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Free Minds & Free Markets

Climate Campaigner Bill McKibben's Misleading Anti-Fracking Crusade

"We closed coal plants and opened methane leaks, and the result is that things have gotten worse."

McKibbenroadtoparis.infoClimate campaigner Bill McKibben is against fracking shale to produce natural gas. In a new article, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Chemistry," over at The Nation, McKibben claims that recent research suggests that leaking methane is offsetting the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that come from switching from coal to gas to generate electricity. Burning methane produces about half the carbon dioxide that burning coal does. However, methane in the short run is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and so much is supposedly escaping into the atmosphere from fracking that shale gas could be worse than coal for the climate. As a consequence, McKibben wants to ban fracking.

McKibben is chiefly relying upon a study by Harvard researchers that claim to have detected a 30 percent increase in U.S. methane emissions over the period 2002-2014 using satellite and other data. Such an increase would basically offset the Environmental Protection Agency's claims that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have been declining since 2005. This would mean that the U.S. is far from meeting President Obama's pledge to cut U.S. emissions by 17 percent below its 2005 emission levels by 2020.

McKibben's article is misleading argues Ted Nordhaus, one of the founders of the eco-modernist Breakthrough Institute think tank. Nordhaus points out that McKibben failed to note or cite another study on recent atmospheric methane trends published in Science in early March. In that study, New Zealand researchers were able to distinguish sources of methane based on the presence of various carbon isotopes. The researchers report that the increases in atmospheric methane since 2006 have come almost entirely from biological sources, e.g., wetlands, rice farming, and livestock. If this is the case, then a ban on fracking would be counter-productive since it would deny people access to a cheap and lower-carbon fuel source. Nordhaus notes that McKibben must have been aware of this high-profile study that contradicts his anti-fracking thesis.

To make the methane situation even more confusing, another study from German researchers was published one day after the Science article in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics that used ethane emissions as a way to trace methane sources. They concluded that "at least 40% of the worldwide methane concentration increase after 2007 have to be attributed to the oil and gas sector and that the emissions took place in the northern hemisphere."

McKibben's bottom line:

One of the nastiest side effects of the fracking boom, in fact, is that the expansion of natural gas has undercut the market for renewables, keeping us from putting up windmills and solar panels at the necessary pace.

Nordhaus's bottom line: 

So long as the climate movement is limited to NIMBY fracking opponents, anti-nuclear greens, and renewables fabulists, it is unlikely to achieve either the broad social consensus that will be necessary to advance aggressive action, nor action that is particularly likely to achieve the levels of carbon reduction that will be necessary to significantly mitigate climate change. 

Nordhaus is right.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If we simply regulate all other energy options out of existence, the market will develop a viable green alternative.

  • Zunalter||

    You mean, of course, besides nuclear.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Bill McKibben is an un-reformed, 200-proof, human-hating asshole!
    “At its extreme, green ideology expresses itself in utter contempt for humanity. Reviewing Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature in the Los Angeles Times, National Park Service research biologist David M. Graber concluded with this stunning passage: ‘Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the lineat about a billion years ago, maybe half thatwe quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.’

  • SQRLSY One||

    “It is hard to take such notions seriously without sounding like a bit of a kook yourself. But there they arecalmly expressed in the pages of a major, mainstream, Establishment newspaper by an employee of the federal government. When it is acceptable to say such things in polite intellectual company, when feel-good environmentalists tolerate the totalitarians in their midst, when sophisticates greet the likes of Graber with indulgent nods and smiles rather than arguments and outrage, we are one step further down another bloody road to someone’s imagined Eden. All the greens need is an opportunity and a Lenin.”
    From “Free Minds & Free Markets”, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1993, which is a compilation of 25 years of articles from Reason magazine, this one being “The Green Road to Serfdom”, April 1990, by Virginia I. Postrel.

    McKibben HATES humans and want to see us all DEAD! He is a hypocrite, because he has not yet committed suicide... Not that I wish that EVIL (suicide) on ANYONE, but McKibben is, himself, EVIL, 4-letter word... Yes, call me judgmental...

