We know that fracking lube is poisonous and can contaminate groundwater. But who really cares about inbred hillbillies’ well water? After all, we know the rest of the process is cleaner than the alternatives: Fukushima, Arab Oil, and dirty coal. Not so fast:
While natural gas has been touted as a clean-burning fuel that produces less carbon dioxide than coal, there is concern about the methane leaking into the atmosphere during hydraulic fracturing.
Even small leaks make a big difference—as much as 8 percent of the methane in shale gas leaks into the air during the lifetime of a hydraulic shale gas well—up to twice what escapes from conventional gas production.
“The take-home message is that if you do an integration of 20 years following the development of the gas, shale gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil,” says Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University.
And Howarth’s work is just a “conservative” estimate and not a definitive study, because all this fracking is going on without in-depth scientific investigation, not to mention real regulation.
Pffft. Only among eco-wimps. Real Americans know that Our Energy Independence takes priority. Or whatever. Anyway just shut up because it makes stuff you can burn. Go to hell, and take your Al Gore Jesus with you.
mistermix, Blogging heads has a half hour discussion of fracking this AM on their Science Saturday edition in which they discuss Howarth’s work. It’s worth a listen.
Might not be as much of a problem as written, IIRC methane is not as much of a difficulty as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2, as it tends to break down into it’s constituent parts relatively quickly, whereas CO2 stays in the atmosphere for ages. This is not to say that fracking isn’t horrible in many other ways, however.
The Republic of Stupidity
There… better… no?
That is what you meant to say, right?
Nada… zip… zilch…
Not even allowed to ask…
Unka Dick sez so…
Dont care for the fuckin hillbillies. let them keep voting Republican/Tea Party/Fuck Me In The Ass party and sing glories of corporate benevolence, because at the end of the day what really matters to them is that there is black President whose birth in this country is suspect.
Fracking appears to me like scraping the bottom of the barrel, like oil shale. There needs to be a public debate about post-gas/oil energy supplies. A transition to entirely renewable energy might take 30 or 40 years, but that might be all the time we have.
The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik
But raising the issue simply means you’re in on the Envirohoax perpetrated by Green Fascists like Al Gore. Didn’t you hear the Honorable Sen. Inhofe? It’s the greatest and most destructive hoax in the history of ever. Don’t you hear real Christians? Worrying about the earth simply means you worship a false god and thus are a heretic!
If we can’t let energy companies destroy land, earth, and homes for the sake of a commodity, then by god, what has this country become?
OT, but St. Louis airport is shut down indefinitely after being hit by a tornado during storms last night.
I heard a report on WCBS radio by a guy who was on one of the planes at the airport when the tornado went through. He said the planes were swaying and debris was hitting the planes.
“But who really cares about inbred hillbillies’ well water?”
If they themselves don’t care enough to vote responsibly, it’s hard to see why I should care any more.
@The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:
Ah yes, sorry, and I forgot that Al Gore is fat.
When I saw “fracking lube is poisonous” I bet I wasn’t the only one who momentarily worried about that stuff I sometimes use while masturbating.
At least my stuff is water-soluble.
The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik
It may not be that kind of lube, but it sure as hell feels like we’re the ones getting fracked at this point.
7-10 years half-life of methane in atmosphere. It doesn’t vanish all that fast.
Nice nod to HEATHERS there in the title …
I use HEATHERS as shorthand when I speak to my knowing friends, distilling all my reasons for opposing Palin into a single sentence:
“No possible good can ever come from electing a ‘Heather’ president.”
Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal
the best part of the race to frack us faster, in addition to no taxing, or provisions for environmental clean up, much of the gas, will be going overseas, so there goes energy independence.
of course business shouldn’t have to wait for “science” all “science” can do is produce a bunch of theories, who knows if they work, science can’t tell you that, business is what is important.
@Svensker: My sentiments, Sven.
I hope everyone posting here is doing ALL they can to reduce their own carbon footprint. Otherwise, as Andrew Revkin says in the diavlog I referenced above at #2, we own part of the problem.
The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik
@Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:
Besides, you know all those scientists have a conflict in interest, simply acting all smart and chiding so they can get their plum grants and stipends.
(I really wish that this wasn’t an actual argument. I really do. Christ though, it’s gotten to the point where people are actually claiming that gov’ts spend mountains more on ‘green initiatives’ than the energy companies’ revenues combined. It’s that fucking warped).
The post makes it sound as though methane is a byproduct of fracking, when in fact, it is the product.
