Greenpeace Exposed

October 31, 2011 11:36 A.M. By Greg Pollowitz

The Consumers Alliance for Global Prosperity has a new video out exposing Greenpeace and how Greenpeace’s environmentalism actually hurts the developing world. I don’t know who they got to do the voice in the vid, but he’s pretty scary. Perfect for Halloween today. Enjoy:

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Moving past man-made global warming alarmism

By Richard Haddad

6:28 p.m. EDT, October 25, 2011

It seems that the man-made global warming scare, long promoted by those opposed to the burning of fossil fuel, is now behind us.

It turns out that there is no unanimity of scientists supporting man-made global warming theory and never has been. It’s also now becoming widely recognized that there is no incontrovertible evidence that global warming is caused by human activity, and that there is quite a bit of evidence that human activity is not a primary cause of such warming.

It’s becoming better known that for at least 240,000 years, a rise in CO2 has followed rather than preceded global warming. This squares with the reality that the oceans hold the vast majority of the Earth’s carbon, and when the oceans warm, they release some of their gases into the atmosphere.

Related
In fact, more than 95 percent of the much-touted Greenhouse Effect is the result of water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a very tiny component of our atmosphere, comprising less than .04 of 1 percent of all gases present.

That information like this was not widely known until recently was, in part, a testament to the effectiveness of the global warming alarmists in suppressing the publication of dissenting opinion. But that suppression was exposed in the 2009 “Climategate” scandal, and the dialogue on climate change then improved drastically.

As a result, the American public no longer believes that man is primarily responsible for global warming. In monthly Rasmussen polling over the past two years, an average of 46 percent of those polled said that natural causes are responsible for global warming, while an average of 38 percent answered that human activity is the cause.

So, with the global warming scare behind us, we can return to worrying about and trying to solve real problems, right? Well, not quite yet. You see, we still have these regulations, pacts and plans that have evolved over the years — and are still evolving — to save the Earth from the catastrophe that was supposedly on the horizon.

For example, the European Union recently announced that beginning in 2012 it will be extending its cap-and-trade system tax to all airlines entering or leaving its airports, a tax that will likely be passed on to passengers on trans-Atlantic flights in the form of higher fares.

The U.S. government is currently in the process of tightening existing greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles sold here. And California has mandated that starting in 2012, major automakers will have to produce a certain number of zero-emissions vehicles (those that run on electricity) in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Locally, Maryland has been very active over the past few years in efforts to protect its residents from the effects of climate change and to reduce the state’s contribution to the problem. The state is one of 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that belong to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium that regulates the energy sector’s CO2 emissions.

In 2007, Gov. Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change to address the causes of climate change and to help us prepare for the likely consequences. The commission’s 2008 report, “Climate Action Plan,” presented strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recommended development of state Smart Growth plans for protecting vulnerable areas.

Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and directs the Maryland Department of the Environment to develop a plan to accomplish that goal.

The Maryland Department of Planning recently issued a revised draft of PlanMaryland — the state’s plan for sustainable growth and development — which will soon be presented to the governor. The plan is premised, in part, on a link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. It identifies locations in Maryland thought to be especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming and makes provisions to protect them to the extent possible from these effects.

The list goes on and on.

There is obviously nothing that can be done about the time and resources we’ve wasted so far attempting to address a non-existent problem. But one would think that at this point we’d be closing the faucet to stop the flow of money down the drain.

And given the influence a project like PlanMaryland is expected to have on growth in the state for decades, one would also think that we’d be reviewing and pulling from the plan any provision based on the bad premise of man-made global warming.

All those in favor …

Richard Haddad, a Westminster resident, is a retired management executive who writes on political and social issues. His email is rhaddad1027@gmail.com.

Scientific case for man-made global warming fears is dead

By: Marc Morano | 10/23/11 8:05 PM
OpEd Contributor, Washington Examiner

Many of the proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that climate change is worse than they predicted. According to an Oct. 18, 2011, Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the “evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts,” and “if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested.”
But a forthcoming Climate Depot A-Z Climate Reality Check report on the failure of the science behind man-made global warming theory will shatter any such illusions that the climate is “worse than we thought.” Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears.

The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim, the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed. The only thing “worse than we thought” is the shoddy journalism of the mainstream media, which parrots global warming activists’ baseless talking points.

