According to the video, unlike ordinary natural gas drilling, fracking involves pumping toxic chemicals (including benzene and formaldehyde) under pressure into the ground. But like ordinary drilling, failures can and do occur. The video cites faulty drilling casings and operator incompetence as the causes of two incidents where water was contaminated with natural gas, and a third incident where water was contaminated by trucks bringing benzene to the drilling site. That the first two failures weren't unique to fracking and that the third was not directly related to the drilling itself are not rational reasons for discounting them in assessing the overall risks of fracking.
Even if the expert is correct in saying that the risk of failure is the same as ordinary drilling, it is the consequence of failure that must be considered. If the risk for a plumbing failure at a nuclear power plant were the same as the risk of a leak in my garden hose, no reasonable person would conclude that the plant was therefore no riskier than watering my lawn. Yet that is essentially the logic applied by the video's 'expert'.
We would be decades away even if we decided to invest what was necessary to get us there, and with the current levels of investment, I would be unsurprised if we're still drilling for oil full blast when I die.
Easy way to hop over the WSJ paywall: search title on Google, open link in incognito
NYTimes paywall: Open link in incognito. After 10 articles, close all incognito windows and try again.
To be more fair natural gas is our perfect bridge fuel to a renewable future. Coal powerplants can be replaced right now instead of waiting for unsubsidized competitive solar. Nuclear powerplants can be brought down for maintain and improvements. Cheaper energy will drive manufacturing and save families money on heating.
Problems exist to be solved, fracking's problems are no exception and the reward is progress.
Yes, we just need to get the drilling industry to recognize there is a problem. Necessity is the mother of invention, and regulation is good way to create necessity. Auto manufacturers fought clean air restrictions and fuel efficiency requirements, but those regulations spurred them to innovate. I'm sure the drillers would as well.
Why not? Germany is ramping up renewable output pretty fast these days.
It's not cheap, but it's sustainable and affordable, and you're protected from volatility in the hydrocarbons market.
I'm partial to nuclear, there is enough Uranium in Australia to keep us going for at least 1000 years or so.
Calculations suggest that nuclear power has less impact than solar power installations (panels need to be produced, contain lots of toxic chemicals, take yet more toxic chemicals to produce, and -eventually- end up in the garbage can. Add to that, that panels are only specced to produce about 20x their energy production cost over a period of roughly 20 years. Installing solar panels means that the first 3-4 years (more if you're not in Florida) you're actually making the co2 problem worse). The worst nuclear power plants produce 50000 times the energy needed to build them on a yearly basis (compare solar panels, perfectly placed, 1/4th to 1/3rd). For the best ones, that factor is tens of millions.
If you actually need power, of course the only metric that matters is environmental impact relative to power production. Now we can argue about what is included in that and what isn't, like mining (coal, of course, has mining too, and much worse). And look at that graph, in reality uranium mining is less impactful than coal mining for thousands of time more energy.
I also like the argument that when people say "but nuclear plants produce long-lived radioactive waste". Well, no, technically they massively reduce long-lived radioactive waste. If we don't use it, it's effectively in the ground, massively dispersed over large areas (generally not deep), and not dug up, constantly irradiating humans and animals. There's a city (in Iran, called Ramsar) where the natural background radiation level is more than in the reactor of a nuclear power plant. It's healthier to swim in the reactor pool of a nuclear reactor than to walk around in that city. Yet people just live there, unaware and unbothered.
> U.S. natural-gas production will accelerate over the next three decades, new research indicates