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    ...and of course there should be no nuclear either. It's solar and wind or nothing, preferably nothing, and stop breeding.

    [/sarc]

    Don't know what to tell ya McKibbon, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

  • BYODB||

    "...there ain't no such thing as a free lunch."


    Heresy! Shun the non-believer! SHHHHHUUUNNNNNNN!

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Climate Campaigner Bill McKibben's Misleading...

    You could put literally any word in after that and it would be true. I believe most of the alarmists are simply dupes, but McKibben is a fucking zealot who has consciously decided that anything, truth, credibility or other people, is worth sacrificing in the name of appeasing the angry climate god. Good thing he's a moron, or he would be truly terrifying.

  • ThomasD||

    He's a watermelon.

  • Old Mexican Mighty Aggressor||

    Let's burn whales again, instead.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Only the green ones.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Sort of renewable, too. Better than sweat-shopping at Sea World, that's for sure.

    Speaking of sweatshop urchins, aren't there like a billion of them or something? That's a lot of BTU's making Nikes a Kubota could be making just as easy. Process surplus urchins into fuel, and for each urchin you burn you'd get like hundreds of acres in carbon-credits booking all the future savings of urchin's lifetime carbon footprint being reduced to the very brief one coming out your BMW's tailpipe.

    This is a win-win for me, and for the earth.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Anti-nuclear greens? Sounds redundant. I've yet to see a greenie crying out for more nuclear now.

  • See Double You||

    First they came for the coal, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a coal supporter.

    Then they came for the natural gas, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a natural gas supporter.

    ....

  • Homple||

    Studies of Ill-understood Complex Phenomena Disagree

    Film at 11.

  • Libertarian||

    I came here for a "he who smelt it dealt it" comment and there is nothing. NOTHING! You people are very disappointing today.

  • Quincy.||

    Fine, here you go:

    Dwight: Dude. Who whipped an egger?

    Cubert: He who smelled it, dealt it.

    Dwight: Well, he who denied it, supplied it.

    Cubert: Well, he who articulated it, particulated it.

    Dwight: Well, he who refuted it, tooted it.

    Cubert: Stalemate.
  • Crusty Juggler||

    I believe whatever does not make me a bigot.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    +1 social signal.

  • Mnemonicmike||

    Lying, distortion, and leaving out relevant facts have become a staple of the Left, all based on the idea that they will develop a more morally perfect world by being immoral and unethical now.

  • Shirley Knott||

    I think you mean "a staple of political partisans" as there's nothing unique to the Left about this.
    Both sides are diseased shitweasels.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I am a frayed knot!

  • R C Dean||

    Nordhaus is right, until he says this:

    nor action that is particularly likely to achieve the levels of carbon reduction that will be necessary to significantly mitigate climate change.

    Which assumes every premise and assertion of the CAGW movement.

  • Swiss Servator||

    DAMMIT!

  • R C Dean||

    *Buffs gleaming finish on new model FoE Temporal Comment Transducer Thingy*

  • Swiss Servator||

    I larfed

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Well double dumbass on me.

  • Agammamon||

    However, methane in the short run is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and so much is supposedly escaping into the atmosphere from fracking that shale gas could be worse than coal for the climate. As a consequence, McKibben wants to ban fracking.


    That's because anyone who is anyone knows its better to be poor and cold

    http://www.4thmedia.org/2012/0.....sh-winter/

    Than hot and rich.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CZ-v3h9EuQ
  • Swiss Servator||

    achieve the levels of carbon reduction that will be necessary to significantly mitigate climate change.

    Nordhaus is right.

    Sigh.

  • Brochettaward||

    Figured I would add this hear as it's the latest round of environmentalist derp to relate to my little story or anecdote. Sitting in class, and one of the little proglodytes raised their hand to answer a question on the issues of individuals having autonomy (in the context of scientists). They said that if we let people make choices on their own, they may make the wrong ones. Like poor people who buy the wrong kind of foods because they don't know better do to oppression. The mouthbreathing professor thought this was a grand answer.

