or what this really means: A green or enviro is anyone that has a different belief than I do.

  • ||

    thinking before writing actually helps with your on site image

  • ||

    Dude, the hysteria hasn't apparently been from the heavy metals and chemicals in the frack fluid polluting the water (as studies have been unable to find them). Its always been about the claim that fracking releases natural gas in the water, which has always been a claim of correlation with no proof of causation.

    Open air pits could be an issue, but why don't the same issues happen basically anywhere there is drilling (as drilling mud from diverters often sits in pits and no ground water contamination has been found there).

    There's always a potential that faulty injection wells are leaking or that old sealed wells are no longer sealed, but the media and the scientists haven't apparently looked into those.

  • Ur Right||

    Please keep telling someone more about their research, I'm sure you know significantly more about it from your time on the internet.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I am all for safe development of natural gas, it has great potential. But this article simply occasionally downplays many real issues in an effort it seems to "get one over" on "environmentalist."

    Yeah...it is odd how often Ron Bailey writes articles seemingly for nothing more than that purpose. As soon as the word "environmentalist" appears in anything written by Ron Bailey, you can pretty much count on a fun house mirror version of "the environmentalist" hypocrisy to follow.

  • ||

    NM: With due respect, "environmentalism" is an ideology. I believe (perhaps erroneously) that I take more scientific evidence into account when evaluating the costs and benefits of natural gas production than do self-described activists. Of course I could not include all the information in a web column but I tried to offer sufficient evidence to suggest the ideological nature of recent activist opposition to fracking. If you are not convinced, I ask you to consider what sorts of evidence I could offer that would persuade you that I may be right? If you can't readily think of any, perhaps that indicates something about your own ideological commitments.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ron, respectfully, you are conflating one group of "activists" with "environmentalism" writ large. If individual activists have flip-flopped on the issue for no good reason, call them out on it. Your article doesn't seem to even provide evidence of individual environmental groups substantially changing their tune on natural gas. Just vague accusations.

    From above, you say

    With regard to the alleged support of markets by the specific groups mentioned - my analysis is that they support markets only when they think they will provide a certain predetermined result they favor.

    This is true. Environmentalism is largely an ends based movement. It is not a means based movement. Environmentalist will, largely, line up in support of solutions that they see likely to work to achieve their goal. That includes market solutions in many instances.

    But the implication that Joshua was making was that these groups are MEANS based, primarily. That the ends they profess to support are just being used as a lever to increase government power. You jumped right on board with that assertion. You walk it back a bit in in your follow up when you say "'environmentalism' strongly attracts egalitarians and communitarians." Might be true, but that is not the same as saying that environmentalism is primarily a tool used to leverage more government.

  • me too||

    Environmentalism is largely an ends based movement. It is not a means based movement. ... But the implication that Joshua was making was that these groups are MEANS based, primarily.

    Joshua's words don't imply that enviromentalism is means based, they imply that the ends pursued by enviromentalism is not a protected environment, but rather more governmental power. The willingness of different environmentalists to pursue different strategies and solutions to the problems that they allege exist is not inconsistent with that. The general unwillingness on the part of environmentalists to engage in realistic cost/benefit analyses argues that their real goal is greater governmental intrusion and their frequent emphasis on extra-national solutions are evidence of a desire to promote global statism.

    Furthermore, the "market-based solutions" proposed by enviromentalists are never truly market based, but are at best government managed solutions which involve portions of the private sector. Truly market-based solutions wouldn't involve a need for government activity except to eliminate existing government interference.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Joshua's words don't imply that enviromentalism is means based, they imply that the ends pursued by enviromentalism is not a protected environment, but rather more governmental power.

    Indeed, I thought that as soon as I hit submit.

    The willingness of different environmentalists to pursue different strategies and solutions to the problems that they allege exist is not inconsistent with that. The general unwillingness on the part of environmentalists to engage in realistic cost/benefit analyses argues that their real goal is greater governmental intrusion and their frequent emphasis on extra-national solutions are evidence of a desire to promote global statism.

