Friday, September 21, 2012

World Temperatures Soar While Fracking Debates Roar

The world's land temperature in June to August, 2012 reached the highest level ever recorded for those 3 months.  That's a fact.

While temperatures soar, the world continues to debate shale gas--the energy resource that has cut  carbon emissions more in the USA more than anything else and that has made the USA the world leader in reducing its carbon emissions since 2006.

South Africa, a country that gets 70% of its total energy from coal, announced this month that it would end its fracking moratorium.  China another country that gets 70% of its total energy from coal fracked its first shale well this year.

Yet, President Hollande of France said that the French moratorium would continue for the 5 years of his term. And in New York the moratorium continues.

Temperatures soar as fracking debates roar.


  1. I was able to catch Radio Times yesterday... I commend you on keeping your cool. It's so unbelievably frustrating hearing someone like Sandra lobbing lie after lie after lie with no repercussion. The pro-gas folks use fact and proper context, while the anti crowd's entire strategy is subverting those facts and that proper context. It's not an honest argument, and kudos to you for pointing that out.

    In the real world we have to face real choices. The real world being something that Ms. Steingraber is noticeably absent from.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. Some folks just won't deal with the real choices. It also disturbs me when good jobs created by gas are dismissed as unimportant. That kind of elitism is ugly.

  2. "The world is full of difficult choices." I listened to Radio Times, and Coal vs. Gas still seems like a false choice to me. I want PA to choose wind and solar now. I'm anti-fracking, yet I very much appreciate the facts you presented. thank you

    Maybe Mike is right, it's all in how you look at it but, seriously, Dr. Steingraber is a Heinz Award scholar. She's not 'lobbing lies.' i daresay Mr. Knapp's reputation for bullying antis precedes him. Liz R.

  3. First, Mike is far from a bully. And all sides to this discussion would do well to remain civil and polite. It was not I who was constantly interrupting on the WHYY show. Dr. Steingrapher is sincere. She also betrays a security in her career. It is generous of her to give away $100,000. It, however, disturbing to hear her denigrate the many good jobs that many Pennsylvanians have gotten in the gas boom. To us jobs driving trucks and moving dirt and operating equipment are good jobs with dignity. They also pay good wages.

    But she is factually wrong on many points and I frankly could not go through her statements point by point. Moreover I think its important to let people say what they have to say.

    Yet, she is just wrong when she refuses to clearly state that there is enormous public health and environmental differences in the production and combustion of coal, oil, and gas. Nobody who facing facts and speaking honestly could not recognize that the impacts from orders of magnitude different.

    She is also just wrong when she won't admit that hydraulic fracturing has been done for 60 years. It has and often at shallower depths than today's shale gas.

    On coal versus gas, coal had its best year globally in 2011 since the 1960s. Coal had its biggest share of world energy in 40 plus years. The only place in the world where coal had a bad year was in the USA. And only in the USA has carbon emissions come down and by a lot. We are back to 1992 levels. And the reason why is only in the USA is shale gas booming. Those are facts.

    I fully support renewables but talk is cheap. Nobody has done more than me to make a reality the 25 wind farms in PA or the 6,000 plus solar facilities. I buy 100% wind for my home and have been doing so for many years.

    Renewables are growing and that is wonderful. But the most aggressive country in the world is Germany and its goal is 30% of its electric energy (not total energy) from renewables by 2030. California's goal is 30% of electric energy by 2020. That leaves 70% coming from something else. What? And what about the next 10 or 20 years? Gas is displacing dirtier coal and oil right now in large quantities. At least it is in the USA. That's the real world

  4. I’m not questioning your record on renewables, or anything else for that matter. I’m questioning the limits of your vision for the future. call me an ugly elitist, a nimby, a green zombie, whatever... Mike Knapp certainly has. this is not a personal attack.

    I recognize that we’re talking about people, but what’s frustrating to enviros is this exclusive push for gas over coal by interests representing gas. Coal vs. Gas is a race to the bottom. Extreme fossil fuel extraction is the lowest common denominator, finite and unsustainable. The gas industry speaks of “some risks” but they’re unwilling to define those risks with any ‘real world’ clarity. Those “risks” are people harmed, which is unacceptable in any industry, if we are to be truly civilized. Those risk include excessive amounts of carbon at a time when we ought to be drastically reducing, rather than increasing through production of LNG exports.