    It was an outright example of authoritarianism. Right after this, the professor made a comment on how he couldn't believe people are voting for Donald fucking Trump.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I have no doubt the good Professor is keenly aware that "the Right People" almost never get in charge democratically.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    "That is why we need a state religion — to make sure people don't make the wrong choices about religion."

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    They said that if we let people make choices on their own, they may make the wrong ones.

    That's exactly right. And if you let those people makes choices for other people on their own, they will almost certainly make choices that will harm other people without the valuable feedback of personal consequence to ensure they don't make the same mistake again. We call that "government".

  • Old Mexican Mighty Aggressor||

    Climate campaigner Bill McKibben is against fracking shale to produce natural gas. In a new article, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Chemistry," over at The Nation [?]


    For the latest in scientific breakthroughs in all disciplines, not one periodical can challenge The Nation. After all, Marxianism is supposed to be scientific, remember?

  • Sevo||

    "Nordhaus notes that McKibben must have been aware of this high-profile study that contradicts his anti-fracking thesis."

    Willfully lying, IOWs.

  • CarlsbadRob||

    Methane storage will be their next angle of attack after leaks like the one in LA.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc.....t-35659947

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    We've been warned to expect rolling blackouts because of that leak.

    Because of environmental regulations, California has been switching to natural gas. After the leak, SoCalGas is keeping the pressure down in the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility. Because of the low pressure, there's not enough natural gas to go around. Since bring 1 customer back online is easier than cutting off hundreds of customer back online (inspections, gas tests, etc., for each customer), SoCal Edison is going to have less gas available, so they're going to have to leave plants offline.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What we need is a Secretary of the Future.

  • Cute Little Bunny Rabbit||

    What future? AGW = DOOOOM!!!!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You know who else liked Fracking?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Kara "Starbuck" Thrace?

  • Steve G||

    Benoit Mandelbrot?

  • Agammamon||

    Balls.

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    Fracking anti-fuckers.

  • ||

    Environmentalists fatigue me.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    nor action that is particularly likely to achieve the levels of carbon reduction that will be necessary to significantly mitigate climate change.

    Nordhaus is right.

    No, he's not, unless you believe that ~1.5C rise/doubling needs to be mitigated, in which case you are in the hard ban all industry econut world.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Who cares if Nordhaus is right when you should care if the author of the study itself is right, Henrik Schaefer. Here are some quotes from him as stated in Phys.org

    "If we want to mitigate climate change, methane is an important gas to deal with. If we want to reduce methane levels this research shows us that the big process we have to look at is agriculture...But there is ongoing research that is looking at reducing methane production in agricultural practices."

    "There is also another important consideration in the mix. Naturally produced methane sources are particularly sensitive to changes in climate..."

    "Which means that global warming could result in more methane being produced from these natural sources. You could have a situation where humans are causing global warming which causes natural methane sources to emit more methane, contributing to further warming."

    'However, Dr Schaefer stressed it would be wrong to conclude that the study gives fossil fuel a clean bill.'

    "If fossil fuel production picks up again that may change the situation dramatically."

    He's hardly giving a pass to fracking or any fossil fuel.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|3.28.16 @ 7:43PM|#
    "Who cares if Nordhaus is right..."

    And so we get Jack here to demonstrate the willful lying right on our site!

  • Greg F||

    Naturally produced methane sources are particularly sensitive to changes in climate and Dr Schaefer says wetlands produce more methane if there is more rain and if it is warmer. Thawing permafrost produces methane and methane is also found in ice-like structures in ocean sediments.

    This is what happens when an atmospheric scientist makes a comment on a biological process. The thawing permafrost releasing methane is conventional wisdom not supported by the evidence of a real experiment (not some dubious computer model).

    http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/45987

    When the permafrost melts, it may releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. The amount of greenhouse gases which will be released from the Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report.