    This doesn't follow. Even if we accept your claims that they don't engage in realistic cost-benefit analysis, that doesn't imply that their "true goals" are different than their stated goals.

    Furthermore, the "market-based solutions" proposed by enviromentalists are never truly market based, but are at best government managed solutions which involve portions of the private sector. Truly market-based solutions wouldn't involve a need for government activity except to eliminate existing government interference.

    Many specific environmental policy proposals involve removal of existing governmental interference. The most prominent focus of the environmental movement, I would add, has been educational and aimed at persuading individuals to value the environmental impact that their choices have. This doesn't involve government interference beyond, perhaps, curriculum development for public schools.

  • me too||

    Many specific environmental policy proposals involve removal of existing governmental interference.

    These tend to be proposals which demonize corporations, a standard part of many statist philosophies since statism seeks to eliminate centers of power which compete with the government for influence. Demonizing corporations and other private entities is also part of the statist tactic of increasing state power by turning public opinion against a scapegoat and then doing something which exceeds the previous authority of the state using the excuse of reigning in the activities of or punishing the scapegoat. If environmentalists were consistent when seeking to end crony capitalist relationships, I would support them, but they tend to leave alone those corporations or private entities which cooperate with liberals, even if those entities have very cozy relationships with politicians. Environmentalists seem to target in particular those companies with non-union shops, making the enviros look partisan.

    Also, trying to end chronyism in government is not really an environmental issue per say. It more appropriately comes under the headings of fighting corruption or of governmental reform.

    The most prominent focus of the environmental movement, I would add, has been educational and aimed at persuading individuals to value the environmental impact that their choices have. This doesn't involve government interference beyond, perhaps, curriculum development for public schools.

    You are right about the primary focus of enviromentalists being the insertion of their ideology into the school curriculum. You are wrong to suggest that this is a minor or benign activity. It is perhaps the most hideous and insidious activity of environmentalists. They have been indoctrinating schoolchildren to view the environment in what is best described as religious terms.

    Teaching hostility to corporations, which are treated as evil despoilers of the Earth, is part of a broader effort to teach US schoolchildren that free market capitalism, consumerism and industrialization are bad things. The US is particularly targeted even though US industrial production is about the cleanest (maybe the cleanest?) in the world.

    As a side note, wrapped-up in all this is the bullshit suggestion that Amerindians were environmentalists who deliberately lived "sustainable" lifestyles and lived "in harmony" with nature. The insistence on treating Amerindian as especially noble and virtuous is all part of the attempt to portray American as a horrible country which must be radically changed in order to be redeemed.

    It is absolutely insane and bizarro world-like for government-run schools to teach the children of the country to hate and distain their own culture and system of political economy, particularly since the system of government of the US has produced such a happy, prosperous and secure country.

    It is hard for me to see the activities of enviromentalists in the public schools as anything other than evil. The more socialist a country, the less accountability is applied to both government and industrial production. The biggest enviromental offenders are easily communist countries, but you would never know it from what gets taught to American schoolchildren. American parents are sometimes unaware of just how fervently their children are being indoctrinated until their children starts scolding and lecturing them about recycling, about the cleaning products they use, living a sustainable lifestyle or about some alleged corporate "transgression". Needless to say, children have absolutely no concept of the economic tradeoffs involved and have no defense against being presented with inaccurate or misleading information. They cannot make rational assessments and so mindlessly spew the attitudes they have been taught even if there is real societal disagreement about the facts, e.g. the danger or even existence of AGW.

    Listening to parents talk, sometimes somewhat jokingly, about having to "deprogram" their kids after they come home from school is something that I find shocking. The fact that the schools are so expensive and do such a horrible job of providing a basic education just adds to the outrage.

