Friday, June 05, 2015

Drill, baby, drill. Who the frack cares!

One event and so many different headlines!

Who you gonna believe?

I wonder if it always was like this, or whether such contentious interpretations day in and day out are a modern phenomenon.  Even for a junkie like me, this is simply head-spinning.  Perhaps all the more why many simply decide to shut themselves off from this cacophony and instead rely on their favorite news sources.  You know, like the Faux News people!

What was the event that triggered all these headlines? In a weighty tome that can put anybody to sleep, the US EPA found "no signs of “widespread, systemic” drinking water pollution from hydraulic fracturing."

But, we are talking about energy and politics.  Not really science.  Which means:
it’s widely believed the Obama administration is deferential to natural gas fracking companies because the industry is more environmentally friendly than Big Coal but also robust enough to help drive much-needed economic growth. That attitude is shared by other members of the president’s part
Fight coal, but then a wink-wink towards natural gas.

Except, even the fighting coal is not really happening, notes the Pulitzer-winning writer at my favorite magazine:

So, where do all these  leave us?  Do the President and his people have any real energy policy at all? Kolbert writes, "the White House’s energy policies remain a muddle."  Great!  Can anything be done?
the Administration is undermining its own best efforts. But such a muddle is probably the best we can expect until and unless American voters demand something more coherent.
Ah! American voters demanding something coherent?  Good luck on that!

All these mean that after November 2016, we will most likely end up with a President and a Congress that will be a lot more fossil-fuel friendly than the friendly environment that currently exists.  Meanwhile, there is a climate conference coming up in December:

Good luck on that, rest of the world!


Ramesh said...

Commenting on a side issues that was triggered by your post. The fault is all of that blasted Twitter (and the television sound bites that preceded it). Everybody is now addicted to news in 140 (or whatever that number is) characters. That's why you get stupid headlines like the ones you quoted.

Avoid Twitter like the plague. read a sensible full article (like this blog post). Understand all sides of the argument. Appreciate the nuances. Then form your views.

By the way, what is your argument against the administration preferring a not pristine, but better than alternative option of natural gas ? Is it that they are not fighting coal vigorously enough?? You can hardly fault this administrations failure to put climate change on the agenda. The problem is all Americans, where a majority do not want any action on climate change. That is the real issue.

Mike Hoth said...

Agreed! Places like Twitter are willing to assist people with short attention spans(an earned stereotype of Americans) and it does nothing to help deepen understanding of the issues at hand. It cheapens the impact of these kinds of issues when it only takes a minute to read the post.

On the topic of fracking and coal, I always find it laughable when the pro-frack argument is "coal is worse than fracking". Coal is an awful source of energy due to its environmental costs, but there are so many fossil fuels that become available due to fracking that in the long run, fracking is far worse. I was once discussing the issue with an environmentalist, and he told me that "as soon as fracking becomes widespread, the fight against climate change is over".

Mind you, this anti-fracking, pro-environment rant is coming from a Republican, so you know it must be a big deal!

Sriram Khé said...

The post that I just blogged is a follow-up ... though, I had not planned on it that way when I blogged about fracking/EPA.

And, yes, we are not fighting coal enough. As I note in the latest post, fighting coal should be like JFK's commitment on a mission to the moon. Actually, it should be more important than that. But, not as in divesting from coal and other such cheap publicity stunts.

Yes, I have heard one too many statements that fracking NG is better than coal. More than anything else, such a short-sighted approach takes the focus away from the urgency for developing alternatives to carbon in any form. And I am not even an environmental nutcase to think this way!

Finally, unlike you two, I don't blame Twitter and other tech. I use Twitter, a lot. It is a tool. It depends on how we use the tool. It then means that we people are screwed up--on (mis)using Twitter and (mis)using resources :(

Sriram Khé said...

You folks will be interested in this essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
"We have entered an age of willful ignorance."

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