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Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's "Climate Action Plan" for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office at Georgetown University and unfortunately, it's a full-throttle endorsement of every aspect of fracking and the global shale gas market.

Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is the toxic horizontal drilling process via which gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the world, and touting its expanded use flies in the face of any legitimate plan to tackle climate change or create a healthy future for children.

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's "Climate Action Plan" for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office at Georgetown University and unfortunately, it's a full-throttle endorsement of every aspect of fracking and the global shale gas market.

Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is the toxic horizontal drilling process via which gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the world, and touting its expanded use flies in the face of any legitimate plan to tackle climate change or create a healthy future for children.

Here is what President Obama said today at Georgetown about natural gas and fracking:
 

Now even as we're producing more domestic oil, we're also burning more clean-burning natural gas than any country on earth. And again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but we should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because in the medium-term at least, it can provide not only safe cheap power, but it can only help reduce our carbon emissions.

Federally-supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now we'll keep working with the industry to keep making drilling cleaner and safer, make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work, modernizing our modern infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy. The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs, it's lowering many familes' heat and power bills and it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution, even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the even cleaner technology for the energy economy of the future.

The "Fact Sheet" announcing the Plan further explains:
We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.
This portion of the plan alone - not to mention anything else problematic found within it, such as endorsement of nuclear energy and illusory "clean coal"/carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology - would prevent the actions outlined in his Fact Sheet from taking place.  

In fact, children’s health and air quality nationwide are directly threatened by the promotion of further fracking and natural gas drilling activity. There is a clear disconnect between the president’s stated commitment to a healthy future for children, and the vast expansion of natural gas drilling and fracking, which are scientifically proven to be polluting the air and drinking water of Americans.

"Burning natural gas is about one-half as carbon-intensive as coal, which can make it a critical 'bridge fuel' for many countries as the world transitions to even cleaner sources of energy," reads the plan.

That premise is false. When measured in its entire life cycle - as Cornell University researchers found - fracked gas is actually dirtier than coal and therefore is a bridge to nowhere other than extreme climate disruption. That's due to fugitive methane emissions, conveniently left out of the climate plan: methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.

Endorsement of Shale Gas Exports, Global Fracking Development, Pickens Plan

Obama's plan also boasts about bringing the U.S. model for fracking abroad through the U.S. State Department's Global Shale Gas Initiative, now called the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program.

"We have launched the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program to share best practices on issues such as water management, methane emissions, air quality, permitting, contracting, and pricing to help increase global gas supplies and facilitate development of the associated infrastructure that brings them to market," the plan further explains.

Further locking in demand for fracking, the Obama climate plan also fully endorses T. Boone Pickens' "Pickens Plan," helping create a domestic market for natural gas vehicles, particularly for 18-wheelers. The plan also en

"Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production and encourage the development of a global market for gas. Since heavy-duty vehicles are expected to account for 40 percent of increased oil use through 2030, we will encourage the adoption of heavy duty natural gas vehicles as well," the fracked gas portion of the plan concludes.  

"Gasland 2" Director Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo Weigh In on the Plan

Sarah Palin, Republican Party Vice Presidential candidate for President in 2008 - who famously chanted "drill baby, drill" at a campaign rally - once was described this way by then-candidate Obama before the 2008 election: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

These two statements are pearls of wisdom as it applies to the Obama climate change plan's endorsement of fracking. "Gasland 2" Producer and Director Josh Fox agrees with the sentiment.

"Without reducing total production, which would require him to really take on the fossil fuel industries and have a real fight with them, this plan is not going to do anything to solve the problem," Fox told DeSmogBlog. "Cutting the overall emissions from power plants, but not cutting overall production of coal and gas, makes the problem worse. It's like switching from Marlboro to Camel cigarettes, instead of just quitting."

Actor/director Mark Ruffalo, a spokesperson for Americans Against Fracking, also weighed in:

President Obama deserves praise for prioritizing climate change, but if he's serious he needs to start by rejecting fracking for oil and gas. Fracking is a dangerous and toxic drilling process that greatly exacerbates climate change and threatens to put us over the edge. 400 ppm is a game changer that requires President Obama stand up to the oil and gas industry. We have clean and abundant wind, water, and solar alternatives that can power the entire U.S. and individual states, according to studies, with existing technologies at equivalent or lower costs than conventional fuels. President Obama can't claim to seriously address climate change and expand fracking for oil and gas - that's a stark contradiction.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Really surprised and disappointed (9+ / 0-)

    to see Obama repeating that carbon benefit myth re: NG.

    OT: can you delete that repeated text under the squiggle?  Thanks!
    And good diary.

    •  Yeah, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, NYFM

      he also said this:

      First, he said that he will use the full authority of the Clean Air Act to limit air pollution from both new and existing power plants. Second, he declared that he will not approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it harms the climate, because to do so would not be in the national interest.
      If he could learn regarding Keystone, maybe he can learn about fracking.
      •  there's already a State Department study (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deward Hastings, Shahryar

        claiming it will have no net harmful effect on the environment, so I believe that base has been covered already.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:09:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He's probably going to approve the pipeline ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        apimomfan2

        The state dept already found in its preliminary report that the pipeline would not harm the climate.  They assume all of the tar sands oil will be burned no matter what and claim the pipeline is safer environmentally than shipping the oil by train.