Consider these facts:

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers; the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007; polar bears are thriving; the sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping; cholera and malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions; Mount Kilimanjaro-melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover; global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more as many scientists are predicting global cooling is ahead; deaths because of extreme weather are radically declining; global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows; the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined; the oceans are missing their predicted heat content; big tornadoes have dramatically declined since the 1970s; droughts are neither historically unusual nor caused by mankind; there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather; scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement; the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists; and scientists continue to dissent at a rapid pace.

Even President Obama has been criticized by former Vice President Gore for failing to do enough when it comes to climate change legislation. The now-defunct congressional climate bill failed because the Democrats realized it was political suicide. The new political expediency in Washington is global warming skepticism. The U.N. global warming treaty process lies in shambles.

The promoters of man-made climate fears are now reduced to claiming — as University of California, Berkeley, professor Richard Muller did last week — that any warming trend equals some sort of “proof” of man-made warming. Those of us who laugh at Gore’s mythical “climate crisis” tip our hat to Obama for not pushing very hard for the Congressional Climate Bill and for being so tepid at U.N. climate conferences.

Of course, Obama is still threatening to unleash the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate that harmless trace essential gas we exhale from our mouths — CO2 — but that effort will most likely wait until after the next presidential election.

As for Gore and the U.N.’s scientific claims, it has been quite a joy to watch the entire man-made global warming fear movement disintegrate before our eyes. A movement that had the divisive Gore as its face was bound to fail. A movement that utilized the scandal-ridden U.N. — which is massively distrusted by the American people — as the repository of science was doomed to fail. Gore is now reduced to pointing to every storm, flood, hurricane or tornado as proof of man-made global warming.

But a scientific moment of clarity is now prevailing: The U.N. and Congress do not have the power to legislate, tax or regulate the weather.

Professor emeritus of biogeography Philip Stott of the University of London explained the crux of the entire global warming debate when he rebutted the notion that CO2 is the main climate driver.

“As I have said, over and over again, the fundamental point has always been this: Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically-selected factor (CO2), is as misguided as it gets,” Stott wrote.

To put it bluntly, the great man-made global warming catastrophe that was predicted has been canceled! And that is a victory for science.

Marc Morano is publisher of Climate Depot and a former staff member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

News Release – National Academies: Ethanol Worsens Greenhouse Gases

Published October 4, 2011

Washington, D.C. — A new report by the National Academy of Sciences has found that corn ethanol production increases greenhouse gas emissions and damages soil, air, water and wildlife habitat. As well it says advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol are unlikely to prove practical substitutes for either corn ethanol or fossil fuels.

“This report highlights the severe damage to the environment from corn-based ethanol,” said Sheila Karpf, EWG’s legislative and policy analyst. “It underscores just how misguided U.S. biofuels policy has become. It catalogs the environmentally damaging aspects of corn-based ethanol and also casts serious doubt on the future viability of so-called ‘advanced’ biofuels made from other sources.”

During the Congressional debate over the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, the Environmental Working Group argued for provisions to roll back biofuels mandates of production of these renewable fuels that were found to be harmful to the environment. But the Renewable Fuel Standard finally enacted did not include such language.

The report from the National Research Council, a branch of the National Academies of Sciences, concludes that achieving the renewable fuel standard mandate is likely to increase federal spending while further damaging the economy and environment, particularly soil and water.

The report, requested by Congress, concludes that ethanol increases greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes water and uses more water in its production than gasoline. It says that cellulosic ethanol is very unlikely to meet its Renewable Fuel Standard mandates by 2022. Indirect land use changes due to biofuels production will zero out any potential benefits of lower greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels and may actually increase them in both the short- and long-term.

To date taxpayers have spent $23 billion between 2005 and 2010, or $6 billion a year, subsidizing corn-based ethanol without significantly reducing reduction in America’s use of fossil fuels. The report is yet another reminder that significant reforms to the renewable fuel standard are critical, including the addition of strict and enforceable environmental safeguards.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has always been about corn, corn and more corn,” Karpf said. “The fact is, it won’t bring energy independence, protect our air or combat global warming. As our country faces record national debt, it is time to put American taxpayers and our soil and water ahead of entrenched special interests.”

