Economics, Energy Systems, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 2, 2011
Hungry for energy? Worried that oil is running dry and coal is getting squeezed out? Well, don’t panic — now we have gas on the menu (literally…)! It doesn’t matter where it is, or how hard it is to reach. We will just drill, baby, drill!
Hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as ‘fracking’) is now all the rage — more, it’s the new frontier — and for good reason. It’s the hippest new way to get the energy we need to fuel our modern lifestyles. Yes, it may give you exploding drinking water and make your livestock radioactive, but imagine the fun you’ll have hosting parties — people will marvel at your flame-throwing kitchen entertainment before retiring to the porch with a cigar and whiskey to watch your glow-in-the-dark cows light up the evening like Chinese lanterns.
Strontium, barium, hydrochloric acid, ethylene glycol, butoxyethanol, benzene, methane, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, boric acid, monoethanolamine, dazomet, acetic anhydride, isopropanol, dioxins and even radium: they’re all good for you. Don’t let the chemophobes tell you otherwise. If it weren’t true, they wouldn’t be doing it! The gas people love you at least as much as the money they get from all this.
And look how carefully they do it (a better, but non-embeddable version here):
As you can see, this is all done in a highly professional and clinical manner. These people are experts and so nothing can go wrong. The concrete shown in the animation flows just as smoothly as pictured, and it sets nice and hard — all of those thousands and thousands of feet below the earth — just as it does way up here on the surface. I believe they even send actual people down there to check.
As long as you don’t inventory the entire production process, you’ll also find that the final, mined and delivered gas product burns twice as clean as coal.
Best of all, gas will reduce our dependency on foreign oil. A few more hundred thousand of these fracking wells and we can finally stop pretending to be nice to these people, since we won’t need them any more. Sure, you might have observed that natural gas is not actually a liquid fuel, and you might have even discovered that natural gas is four times more expensive to transport than oil (consumerenergycenter.org), but these are mere technicalities on an otherwise not-toooo-bumpy ride into an ever-more carbon-rich future.
Some are questioning the wisdom of taking our precious, declining, clean water resources, mixing in a chemical soup and then pumping it deep out of reach of future generations. Some are wondering what we’ll do for energy next, when we’ve slurped up the last of the gas whilst bypassing and delaying the deployment of other alternatives. But don’t forget, we wouldn’t want that ‘water’ back anyway and every generation needs its challenges, or they’ll get soft. We should not rob the next one of theirs.
We do need to transition to a low-carbon world, but please, does it have to be now? I’d say don’t underestimate humanity’s developing ingenuity. And whatever you do, don’t let government rules and regulations
restrain impede the corporate citizen from bringing us the economic gains they promise. With thousands of farmers out there struggling to compete with Big Agri, what better than to surrender their land, cash in their chips, and sell out to the Big Gas ponzi profit-share scheme?
Remember, it’s better to be rich and sick than poor and healthy. Given this is looking likely to become a worldwide phenomena, I think we’ll yet prove to the naysayers that you actually can run a business on a dead planet.
Fracking Hell: The Untold Story
BBC: Fracking 101
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