        State Dept: Keystone XL would have small impact on climate, tar sands

        The State Department has just released its 2,000-page draft environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, down to Steele City, Nebraska and on to the Gulf of Mexico.

        The big takeaway: The State Department concluded that either blocking or approving the Keystone XL pipeline would have a small impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansions. That’s because, in its view, most of Alberta’s oil will find a way to get to the market anyway — if not by pipeline, then by rail.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

  •  Michael Mann liked the speech. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, ericlewis0, FloridaSNMOM

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:59:54 PM PDT

  •  Natural gas is the only bridge fuel. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    Easily better than coal and somewhat better than oil.

    (still a winner of a policy though)

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:16:53 PM PDT

    •  Is it worth (6+ / 0-)

      the cost of contaminated aquifers?

      Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

      by ask on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:07:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worse than contaminated aquifers is wasted water (0+ / 0-)

        If you parse out what the President said -- EPA would require fracking to be conducted in ways that might really minimize the two problems usually cited -- the fugitive methane emissions and the hazard posed to water supplies by leakage of toxic fracking fluid into underground aquifers.

        Scientists may disagree about whether that contamination can even occur, or whether it could be prevented by current methods and technology. Scientists can also disagree on whether fugitive methane emissions can be effectively captured.

        However, for me, there is one reason above all others to oppose fracking. It uses massive amounts of our massive amounts of our most valuable and increasingly scarce resource -- water. It doesn't just use it, fracking involves a deliberate contamination of millions and millions of gallons of water, taking it out of the useful natural water cycle.  Whatever the benefits of greater energy supplies and regardless of whether increased reliance on gas might lower GHGs, we cannot afford to lose all that water.

        Ancient aquifers are being used up and even surface waters are disappearing due to climate changes and overuse. We have to find ways to use water more efficiently than we are doing now. Scaling up fracking moves us in the wrong direction -- and probably in ways that may produce impacts that are more permanent than even climate change, which could be reversed within 100,000 years or so.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:40:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I live in the Finger Lakes region... (10+ / 0-)

    ...of NYState. Organic farms, wineries, Farmers Markets, local beans and grains locally milled into flour. Camping and recreation destinations.

    In my area there is a big subculture of reduction of consumption, renewable energy use and biomass heating. We even have an Earthship! Great recycling programs, carshare and fabulous local transit.

    I refuse to have my region "fracked" to feed the greedy consumption of other parts of the country where people sneer at conservation, waste resources, refuse to recycle make fun of bicycles and outlaw Teslas. Forget about "bridge" fuels. We need to scale up renewables now.  

    "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

    by your neighbor on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:44:06 PM PDT

  •  Hydraulic Fracturing is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freerad

    not a drilling process.  It is not an extraction or production process   It is a well completion process.

  •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
    That premise is false. When measured in its entire life cycle - as Cornell University researchers found - fracked gas is actually dirtier than coal and therefore is a bridge to nowhere other than extreme climate disruption. That's due to fugitive methane emissions, conveniently left out of the climate plan: methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.
    Those Cornell University researchers did an emission calculation and they did not conduct their own direct measurements of natural gas exploration and production
    operation emissions.   Their emission characterization has been severely criticized and  U.S. EPA's estimates of industry
    wellhead and emission source points don't show the high rates of uncontrolled methane emissions from natural gas operations described by the Cornell researchers.
  •  it's still too much for Mary Landrieu (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, dance you monster

    http://www.nola.com/...

    "We both want to protect the environment, but I believe that overzealous regulations are harmful to our economy," Landrieu said. She applauded the president's call to help states reducing flood risks, but expressed disappointment he did not approve the Keystone Pipeline.
    She must be with us on all the other important issues, probably, maybe
  •  Fugitive methane emissions (0+ / 0-)

    I fart in Obama's elevator.

    All the "clean" sources of fossil fuels have been depleted and harder to extract sources, from tar sand to methane clathrate to fracked gas to Deepwater Horizon type wells, will toss more molecules of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere per joule of useful energy extracted.  We passed the "tipping point" so often bandied about long ago.  It's just that it takes a long time, decades, for the effects to be fully realized.  

    Our only saviors are the Republicans.  They have been trying to crash the economy for years now, only to be foiled by the evil Obama.  If they had their way and unemployment was 85% and only the select 1% could drive cars and heat their houses, then the Chinese would have no one to sell to and they would have to shut down their coal-fired power plants.  With Chinese factories closed, Europeans would have no more stuff to buy and they would have to quit shopping and stay home.  With the Americans and the Chinese and the Europeans staying home, no one would need to buy Saudi or Nigerian crude, so they could turn off the pumps and just sit around.

    Then you might see atmospheric CO2 start to come down.

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