  • Neu Mejican||

    BTW:

    With due respect, "environmentalism" is an ideology.

    I realize that you work for an ideologically based publication. I am sure you do as well. What is unclear is why you think that the ideology your articles are designed to promote is advanced by painting "environmentalism" as the enemy ideology of liberty. If market solutions are the true path to a better environment, then this strategy is counter productive as you are alienating a group that should have automatic affinity for your cause. You are smart enough and deliberate enough in your writing that I suspect this is a specific strategy on your part. I have always found it surprising that you don't see its weaknesses as a rhetorical approach.

    But your comments here make me think that perhaps you are less strategic than I had suspected. You might actually think of the issue in the terms reified by Joshua's comment.

  • ||

    NM: You really don't know that environmentalism as an ideology attracts egalitarians and communitarians? And that egalitarians and communitarians are highly suspicious of markets because they believe them to (1) disrupt communities and (2) result in unequal outcomes? I just know that you are not that naive about the intellectual anti-market (and therefore anti-liberty) commitments of environmentalism as an ideology.

    May I again direct you to the Yale Cultural Cognition Project? For links see my columns "More Information Confirms What You Already Know" and "Everyone Who Knows What They Are Talking About Agrees with Me."

  • Neu Mejican||

    NM: You really don't know that environmentalism as an ideology attracts egalitarians and communitarians?

    And others, yes I know that. You claim seems to be that it ONLY attracts those that want to grow government. And more importantly conflate the "environmentalism" with these unrelated ideologies.

    And that egalitarians and communitarians are highly suspicious of markets because they believe them to (1) disrupt communities and (2) result in unequal outcomes?

    Sure, but there are degrees of suspicion and, as a result, a range of opinions about how to address those concerns even among those that are more "statist" than you would feel comfortable. Certainly nothing you have presented supports the assertion that environmental concerns are subsidiary to these suspicions about the negative consequences of markets - evern for those environmentalists that fit into your "egalitarian/communitarian" box.

    I just know that you are not that naive about the intellectual anti-market (and therefore anti-liberty) commitments of environmentalism as an ideology.

    And here is where you are in error. Environmentalism isn't "egalitarianism" or "communitarianism" even if it attracts many who believe in these ideology. Environmentalism is not ideologically committed to a means, it is committed to an end. There is nothing inherently anti-liberty about environmentalism.

    May I again direct you to the Yale Cultural Cognition Project? For links see my columns "More Information Confirms What You Already Know" and "Everyone Who Knows What They Are Talking About Agrees with Me."

    Whew. This restores my faith in you. You are just being strategic in your commitment to your own cause. I still think it is rhetorically the wrong tact, but I guess the "find an enemy to rally the troops" ploy has a long history, so who can blame ya.

  • ||

    NM: I don't grok what you mean by "strategic" - I believe that I am describing in an accurate but necessarily shorthand way the dominant ideological commitments of environmental movement broadly speaking. Of course there are market oriented people who are very dedicated to protecting the environment, e.g., the Property Environment Research Center in Bozeman where I spent last summer working on a new book. Finally, I rely not only on polls and research articles but 20 years of reporting in this area. I think we will just have to disagree.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Ronald,

    You're comparing the global warming potential of methane over the Cornell study's 20-year time frame with the IPCC's 100-year timeframe, which doesn't match up.

    Cornell sets the GWP of methane over a 20-year period at 105 times that of CO2, and 33 times over a 100-year period. The IPCC 4th assessment sets the GWP at 72 times that of CO2 over 20 years and 25 times over 100 years.

    The numbers are not wildly at variance.

  • me too ||

    The real problem is starting from the premise that AGW is anything other than a manufactured crisis.

  • ||

    i have problem with zeroing in on fraking as creating the methane problem when cattle flatulence are continuously ignored...

  • ||

    is continuously ignored?

