As the world teeters on the brink of economic chaos, vast new resources offer the prospect of new jobs, revitalized manufacturing, and prosperity. The “Peak Oil” specter is being vanquished in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and other places worldwide by releasing natural gas or oil from shale.
“The gap between comfort and chaos in modern civilization is alarmingly narrow and defined by a four-letter word: fuel,” writes Jane Orient, M.D., President of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, quoting The Sunday Times from the UK. http://www.ddponline.org/2012/01/01/gaps-gigatonnes-and-megawatts/#more-90
Thousands of British and Scottish families live in “fuel poverty,” and many American families suffer from the severe economic recession and rising prices.
Abundant oil and natural gas, a hopeful development for ordinary people of the world, is an existential threat to special interests: those who want to keep the world dependent on their oil or gas supplies (such as the Middle East or Russia), and those who want sky-high prices for natural gas so that windmills or solar panels look “affordable” by comparison. http://www.physiciansforcivildefense.org/2012/03/01/salvation-or-existential-threat/
Britain’s “second energy revolution”—its “dash for gas”—is seen as a threat to its “carbon dioxide goals.” Some want the UK to follow the example of France in imposing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)—or Pennsylvania to follow the example of New York in blocking this technology pending further “study.”
Horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing has been used by petroleum engineers since the 1950s to extract both petroleum and natural gas. After a well is drilled, a wire with explosive charges is dropped into it to create fissures in the rock. Water, chemicals, and sand are pumped in under pressure to open channels and keep them open, so gas can flow out when the fluid is pumped out.
Opponents cite fears of groundwater pollution, which has not been observed, or earthquakes. Slight earth tremors can and do occur; the seismicity of fracking is quite similar to that of coal mining. The really destructive upheaval is the one to the billion-dollar subsidies flowing to economically nonviable wind and solar industries, states Dr. Orient.
Fears of “climate disruption” from burning hydrocarbon fuels are increasingly falling into disrepute, Orient notes. Canada has become the first nation to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, stating that to meet the target for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would require either removing all vehicles from Canadian roads or shutting down its agricultural sector and cutting off winter heat to all buildings. http://www.physiciansforcivildefense.org/2012/01/01/is-kyoto-dead/
Issues concerning energy technology and the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide will be featured at the 30th annual meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, to be held on Long Island July 27-29. www.ddponline.org.