In a sane country the Arab Oil Embargo would have led to an Apollo Project level of effort to find alternatives to petroleum as a motor vehicle fuel. No one wanted to confront the idea that oil is a finite resource (We still don’t) and our pols will never do anything to upset Big Oil so here we are.
That the research might have even led to America becoming a leader in petroleum alternative technologies would have required long term thinking and if it’s one place where America still leads the world it’s in not thinking more than three months ahead.
When the last gas station in America sells the last drop of gasoline will be when we finally wake up. Lamentably it will be too late.
I thought that was because Senator Inhofe had tried to land on a runway at St. Louis already occupied by a United 767 while screaming:
“I’m a goddamned Senator! Get the fuck outta my way!” or some such.
@Dennis SGMM: My constant refrain,”what do you suppose is the price on the last gallon of gasoline”
Because the process is started to be used all over the Northeast, and not just Appalachia.
BTW, the “hillbillies” deserve clean water just the same as anybody else
Considering we here at Cornell are in fracking central (though Tompkins County is where you see all the “no frack” signs) this should continue to make things lively in the area.
Though my favorite piece of local activism was the zombie film Frac Attack: Dawn of the Watershed.
What amazes me is that these industries continue to make the problem worse at every opportunity. You would think that, just be chance at least, they’d have stumbled on a method cleaner than oil or coal. But nope! It’s a fuck-up a minute.
And since we care more about chanting “Drill, baby, drill!” than giving eight seconds or two cents to address the ‘effin problems, we’re willing to create a multi-billion dollar crisis – a la BP or Exxon Valdez – to save a few million dollars against mundane safety and cleanliness precautions.
Touch test 123…
And the contents of fracking fluid are a proprietary “trade secret”.
@Zifnab: History has shown us that money is the root of every decision a corporation makes. If it’s cheaper to do what you do and it pollutes the environment, so be it. They pick the most cost-effective way to work. History has shown us also that the industry never has to pay for cleanup because the taxpayers pay it, a multibillion crisis costs them nothing.
Can we assume that OBL has won when this shit happens?
@jon: Well, I thought it was funny.
@Svensker: Is that a challenge or a criticism?
Isn’t the case that, in many circumstances, fracking operations are happening on land owned by individuals who lease the rights for some piece of the action? It isn’t a lot of money either though for some of these people it helps them survive financially. And yet, I have this sad prediction that when all the bad stuff becomes obvious and the EPA eventually steps in and lawsuits start flying all over the places, it is these same private individuals that will be left holding the bag (you allowed it, you are liable).
Who drinks groundwater anyway? I mean, mine comes out of the tap.
And seriously, Cornell?
There is no energy shortage. The world has, like, 400 gigatons of shale oil. Not sure what a gigaton is, but I bet it’s a lot. A bunch of those gigatons are right there in the USA, playing an integral role in America’s strategic future.
You probably don’t recall correctly. Or sort of backwards.
The NYS Commissioner of DEC (Joe Maartens) recently said that there are a lot of unanswered questions about fracking, and that permitting may not go forward.
At last, we have identified the real cause of the fall of the twelve colonies. It wasn’t cylons, it was poisonous fracking lube.
@“Serious” Superluminar :
You recall incorrectly. At current atmospheric levels, an additional kg of methane (CH4) is ~20-70 times as potent a greenhouse gas as an additional kg of CO2 . It’s true that a given increment of atmospheric CH4 lasts only ~12 years, but — guess what? — it’s eliminated largely by oxidation to CO2 and H20.
 Potency is time-dependent. IPCC AR4 WG1 Table 2.14 puts CH4’s GWP (“global warming potential”) at 25 over 100 years; CO2 is 1. Howarth uses a 100 year GWP of 33, based upon research since AR4’s publication.
Those who wish to commit suicide should move to Tennessee. Drink a glass of tap water a day and you’ll be dead within 5 years (and since the health care system sucks they won’t pay to revive you). Problem solved!
@Mako: There were documents proving that Saddam Hussein was attempting to acquire fracked gigatons of low grade shale gas from a major US supplier. Documents signed by President Herbert Hoover prove it. Slam dunk.
By the way, it isn’t just a problem in the US.
Australia is doing more, but it’s not really slowing down coal seam gas exploitation via fraccing, though much more media attention is being paid to the discoveries of seriously toxic chemicals in residential water supplies, and some projects are put on hold until re-approved, and some actual people are fired after government investigators find seriously risky decisions and actions.
On a per molecule basis, methane is a more powerful greenhouse absorber/trapper of earth’s infrared emissions than carbon dioxide.