  • ||

    Ben Wolf: The variance is the time frame of warming -- over a 100 year period most of the natural gas released now will be gone and be contributing almost nothing to man-made warming. I suspect that Howarth's selection of the twenty year time frame is necessary for him to conclude that natural gas is worse than coal. That claim dissipates if he uses the 100-year warming potential generally used in policy discussions. In other words, he's hyping in order to get the policy result he wants, not trying to do good science. As I say, that's just my suspicion.

  • Realist||

    " In other words, he's hyping in order to get the policy result he wants, not trying to do good science."
    Wait a minute are we talking AGW or good science??? The two are mutually exclusive.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Ronald,

    But Howarth did both a 20-year and a 100-year analysis. Yes his GWP estimates are significanlty higher than the 4th assessment, but you can find a fair number of climatologists who argue that Howarth's numbers are not unreasonable because the IPCC is exceedingly conservative.

    I understand your concern regarding possible fear-mongering, but I suggest that isn't due to Howarth and company fudging the numbers. Rather, it seems the press simply picked the scariest number and ran with it. As is their wont.

  • ||

    you can find a fair number of climatologists who argue that Howarth's numbers are not unreasonable because the IPCC is exceedingly conservative.

    So lets see:

    The IPCC overestimated glacial loss
    overestimated loss of sea ice extent
    overestimated sea level rise
    overestimated global temperatures
    overestimated crop loss
    overestimated "climate refuges"
    overestimated extinctions
    overestimated loss of biodiversity
    overestimated drought
    overestimated the effect of green house gases
    and
    overestimated forest loss.

    If you mean that the IPCC was conservative in that it exaggerated every claim it ever made then yes i agree the IPCC is exceedingly conservative.

    Anyway it is fun watching you and Ron fight. Seeing two warmists argue is like watching two super nerds argue over their fantasy football leagues during half time of the Superbowl.

  • ||

    If you mean that the IPCC was conservative in that it exaggerated every claim it ever made then yes i agree the IPCC is exceedingly conservative.

    Oh wait I guess I am wrong

    They did not exaggerate solar forceing....they in fact underestimated by as much as 6 times.

    http://www.aanda.org/index.php.....Itemid=129

  • Ben Wolf||

    You can see
    here that Total Solar Irradiance has been virtually flat since the late 1950's.

    You can see here that while temperatures continued to rise we only recently emerged fom the deepest solar minimum in a century.

  • Ben Wolf||

    1). The IPCC did not discuss sea level rise beyond thermal expansion.

    2). Temperatures are tracking in line with IPCC projections.

    3). IPCC did not make projections on crop loss beyond providing evidence that rising temperatures could have a serious impact on yields.

    4). The IPCC's discussion of "climate refugees" were projected for 2050 and 2099. As we aren't there yet, it's difficult to determine whether they were wrong.

    5). The IPCC does not address biodiversity. That is the responsibility of the IPBES.

    6). The IPCC discusses loss of forest in 2050 and 2100. As we aren't there yet it's a little premature to claim they were wrong.

    7). Where did you get the idea that the IPCC overestimated the effects of greenhouse gases? Overestimated how?

  • Ur Right||

    How dare you question joshua cornings scientific wearwithall!

  • ||

    BW: Actually the IPCC recently backtracked on "climate refugees" - away from my computer but you can look it up. With regard to (2) - good point about sunspots - also global temps are tracking at the low end of IPCC projections.

  • ||

    A nuclear power plant is hit by a record-shattering earthquake and causes no fuel-related fatalities, and we have bureaucrats and activists rushing to destroy nuclear power across the country and around the world.

    A natural gas pipeline explodes in San Bruno, killing four people and incinerating 37 homes in a hellish fireball; or an explosion in Allenstown, Pennsylvania kills five people; and it's business as usual.

    Follow the money.

  • ||

    if E pluribus unum don't fight the activists, then we deserve what we get.

