Reading about energy and environmental issues most if not every single day, I stumble upon many articles on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and their staggering negative effects.
For today’s article I would like to propose you a summary of all the reasons I have found to be against this dirty energy source. I have counted as many as seven but I guess there are more.
In today’s post I will review in depth these reasons, so that next time you have the arguments to counter the people believing this is a solution your country or the world should consider.
1. Hydraulic fracturing is harmful to the climate
If natural gas from fracking was not so long ago considered as a bridge from dirty coal to more climate friendly solutions, it is now being more and more regarded as a gangplank to a warmer world.
Indeed, fracking has been proved to be linked to important leaks of methane – a 23 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
To be considered as a climate-wise alternative, methane leaks should have to remain as low as two percent. However to a recent study, those leaks are as high as six to twelve percent.
2. Is NOT part of the vital energy transition
Fracking is just pursuing our headlong rush, or as we say in French, une fuite en avant as it gives us the illusion that we can keep on using polluting and inefficient means of heating our houses and moving our cars and trucks when better solutions are at our disposal.
Far better solutions like low carbon energy sources such as renewables (solar, wind, geothermal…) and energy efficiency can be part of an energy transition that is safe for our civilization and our climate. While the former are gaining traction, the former could do much more.
An energy transition based on these two could bring thousands of local jobs and money without any risks. As a matter of facts, it has already started…
3.Consumes vast amounts of precious water
As more and more countries are getting drier, using energy sources that consumes vast amounts of water is just sheer madness.
Climate Progress reported that each fracking job requires several million gallons of water, of which only around a quarter is being recovered. The remainder is just lost for ever.
In water stressed areas such as the US Southern States (like Texas or New Mexico), this is not only foolish, it is downright self-destructive…
4. Contaminates soils, air and water
We depend on clean soils in many ways. Feeding ourselves is but one. Clean air is even simpler to comprehend as we breathe the air around us. So if hydraulic fracturing pollutes both soils and air, how can we live healthily ?
Shale gas drilling has been linked in many occasions to flammable drinking water. The Economist published an article on that earlier this year.
5. Causes earthquakes
Drilling holes in the soil and injecting massive amounts of chemicals and wastewater is not exactly what could be considered as safe regarding earthquakes. Mother Jones has a nifty animation GIF showing how and why.
A recent study from one of the world’s leading seismology labs quoted by Reuters show that ” powerful earthquakes thousands of miles (km) away can trigger swarms of minor quakes near wastewater-injection wells like those used in oil and gas recovery “
To Triple Pundit, the US Geological Survey (USGS) linked up to 50 earthquakes to fracking in Oklahoma. Magnitudes were ranging from 1.0 to 4.0.
6. Puts arsenic in groundwater tables
Arsenic is a poison of choice if you want to dispose of an Emperor or a King. Most unfortunately to people near fracking wells, it also has been found in groundwater near fracking wells.
7. Doesn’t benefit We, the People.
Because of all the negative side effects, the People can lose a lot because of fracking. The ones who benefit from it are Big Oil and so on… As I noted in my review of Promised Land, a clean energy alternative however can benefit the People at large.
Rural communities can be revived thanks to wind power’s money. I have read about such occurrences in the United States and in France alike.
To exemplify my point : in April I read about a small city from Southern France that earned huge amounts of money – 2.3 million euros (more than $3 million) -thanks to a few wind turbines.
I think you must have understood it by now. Hydraulic fracturing is not the solution we should be seeking right now. It is full of dangers and its merits are clearly overhyped by fossil fuels companies.
These very companies are ready to silent children, to endanger communities and to stop paying what they should pay for the damages they did. Not the kind of people you would want to let anywhere near your houses and cities…
To conclude: if our communities can benefit immensely from renewable energy sources as seen above, they could soon become much more efficient as we have seen with the following books : Reinventing Fire, Factor five, Crossing the Energy Divide and Hot, Flat and Crowded. (each link brings you to its review)
I hope this long article will have enabled you to find the arguments against fracking you may have lacked.
edited on April 17th, 2016 to replace the original title image.