Fracking 99% successful
A new U of Texas/Environmental Defense Fund study shows that new natural gas fracking operations capture 99% of the methane. This corrects an earlier speculation by a couple of activists from Cornell who claimed that escaping methane negated the significant effects of natural gas in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
I am trying to give the Cornell folks the benefit for the doubt and assume that their motives were not merely political. If we extend this consideration to them, we find that they might have fallen victims to old data and perhaps looked backward instead of forward. It makes no sense to believe that “greedy” firms would want to let lots of their product just be lost. They would constantly be working on ways to get more product, even if they cared not at all about their image or following laws and regulation. And let’s give credit to regulation. EPA regulations are coming on line that will ensure that there is no backsliding.
Older wells are less effective. This is not surprise. Methods and technologies improve. Think of a computer that is twenty years old. If you studied computers in general and included the 1993 version of the PC, you would not have an accurate picture of what was possible in 2013.
The news about shale gas was good and it keeps on getting better. It has changed the equation in the Middle East. In the last five years, fracking has created more than a million jobs and pumped more real money into the U.S. economy than the total of the borrowed stimulus. It has helped the U.S. reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, so that we will reach our putative Kyoto contacts w/o having to take the draconian steps envisioned. It is putting money into rural economies and helping spur the return of industrial production to the American heartland.
As importantly, our fears and apprehensions associated with the process are proving exaggerated or unfounded. Natural gas will provide the bridge to the future. It is allowing us to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions, while bringing jobs and money back to the USA. It is very close to being a miracle.