American farmers have diverted 40 percent of corn production from food and feed to fuel. Land once used for soybean production has been converted to corn to meet the demand for biofuels set out in the RFS. The new report provides more evidence that corn ethanol production continues to raise food prices around the world and harms the planet by releasing more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline.

Link to report:

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13105 [1]

**Hear more from EWG’s Sheila Karpf on the biofuels mandate and the ethanol lobby’s dwindling support in Congress at 11am (EST) today on The Diane Rehm Show.

Source URL:
http://www.ewg.org/release/government-finds-ethanol-worsens-greenhouse-gases
Links:
[1] http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13105

Ecocide lawyer predicts global run of mock trials

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2116298/ecocide-lawyer-predicts-global-run-mock-trials

A campaign to establish ecocide as the fifth international crime against peace appears to have gained further momentum following the first mock trial at the UK’s Supreme Court.

The campaign to make ecocide a crime is the brainchild of international lawyer Polly Higgins, who wants the UN to be able to brand companies that harm the environment as guilty of an offence comparable to genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The concept of ecocide has gradually secured more and more support since Higgins proposed it to the United Nations 18 months ago, but it was thrust into the spotlight last month when two fictional chief executives were found “guilty” of the offence at a mock trial on September 30.

UN issues call for green public-private partnerships

Figueres predicts carbon market will overcome current uncertaintyReal barristers led the case for and against the chief executives of two hypothetical firms, albeit ones that closely mirrored real companies responsible for a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and unconventional tar sands extraction in Canada.

The jury eventually branded the Athabasca Tar Sands projects a crime, but returned a not guilty verdict for the charge of ecocide against the company responsible for the oil spill.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, Higgins hailed the trial as a success, adding that the not guilty verdict actually helped to boost the campaign, by demonstrating that showing that the mock trial followed realistic lines and was not a publicity stunt targeting firms that are guilty of environmental damage.

She also revealed that a number of countries including Australia, Brazil and Mexico are considering holding similar mock trials and that businesses are becoming increasingly engaged in the debate.

“This is very much positioned as a proposal that the business community really needs to wake up to,” she said. “The insurance industry is very engaged on this right now, we put out invites to oil and gas companies to the trial.”

She added that one oil company has since invited a lawyer at the trial to offer best practice advice on the prospective law.

She refused to reveal the names of the parties involved, but said it showed that businesses are increasingly realising that ecocide could be passed as a law.

“It’s going to be sooner rather than later [that ecocide will become a crime], because if we leave it too late we’ll all be toast,” she added.

If the law were passed, Higgins believes that businesses would need to shift their green strategies from “risk management” to addressing the potential legal consequences of environmental crimes.

“It’s no longer going to be about saying there’s a 0.01 per cent risk of something going wrong, its about saying that if it does go wrong, we’ll end up in prison, so we’re not going to do it,” she said.

Whether or not a chief executive really would end up in prison would depend on their culpability, said Ian Lawrie QC, who prepared the defence for the mock trial and acted as a hypothetical instructing solicitor.

He argued that if a director had been let down by an employee who they believed to be doing a good job, they might be deemed less responsible than if they knew about the mistakes being made.

Lawrie also revealed he is due to give a talk to a group of solicitors in the coming weeks, briefing them on the potential ecocide law. While he has not been directly approached by firms for advice, one of his existing clients has asked to be briefed on the outcome of the trial.

Jane Russell QC of Tooks Chambers, who was part of the trial’s prosecution team, urged firms to prepare for ecocide becoming law by ensuring they understand how to comply with the prospective law.

“I think if somebody is advising oil companies on best practice that’s great,” she said.

But despite the increased interest in the proposal, Higgins said she was unlikely to formalise the campaign for the new law. “So many people want to help make this happen, but I’m reluctant to start up a huge organisation,” she said. “I’m a lawyer, so I don’t want to manage people and organise a campaign.”

Great Truths

1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
— John Adams

2. If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
— Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But then I repeat myself.
— Mark Twain

4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
— George Bernard Shaw

6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
— G. Gordon Liddy

7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
— James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
— Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
— P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
— Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)

11. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
— Ronald Reagan (1986)

12. I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
— Will Rogers

13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!
— P.J. O’Rourke

14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
— Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
— Pericles (430 B.C.)