    Please note, her name is spelled Steingraber, in case any of your readers want to look her up. I do agree, she shouldn’t have interrupted you, however may I suggest that if she is so “factually wrong” then you might want to go through her discourse point by point? how many can there be? perhaps you could invite her to do the same and establish a dialogue? I think we could all learn a lot from such an exchange.

    1. The problem with your vision is that it isn't going to happen within the confines of the reality that we live in. Look how hard it is to get anything done, especially something that will make energy cost more. Germany is much more liberal than the US and they are shooting for 30% by 2030 (meaning 70% will come from coal, gas and nuclear). The beauty of switching from coal to shale gas is that we cut GHG emissions by 50% and particulate, sulfur dioxide, mercury emissions 1000-fold and it will actually be cheaper. I think it could be argued that there will be less water pollution and less of a surface impact as well.

      Plus renewables need an energy source to back them up for when it is not windy and not sunny. Gas is the best of all energy sources to be that complementary energy source because it can be turned off and on in a matter of minutes while nuclear plants and coal plants take hours.

      Switching from coal to gas is the equivalent of everyone who has an SUV trading it in for a Prius. Fighting shale gas and fracking is like fighting Prius manufacturing. It really is.

      Those who would ban fracking (while bizarrely giving coal a pass) would be committing us to more pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.

  5. Hate to break it to you, but none of us have a problem acknowledging that fracking has been going on for 60 years. That is pure and simple a disingenuous industry talking point, and you know it. The term "fracking" as the concerned public uses it is short for the acute and cumulative life-cycle impacts of a brand-new combination of technologies called "unconventional gas drillig" or "high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling on multi-well pads," which is a term journalists simply won't print. Therefore when we use a short-hand term, people like you who are slick and disingenuous in your definition of "reality" -- leaving out little details like methane, which is a greenhouse gas which is 105 times more potent than CO2 in the crucial 20 year time frame and is spewed into the atmosphere during all phases of HVHF from drilling on -- you attack us for using the term, rather than dealing with the real greenhouse gas facts. The fact that you KNOW the difference between the old shallow fracking and the new HVHF combination of techniques, but won't admit it, leaves the public to wonder why your "facts" these days are mostly spin. And for you to make a big huge deal about Sandra interrupting you one time more than you interrupted her -- specifically when you were "spinning" her actual words in a disingenuous way -- is absolutely absurd.

    There can be no dialogue as long as you pretend to be the arrogant definer of "reality" while those whose lives are being destroyed by all phases of shale gas drilling, now and in the future, are not part of your "reality." There is no doubt that shale gas is replacing wind, and probably some solar, at a time when it would otherwise be thriving. And there is no doubt that we cannot continue to do extreme fossil fuel extraction -- MTR, fracking, tar sands, deep ocean drilling, Arctic drilling -- and protect our climate. That's the reality you are missing. Even with "Best Practices," which do not exist anywhere in reality, shale gas greenhouse gas emissions from the full life-cycle impact of shale gas development would still be worse than those from coal.

    No, coal is not the alternative. Internalizing the externalities so that sane energy policies, rather than the insanities created by the profit motive, is. And that requires fundamental change which you neither imagine, nor envision, nor push for. Well, John, a lot of people thought ending slavery was impractical also.

    1. 1. I am glad that there is agreement that hydraulic fracturing to free gas and oil and stimulate production has been used for 60 years. Dr. Steingraber avoided directly saying that. I agree that hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in combination is newer. They have been used for about 12 years.

      2. There are now at least 6 studies showing that gas emits 50% less carbon on a LIFE CYCLE basis than coal. There is just one saying gas emits more and it has been discredited by the 6 or more other studies.

      3. Nobody disputes that gas emits zero soot. Soot is the air pollutant that causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year in the US. Using more gas saves thousands of lives every year.

      4. Nobody disputes that gas emits no mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.

      5. Renewables have boomed. Wind has doubled. Solar has increased 14-fold. Nobody has done more for renewables in PA than me. Nobody. I fully support the wind production tax credit and renewable standards. Both are vital. More than 30 states have the renewable standards. And that is a good thing.