What Do Fidel Castro and the New York Times Have in Common Now?


They both hate shale gas. Over the past year the New York Times has been eager to find and magnify any problems associated with hydrofracking, the technique which has unleashed perhaps a century's worth of domestic natural gas reserves. Now Times' editors are joined by Cuba's former communist dictator Fidel Castro. According to Reuters, the former lider maximo has just published a long column warning that the world is marching into the abyss with shale gas:

Castro sided with the critics, quoting reports on the negative effects of fracking and research that said shale gas emits more greenhouse gases than gas produced from conventional wells.

"It is sufficient to point out that among the numerous chemical substances injected with the water to extract this gas is found benzene and toluene, which are substances terribly carcinogenic," he wrote.

The information on shale gas was something "no political cadre or sensible person could ignore," he said.

Interestingly, Comrade Fidel doesn't seem to be the least bit disturbed by the greenhouse gas emissions that will be produced if China succeeds in developing oil production offshore of Cuba.

Look, every industrial activity can have unwanted side effects, especially if it is implemented negligently. It's a given that anyone who suffers damage to herself or her property as a result of fracking should be fairly compensated, period. However, leftish opposition to fracking is not about the problem of industrial accidents; it's about the fact that cheap abundant relatively low-carbon natural gas undercuts their preferred forms of high-cost renewable energy, chiefly wind and solar power.