16. No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
— Mark Twain (1866)

17. Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.
— Anonymous

18. The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
— Ronald Reagan

19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.
The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
— Mark Twain

21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
— Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

22. There is no distinctly native American criminal class…save Congress.
— Mark Twain

23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
— Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
— Thomas Jefferson

25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
— Aesop

GAO finds issues with NOAA data and Inspector General with EPA science

Weatherbell.com

Two reports this week have dealt a blow to the government’s unconstitutional efforts to regulate carbon dioxide. The EPA agency is attempting to bypass the constitutional mandate that any regulation must come from congress and doing so by using failing IPCC and laboratory climate models and NOAA data.

General Accounting Office (GAO) report this week took NOAA to task for station siting issues:

“NOAA does not centrally track whether USHCN stations adhere to siting standards…nor does it have an agency-wide policy regarding stations that don’t meet standards.” The report continues, “Many of the USHCN stations have incomplete temperature records; very few have complete records. 24 of the 1,218 stations (about 2 percent) have complete data from the time they were established.” GAO goes on to state that most stations with long temperature records are likely to have undergone multiple changes in measurement conditions.

The report shows by their methodology that 42% of the network in 2010 failed to meet siting standards. Some of the stations that were worst offenders of siting quality have been removed since the non-governmental, all volunteer, not for profit surfacestations.org project photographic assessment of well over 1000 of the 1200 US climate stations in the USHCN network published its findings. Here is an example of a before and after station in Ardmore, OK, within a few feet of the traffic intersection at City Hall. Remember that sensors are supposed to be 100 feet away from any heat soruce.


Ardmore USHCN station , MMTS temperature sensor, January 2009


Ardmore USHCN station , MMTS temperature sensor removed, March 2011

As Anthony Watts the former TV meteorologist behind the surfacestations.org effort and author of the report and then peer review paper on the station quality issues notes: “While NCDC has gone to great lengths to defend the quality of the USHCN network, their actions of closing them speak far louder than written words and peer reviewed publications.

Here is the GAO summary. By the way Anthony and I had published a global data assessment white paper that we both evolved into a series of independent peer reviewed papers that documents the siting and many other issues with global data. Our motivation is simply before we spend trillions of dollars we don’t have on an issue that is either non existent or exagerrated, we should be working with trustworthy data.

EPA IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Meanwhile, tthe Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Inspector General issued a report that found that the EPA did not follow their own rules and safeguards when making their finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. The EPA’s determination has led to a mountain of Clean Air Act regulations that could cost an stimated 1.4 millions US jobs.

“Throughout the past two and a half years, the Environmental Protection Agency has used its ‘endangerment finding’ as a reason to roll out red tape that destroys jobs across America. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has regularly assured Congress and the American people that its finding is based on sound scientific practices.

“It’s clear we’ve all been repeatedly misled. The endangerment finding was based on political expediency – not scientific standards. In fact, the Inspector General reported today that the Agency didn’t even follow its most basic rules. It didn’t conduct peer reviews and it didn’t follow the required record keeping process.”

I was part of a large team that submitted much evidence to the EPA that they were relying on false science and not doing their own proper assessment in making their decisions to try and drastically reduce carbon dioxide.

Whereas we all support reasonable efforts to eliminate real pollution from the air and water, carbon dioxide is n ot a pollutant but a plant fertilizer. We breathe out with every breathe 40,000 ppm CO2 into an atmosphere that contains 393 ppm CO2. In most workplaces and classrooms and even in your kitchen or dining room where your family have breakfast or dinner, CO2 levels can rise to 1500-2000ppm

Most cities have CO2 levels up to double that in the rural air. No harmful effects are observed. CO2 meanwhile has had a huge beneficial effect on plants. Did you know they pump in 1000ppm CO2 into many nursery greenhouses?

As Princeton’s Wil Happer noted that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2. This has been shown in many experiments with other plants and crops. The first chart is actually from a UN publication.

Temperatures stopped warming globally in the later 1990s.

The tropics and southern hemisphere has shown no statistically significant changes since 1979. Sea levels have actually fallen the last two years.

The media and the enviros like to tell you it is far worse than the IPCC thought. Those that look and see the truth, post on the peer review paper that recently said the heat was playing “Where’s Waldo” hiding in the oceans below 1000 meters – though not specifiying how it got there. In actual fact if heat was hiding in the oceans, expansion of the oceans and rising sea levels would occur.

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION

Finally I would take to task the American Lung Association who is running ads with a baby carriage with a child coughing while a narrator tells us to urge congress not to take away EPA power to control pollution (implied CO2).