    Gee ... some real scientists did an experiment to see if what everybody thought would happen happened, and it didn't. Don't expect that myth to go away real soon though.

  • Sevo||

    Often enough, that idjit Jack doesn't bother to read his own links.
    Ask him about the study that proved that FRACKING CAUSES EARTHQUAKES(!)

  • Sevo||

    (which are so slight that many are undetectable; sorta like stamping your foot)

  • Greg F||

    (which are so slight that many are undetectable; sorta like stamping your foot)

    I would rather have a whole bunch of small earthquakes than have one big one!

  • Sevo||

    We have a whole bunch of earthquakes every day and everywhere. Jack's stupid enough to presume a "2.0" or some such means intelligent people should be concerned.
    We're not, Jack is; 'nuff said.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Thanks, Greg, for your link to an article from 2013. Here is one from the end of last year from one of the worlds preeminent experts on permafrost.

    "One of the world's leading experts on permafrost has told BBC News that the recent rate of warming of this frozen layer of earth is "unbelievable".
    Prof Vladimir Romanovsky said that he expected permafrost in parts of Alaska would start to thaw by 2070...."It was assumed it would be stable for this century but it seems that's not true any more," he told BBC News.

    "However, Prof Ted Schuur from Northern Arizona University recognised that, despite the scientific progress, the fact was that thawing would occur and methane would leach into the atmosphere.
    "Even if we stopped all emissions today, the Arctic has momentum where there is going to be more warming, more permafrost degradation and some carbon coming out already - we have started the ball rolling in some senses."

    Keeping current is tough, Greg, but give it a try.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Hyperbolical||

    And an average global increase of 1 ℃ per century is going to cause this thawing of the permafrost? It's amazing what a single degree can do.

  • Greg F||

    "One of the world's leading experts on permafrost has told BBC News that the recent rate of warming of this frozen layer of earth is "unbelievable".

    Jackass you apparently cannot read. The assumption that methane would be released in that article is not supported as evidenced by my previous cite. Someone does a 20 year experiment and shows that in fact the carbon content of soil doesn't change and you cite a article that doesn't address that, just continues with the myth as if it is fact. Like I said, don't expect that myth to go away real soon though. You are still an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    Jack is an ignoramus.
    He won't respond to it being pointed out, and I don't blame him, but he truly is 'not real bright', so you have to accept his comments would be embarrassing if he was smart enough to be embarrassed.

  • BYODB||

    This is a literal case of being able to Google, but not being able to process data. It's really that simple.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Oh, and gee wiz, Romanovsky based his comments on real measurements, not models.

  • Greg F||

    Oh, and gee wiz, Romanovsky based his comments on real measurements, not models.

    His only measurements were of melting, the release of methane is just an assumption. So why do you hate science?

  • Sevo||

    Jack cherry-picks propaganda and is too damn stupid to read them before linking it. Jack is not real smart.

  • DesigNate||

    Because science fucked his mother and never called back?

  • InterDimentionalSpacePyrate||

    As soon as I clicked on this article I knew JackAss would make a showing, and Tard up the place.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    researchers report that the increases in atmospheric methane since 2006 have come almost entirely from biological sources, e.g., wetlands

    We need to eliminate these wetlands, IMMEDIATELY, IMMEDIATELY, IMMEDIATELY!

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    That's where nukes come into play.

    Man, we keep going back to nuclear.

  • Quincy.||

    Pave them with high albedo materials! There, global warming solved!

    *moves on to bigger problems, like the Middle East, solutions to which will probably also involve paving with high albedo materials*

  • Agammamon||

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetin.....f/3110.pdf

    Obsidian has a low albedo - I imagine trinitite does also.

  • Quincy.||

    Ah shucks!

    *Kicks rock*

    Nuclear war doesn't solve everything? Damn!

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    What a fucking punchable face.

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    Don't think he's related to the (ex)Mizzou cooter, do ya?

