Saturday, 14 December 2013

"Many people are beginning to realise that locally produced gas is a transition fuel that can live alongside and not replace renewables..."

An earlier post
Futures Forum: Fracking.. and the Transition Town movement
referred to the issue of fracking for fossil fuels as a 'locally-produced' alternative, following a Transition Town purportedly 'coming out in favour of fracking':
BBC News - Dorking 'green' group in favour of fracking

This language seems to have been taken on ('co-opted'?) by the fracking industry itself, as reported in today's Guardian:

Anti-fracking protesters clashed with police on Friday in demonstrations against shale gas drilling in Greater Manchester and against an application made for the first new well site since the South Downs national park was established.
"We support a right to protest but what we are finding now is that the debate on both sides is becoming much more informed. There will be always those opposed to any kind of fossil fuels but many people are beginning to realise that locally produced gas is a transition fuel that can live alongside and not replace renewables," said Andrew Austin, the chief executive of IGas.
Anti-fracking protesters clash with police at drilling site near Manchester | Environment | The Guardian

Indeed, the US Administration has recently referred to fracking as a 'transition fuel':

Tue, 2013-06-25 STEVE HORN
Steve Horn's picture

Obama Climate Plan Touts Gas Fracking As "Transition Fuel," Doubling Down on Methane Risk

Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's "Climate Action Plan" for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office at Georgetown University and unfortunately, it's a full-throttle endorsement of every aspect of fracking and the global shale gas market.
Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is the toxic horizontal drilling process via which gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the world, and touting its expanded use flies in the face of any legitimate plan to tackle climate change or create a healthy future for children. 

Here is what President Obama said today at Georgetown about natural gas and fracking:
Now even as we're producing more domestic oil, we're also burning more clean-burning natural gas than any country on earth. And again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but we should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because in the medium-term at least, it can provide not only safe cheap power, but it can only help reduce our carbon emissions.
Federally-supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now we'll keep working with the industry to keep making drilling cleaner and safer, make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work, modernizing our modern infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy. The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs, it's lowering many familes' heat and power bills and it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution, even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the even cleaner technology for the energy economy of the future.
The "Fact Sheet" announcing the Plan further explains:

"We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations."
This portion of the plan alone - not to mention anything else problematic found within it, such as endorsement of nuclear energy and illusory "clean coal"/carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology - would prevent the actions outlined in his Fact Sheet from taking place.   

In fact, children’s health and air quality nationwide are directly threatened by the promotion of further fracking and natural gas drilling activity. There is a clear disconnect between the president’s stated commitment to a healthy future for children, and the vast expansion of natural gas drilling and fracking, which are scientifically proven to be polluting the air and drinking water of Americans.
"Burning natural gas is about one-half as carbon-intensive as coal, which can make it a critical 'bridge fuel' for many countries as the world transitions to even cleaner sources of energy," reads the plan.
That premise is false. When measured in its entire life cycle - as Cornell University researchers found - fracked gas is actually dirtier than coal and therefore is a bridge to nowhere other than extreme climate disruption. That's due to fugitive methane emissions, conveniently left out of the climate plan: methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide
Obama Climate Plan Touts Gas Fracking As "Transition Fuel," Doubling Down on Methane Risk | DeSmogBlog

As reported in yesterday's Telegraph, the US does indeed seem 'less concerned' in other ways:
Fracking boom frees the US from old oil alliances - Telegraph

Whilst the chair of the UK's Committee on Climate Change is also not too concerned:
BBC News - Fracking support from government climate change adviser
How I learned to stop worrying and love fracking - MoneyWeek

Although Geoffrey Lean, also in today's Telegraph, reports on the growing seemingly-effective opposition to fracking:
Why the fracking industry admits it is 'getting smashed' by public opposition – Telegraph Blogs

And, again in today's Guardian, a video from Texas:

Fracking in Ponder, Texas: the real cost - video

In north Texas, the pumping heart of the oil and gas industry, an energy company are drilling five wells behind Veronica Kronvall's home. The closest two are within 300ft of her tiny patch of garden, and their green pipes and tanks loom over the fence. As the drilling began, Kronvall, 52, began to suffer nosebleeds, nausea and headaches. Her home lost nearly a quarter of its value and some of her neighbours went into foreclosure

Fracking in Texas: the real cost - video | Environment | theguardian.com
Wikileaks: Anti-Fracking Movement in NYS Started with ProPublica | National Review Online
Can Apache Corporation make 'fracking' a greener word? | GreenBiz.com

See also: 
Futures Forum: "Fossil Fuel Euphoria"... and peak oil
Futures Forum: Fracking: Golden Goose or Dead Duck? ...event Thursday 28th November
Futures Forum: Fracking... in Dorset

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