I have had bronchial asthma since childhood. We have come a long way controlling real pollution. Polllution still exists and remedied. But CO2 is a not a health risk and that iss the primary focus of the EPA’s regulatory assault on America. The EPA and APHA even phonied up data to present to congress impliying a health risk from climate change. The government financially supports the ALA who sadly like the EPA did not do its homework before their campaign.

NOAA’S HEROES

By the way, though NOAA was careless (and at NCDC guilty of some steps that were over the line in data management and assessment) in its climate monitoring efforts, I do not fault at all the many hard working and dedicated NOAA forecasters nationwide who take their jobs seriously and do an excellent job warning the public about weather hazards. They have saved many lives I worked over the years with many of them and applaud the great work they do.

CONCLUSION

I know this is a weather blog and some of you will have a different opinion on climate change and its causes, but we hope you will keep an open mind and look at the information. If you have questions or comments or requests for more information please write me at daleo@weatherbell.com.

This by the way is not politically driven. I spent my entire meteorological career working with and looking at real data and was inspired by some of the giants in meteorology and climate to look at the oceans (Jerome Namias, first Director of Long Range Forecasting for the USWB – now NWS and later chief meteorologist at Scripps), the cycles on the sun (MIT’s Hurd ‘Doc’ Willett) and urbanization (Helmut Landsberg, the father of climatology). I also know and work with many thinking people on both ends of the politcal spectrum that share many of my views.

My successes over the years because I didn’t regard models and most recently the GFS as God’s Forecasting System. I used real data and historical analogs, my own statistical models and empirical rules as a check on model guidance. Many of my 250 students when i was a professor have gone onto very successful careers in meteorology and I am proud of what they have accomplished. My goal as a teacher was to teach them how to think not what to think, unfortunately the latter is a direction education has gone in this country in recent years.

What the frack is going on here?

Hydraulic fracturing opponents misrepresent facts to protect their ideologies and agendas