  • jacob||

    The founders starting blowing peoples heads off because of a 5% tax on their breakfast beverage. We work all day Monday AND Tuesday for our local, state and federal masters, and we are quiescent. Pussies.

  • GMT II||

    While deep down I know that AGW is really a warmed over verison of the "Club of Rome" money grab, I still hate winter and am pulling for the AGW fools to be right. I can see beach front property in my future while standing on our front porch.

  • ||

    and we won't have to hear about those silly "operation bring the bums from outside because they don't know enough to come in from the cold and hereby help them continue their anti-social behavior"

  • Lee||

    I feel gypped. I thought this article was about Battlestar Galactica, not how environmentalists are obstructionist hypocrites.

  • ||

    Shale gas is a great industry and one where cold work with Canada and our other neighbors to power America. The same can't be said for Wind or Solar which are inefficient and expensive.

    http://www.intellectualtakeout.....ble-energy

  • ||

    It would make excellent sense to develop this resouse, therefore it won't be done.

  • ||

    It's time to jump to the time honored agruement of the enviromental left and leftists in general.

    Left Logic Says: It would be insane to start extracting natural gas as it would be a long time before we actually had the gas and this would not help our current high cost of energy and reliance on oil. And of course nuclear is out as it is TOO DANGEROUS and could hurt someone. So instead we should resort to Wind and Solar energy which can come on line tomorrow afternoon and then we will be better people and the world will be happy too.

    There. Now I feel better about myself.

  • NJTom||

    The goal of the environmental movement is to restrict all forms of energy production, not just fossil fuels, and return us to some sort of mythic, pre-industrial utopia. For years, solar and wind were the sacred cows to which the green movement prayed. Now that those energy forms are increasingly available on an industrial scale, the enviro lobby is fighting many of those projects tooth and nail. Witness the resistance to wind power all along the U.S. east coast and solar in the Mojave desert.

  • ||

    Simple test to tell if someone is an envirowhacko: If a person considers flora and fauna to be more important than human beings and their right to make a living, they are a whack job. Those that refuse to compromise anyway.

  • jacob||

    Then most of the state of Massachusetts has gone around the bend.

  • ||

    Supporting bigger Gov't means more money to a cause that might not otherwise be worthy or viable in the real world. Hence certain groups and causes seek bigger Gov't in order to survive in a world that doesn't want or need them.

  • ||

    Environists are trivially easy to read. Anything that isn't "next year's technology" - in other words, anything that actually works - is unacceptable.

  • ||

    So, environmentalists in the past were working with information from the past. Now, we're working with what we know today, and it's clear that fracking is fricking dangerous. In science--and in common sense--the idea is to use the best information available to you. If it turns out solar energy kills puppies, you better believe I, and anybody else with half a brain, will be against it in the future...

  • ||

    Like the article, but just to quibble: the correct term is fracing without the K. Fracking with the K is a battlestar galactica term.

  • ||

    should the globe warm by a huge amount, the consequences to watch are (1) shifting the grain belts to unfertile soil and (2) demise of the north atlantic circulator ocean currents, triggering an ice age. rising sea levels drowning bangladesh and the demise of various species are not worth spending anything to stop. And particularly they are not worth a dictatorial economic and political regieme or a totalitarian imposition of a new life style.

    accordingly having my opinion based on the alleged facts of what to do about global warming if it were as real as its most extreme proponents say, which is NOTHING at all, I could not care less whether it is real or not, nor would i care to hear ANY decision made with any reference to it.

    I await the strangling of the last enviornmentalist in the entestines of the last trial lawyer.

  • ||

    As an environmentalist who was for shale gas and who is now more cautious concerning the fracking process, I believe the premise of this article is complete bunk. My concern over fracking, and that of most other "environmentalists," has nothing to do with the displacement of renewables. It also has little to do with the product, natural gas. It has to do with the potential harm from the fracking process itself. That's it. No ulterior motives.

