A Fracking Good Story

Until recently, the Sierra Club was in favor of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) because natural gas reduces carbon emissions. Then it realized that fracking was actually working, and it undermined their agenda of promoting renewable energy such as wind, solar and biofuels.

No wonder they’re alarmed. If the goal is to promote specific technologies instead of actually improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions, the success of fracking must be an unwelcome development.

Not long ago only 20 percent of America’s energy came from natural gas. Most came from coal. Now natural gas and coal each provide about 32 percent of the fuel for power generation. Because natural gas produces 45 percent less carbon than coal, America’s CO2 emissions are the lowest in 20 years.

Natural gas is a great bridge fuel as we transition from traditional fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy. The greater Fort Collins area is a center of research and development for clean and renewable energy technologies. But unless an unexpected technological break-through occurs, that transition will take decades. In the meantime, it happens that Northern Colorado is a major source of natural gas because of the Niobrara shale rock formation.

My point? As you read stories and hear alarming testimony from community activists and environmentalists about fracking think critically about what they are saying and what the real agenda might be. Is it really about protecting the public and environment or are there other agendas at play?

For more, there’s a great article by Bjørn Lomborg titled ” A Fracking Good Story at Project Syndicate.