Paul Driessen

Hydraulic fracturing sends “huge volumes of toxic fluids” deep underground at high pressure, to fracture shale rock and release natural gas, Food & Water Watch claims. “Billions of gallons of toxic fluids” will “contaminate” groundwater and drinking water “for generations.” We need to “Ban Fracking Now.”
Environmentalists used to support “clean natural gas.” Whence the intolerant new attitude?
Oil companies have been using hydraulic fracturing for 60 years to get the most petroleum possible from grudging rock formations deep beneath the Earth. A few years ago, Mitchell Energy and others combined HF with horizontal drilling to tap into hydrocarbon-rich shale deposits that previously refused to surrender their energy riches. Countless fracking operations later, the results have been spectacular.
Tapping the Marcellus, Bakken, Barnett, Haynesville and other formations has created jobs, generated revenues and rejuvenated moribund industries in many states that have shale deposits or manufacture the fluids, pipes and other equipment used in these operations. US natural gas production and estimated reserves have soared, and wellhead prices have dropped from $11 per thousand cubic feet in 2008 to $4 today. Canada is actively drilling, while Poland and Britain are evaluating early exploration results.
The Fort Worth Chamber says fracking supports 110,000 direct and secondary jobs in the region and added billions in property and sales tax revenues. Loren C. Scott & Associates calculates that shale drilling has added $11 billion to Louisiana’s economy. Pennsylvania’s Labor and Industry Department reports that HF has already generated 72,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in state tax revenues, and could bring another $20 billion by 2020. West Virginia and North Dakota report similar success.
Soaring supplies and plummeting prices have persuaded Dow, Shell, Sasol, Ormet and other companies to open, reopen or expand plants to produce ethylene, petrochemicals, aluminum – and more jobs.
That’s excellent energy and economic news, at a time when we sure could use a little good news.
Certainly, with all this activity going on – much of it in states that haven’t seen much drilling in decades, if ever – there is a clear need for regulations and oversight. We need to ensure that drilling and fracking are done properly, and chemicals are handled, disposed of and recycled correctly, to prevent harm to human health, wildlife habitats and environmental quality. While most shale gas deposits are thousands of feet below groundwater aquifers and drinking water supplies, we need to ensure that well casings are properly installed and cemented, so that there is no danger of contamination.
But ban hydraulic fracturing – and abandon these revenues and jobs? What the frack is going on here?
Think about it. This is free enterprise in action. It pays its own way. It doesn’t need subsidies, mandates, tariffs, or bureaucrats and politicians deciding which companies and industries win or lose. HF generates real, sustainable jobs, plus significant tax and royalty revenue, right here in America. It provides energy that works 24/7/365 … and is far cheaper than land-hungry wind turbine and solar panel installations. In fact, the shale gas revolution is making it even harder to justify these “renewable energy alternatives.”
Natural gas, specifically shale gas, is essential for powering backup generators for unreliable wind and solar installations. However, low gas prices make wind and solar even less competitive. The better solution is just to go with gas, coal and nuclear for electricity generation, and forget about expensive, eco-unfriendly, subsidy-dependent, crony capitalist wind and solar.
HF also demolishes the “peak oil and gas” mantra that we are rapidly running out of hydrocarbon energy. It again demonstrates that geologist Wallace Pratt was right. “Oil is first found in the minds of men.” Once companies devised new ways to extract shale gas bounties, vast new reserves became available.
Today, in reality, the only reason we might run out of energy is that government won’t let us drill.
People want and need reliable, affordable power. Many environmentalists support Paul Ehrlich’s opposite sentiment, that “giving society cheap energy is like giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
No wonder unrepentant fossil fuel haters are going ballistic over fracking.
The rest of us just want honest answers, carefully conducted drilling, fracking and production operations – and the benefits that come with them. Thankfully, the facts are relatively easy to find.
The Wall Street Journal laid many out clearly and forcefully in a June 2011 editorial, “The facts about fracking: The real risks of the shale gas revolution and how to manage them.” Whether it’s cancer, drinking water contamination, toxic or radioactive chemicals, earthquakes or regulations – the truth is miles from the misrepresentations, hysteria and fear-mongering propagated by Food & Water Watch and similar groups.
People who want to know how hydraulic fracturing is actually done – and what chemicals are actually used, even in specific states – can find a wealth of information at well-designed industry websites provided by Chesapeake Energy, the Ground Water Protection Council and Halliburton.
As the Halliburton site notes, 99.5% of fracking fluids is water and sand (the sand is carried into fractures, to keep them open and release the gas). However, forcing that fluid mix down wellbores and into solid rock formations thousands of feet underground requires advanced engineering and special chemicals to:
* Keep the sand suspended in the liquid, so that it is carried deep into the fractures;
* Fight the growth of bacteria in the fluid and wellbore, so that gas flows and pipes don’t corrode; and
* Reduce the surface tension of water that comes in contact with the reservoir, to improve gas production.
Different subsurface rock formations and conditions require different formulations for the 0.5% of the HF fluids that involves special chemicals. In the past, diesel oil and various industrial chemicals were used. Today, to an ever-increasing degree, the chemicals are borrowed from the food and cosmetics industry. The technical names sound daunting or even scary (inorganic acids, polysaccharide polymers and sulfonated alcohol, for instance), but these CleanStream chemicals (Halliburton’s terminology) are found in cheese and beer, canned fish and dairy desserts, and marshmallows and shampoo, respectively.
Even these three chemical groups (and other food and cosmetic chemicals) are classified as “hazardous” by the EPA and FDA, because in high doses some can cause cancer and other problems in animals. So you could say Food & Water Watch is technically correct when it tries to scare people by saying fracking fluids contain “toxic chemicals.” But the same point would apply to alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, lip liners, food starch, hand soap and countless other everyday products. Should we ban them too, along with coffee, broccoli and other foods that naturally contain even more potent carcinogens?
In other advanced techniques, instead of chemical biocides to kill bacteria, some systems now employ ultraviolet light, and mobile units now allow crews to treat and reuse water, reducing the amount of freshwater required in fracking. Other improvements are being made on a regular basis, as explained in simple lay terms on websites like those mentioned above. You can even find psychedelic 3-D maps of hydraulic fracturing operations and explanations of other fascinating technologies.
New York and other states, the Delaware River Basin Commission, Canadian provinces, Britain, Poland, the European Commission, and many Asian and Latin American countries are pondering HF as part of the solution to their energy, unemployment, economic and revenue problems. Getting the facts is essential.
Shale gas is an energy policy game changer. The last thing we need is more laws, regulations and policies based on misrepresentations and fabrications from outfits like Food & Water Watch.
_____________
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.