    During most of the recent boom, the public knew very little about hydrofracking in practice. As a result of the "Haliburton loophole," we had no idea all the chemicals that were being used in the process because the company was exempted from Safe Drinking Water Act disclosures and other environmntal regs. It didn't get much publicity back when the 2005 EPAct was enacted, but as more info began trickling out (despite industry's bogus attempts to claim trade secret protections for environmental degradation), the bizarreness and stupidity of that loophole became apparent.

    I teach Sustainable Energy Law. I do not find it likely that these chemicals as injected are making their way to the drinking water table, as that would require them to travel thru thousands of feet of largely impermeable rock. I, and most folks with an environmental ethic, have three primary concerns. First, the quantity of the fresh water being used in this process is, we've learned, ridiculaously massive. Second, now that we've learned of the chemicals involved, the storage (and disposal) of the "produced water" needs far greater control. And third, new reports suggest that, with fugitive emissions, the GHG impact of the entire fracking process is likely as great as coal mining, despite the fact that natural gas has only half the impact as coal when combusted.

    Hopefully, these process concerns can be addressed. Recycling the produced water would go a long way towards addressing the first two concerns. But there also probably has to be some more monitoring of the cess pools always hidden just beyond the mountain. And the technology is also there for companies to capture fugitive emissions at the injection site. This would cost the companies some money, but that cost is quite small compared to the amount of gas being captured.

    Address these process concerns, and most environmentalists would be squarely behind shale gas extraction.

  • plisade||

    Does anyone think that maybe this whole EPA/Environmental thing is just a front to give the U.S. an excuse to hoard our own natural resources while we suck up other nations' resources?

  • ||

    Did anybody follow the link to that study?
    It says that the methane samples were 20-50 times higher near gas wells, and an explosion hazard.

    Even if what the article says is true (and is the whole truth), the company is still externalizing.
    I could pollute your air and then claim you need better central A/C and window seals. That doesn't mean that my coal plant (or whatever) pollution is your responsibility to deal with.

    Anyway, virtually all of these companies have government monopolies or government grants or leases. So you can only defend them so much when people can light their water (or more accurately, the air trapped in their water system) on fire. It's not like they are paragons of free market capitalism. They are probably only 2 steps removed from being government themselves.

  • ||

    Btw, I meant that in a non-rhetorical way. Did anybody follow that link? I'm not even sure Bailey did. The full paper might say that old wells are the reason the methane is seeping into the household water supply, but the abstract certainly attributes that methane to the gas companies. I seriously doubt when they dug their farm wells 20 years ago, they knew they needed to make them methane-proof.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....1100682108

    Anyway, I guess I'll take my dog to poop on my neighbor's lawn. If he doesn't like it, he should have built a better fence, after all.

  • ||

    I've been on a very successful frac crew for five years now .. I'd be happy to answer almost any questions you have.
    It's a uniquely challenging job, but the pay is good. All you have to do is pass a piss test, have a clean driving record, and pass a Federal background check to get hired...I'm a high school dropout. You can't believe how relieving it is to be working in an industry that weeds out addicts. For one reason and another, the turnover rate is very high... Takes a particular mindset to be able to succeed, plus a spouse who can adapt to the schedule.
    Starting pay with benefits is, at the low end, 55k a year. I'm making 100k this year, and a large reason for that is all the work we're getting in NoDak. It's a boom or bust business, tho, and we're booming right now.
    In regard to the water requirements for a frac.. I don't think I've been on a job in the last two years that didn't have a third party company pressing the water for reuse. Most environmentalists seem to be about 5 years behind the industry trends, likely because this stuff IS trade secret stuff.

  • ||

    Dear Ron,

    Just to throw out a question into the mix. I cannot help but wonder if there is any connection between the Environmentalists deciding to reject a natural gas option and the fact that, in the past year or so, large natural gas fields were discovered off the Israel's coastal waters. In other words, is this a tacit political issue or a true social concern?

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