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    They could be related by marriage. Or, they had an encounter at a rally.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    That's the face of a man who publishes papers and articles with the aforethought of how they'll read in history books decades from now, You know, when children are taught to sing his praises for saving the world.

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    Spot on.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Did this get covered today on Reason:

    Justice Department cracks iPhone; withdraws legal action

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI said Monday it successfully used a mysterious technique without Apple Inc.’s help to hack into the iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, effectively ending a pitched court battle between the Obama administration and one of the world’s leading technology companies.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/na.....al-action/

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Will the FBI share its information with scores of state and local police agencies that said they also need to break into the iPhones of criminal suspects?

    Probably.

    Will the FBI reveal to Apple how it broke its security?

    No.

    Did the FBI find anything useful on the iPhone?

    Probably not.

  • Florida Hipster||

    Damn it! I was going to post that, but I rechecked P.M. Links in case it has been covered.

  • Rhywun||

    Uh huh.

    "Prove it."

    "No."

  • Brochettaward||

    One of the more interesting points in this article is it highlights how much touted emission numbers are really guesses. I'm supposed to trust that the EPA/Obama administration and any other bureaucracy have the ability to track this shit down to a single percent and would never fudge those numbers?

  • 0x90||

    alt-alt-text: You don't want to see my *concerned* face.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Hmmm...women's bball. That's a lot of long legs. Shorts could be shorter, and tighter. You can't complain about people not watching if your not going to put forth the effort to look sexy.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Smack that ass. There ya go.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    you mean... vball, right?

  • Dr. Mister||

    So long as the climate movement is limited to NIMBY fracking opponents, anti-nuclear greens, and renewables fabulists, it is unlikely to achieve either the broad social consensus that will be necessary to advance aggressive action

    Except it's not limited to those people; it also has statists eager to use warming as an excuse to grab even more power over our lives. You don't need a broad social consensus when you have a pen and a phone.

  • NoVaNick||

    I fully support NYC, LA, SF, DC, and Chicago sourcing 100% of their electricity from carbon and nuclear free generation if it means that they cannot power their voting machines.

  • DesigNate||

    I support them doing that if their residents, and the politicians they elected, aren't allowed to leave their respective cities/states to fuck up some other place when they've destroyed that one.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Study 1

    The researchers report that the increases in atmospheric methane since 2006 have come almost entirely from biological sources, e.g., wetlands, rice farming, and livestock.

    Study 2

    They concluded that "at least 40% of the worldwide methane concentration increase after 2007 have to be attributed to the oil and gas sector and that the emissions took place in the northern hemisphere."

    Two conflicting studies, and I see no evidence that allows me to choose between them.

    So what's the point here?

  • DesigNate||

    Well since study #1 doesn't blame man for these ills, you can be assured that it isn't real science. Duh.

  • Bra Ket||

    You simply lack McKibben's skills at cherry picking. With a little confirmation bias, and a lot of hate for corporations, the real culprit is always easy to spot.

  • prurisejun||

    Part time and full time free online jobs ,my unkel makes $45 /hr on the computer . He has been out of work for 4 months but last month her pay check was $4510 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    Its original & new site...visited Here...AXC003

    ==== http://www.workprospects.com

  • Loki||

    McKibben is chiefly relying upon a study by Harvard researchers that claim to have detected a 30 percent increase in U.S. methane emissions over the period 2002-2014...

    As the baby boomers age, I'd expect to see an increase in methane emissions. Old people tend to fart a lot.

  • BYODB||

    "However, methane in the short run is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide..."


    The thing they never seem to mention is that virtually every green house gas is more potent than CO2. Including water vapor itself.

  • timbo||

    Then of course there is the only fact in this weak debate. That is that it is a ridiculously flawed theory in which virtually none of its predictions have come true.
    Acc is nothing more than a very successful brainwashing campaign well executed by the leftist population of educators world wide.
    Cheap energy is good for all; even morons like this who certainly do not practice what they preach.

  • JimBob7||

    Ban McKibben, to Antarctica, for life.

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