Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.
While the Global Frackdown originated as a single international day of action per year, in 2015 the Global Frackdown occurred during the entire month of November in the lead up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. The “Global Frackdown to Paris” served to highlight our growing movement and build pressure on national leaders to oppose fracking.
The oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars on slick public relations campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible. Yet public opinion continues to grow in opposition to fracking.
While the industry is working hard to protect its profits and drown out the worldwide demand for clean, renewable fuels, there is a tremendous movement afoot around the world to protect our global resources from fracking.
What We Believe
In many ways, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) looms as the environmental issue of our time. It touches every aspect of our lives—the water we drink, the air we breathe and the health of our communities—as it ominously threatens our global climate.
More than a decade of large-scale use of the fracking technique (mainly in the U.S. and Canada) has shown how harmful and destructive this extraction process can be, as confirmed and acknowledged by countless peer-reviewed scientific studies.
The fracking industry itself consumes space and water on a large scale. Through the construction of a network of thousands of wells, it has a significant impact on the development of the targeted regions and inevitably affects areas where either settlements or environmentally and culturally sensitive zones can be found.
On a global scale, fugitive methane emissions from gas pose a very significant but mainly ignored problem. On average, slightly less than 4% of the lifetime production of gas wells is emitted to the atmosphere, including both leaking and venting at the well site and during storage and delivery to consumers. For fracked gas, information is more uncertain, but emissions are likely three-fold greater.
Since methane is at least 86 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, opting for business as usual or even more fracking simply means that it won’t be possible to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below the 2°C threshold agreed to in Paris, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, which is necessary in our view to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
These crucial commitments do not leave much room for improvisation as there is little time before these thresholds are reached: We already reached the 1.1°C point in 2016, and the 1.5°C point will be reached in less than 10 years with current emissions.
That’s why we — as part of a united and consistently growing global community — demand the following:
• An immediate ban without any exemptions of all types of fracking with regard to the research, exploration and exploitation of fossil energy sources. This ban should apply whether or not the fracturing occurs with or without chemicals, hydraulically or in other ways.
• A general import and trade ban on “fracked” fossil energy sources.
• A general ban on the injection of the flowback or the underground disposal of fluids and waste water from the extraction of hydrocarbons.
• Immediate and considerable efforts for a just transition to 100% renewable energy and a significant boost for energy efficiency measures.
The near future demands it; the time is right and the time is now!
The Global Frackdown movement has made a number of significant victories in protecting our global resources from fracking:
- Passed more than 460 measures against fracking, wastewater injection and frac sand mining in communities across the United States.
- Banned fracking in the state of New York and Vermont.
- Passed a two-and-a-half year moratorium in the state of Maryland.
- Kept fracking out of the Delaware River Basin.
- Passed ballot measures banning or placing a moratorium on fracking in Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins, Broomfield, and Lafayette Colorado, Denton Texas, San Benito County, California, and in Oberlin and Broadview Heights, Ohio.
- Launched Americans Against Fracking – a national coalition to ban fracking – and strong statewide coalitions in New York, California, Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
- Upheld bans on fracking in Bulgaria and France, despite intensive pressure from industry.
- Pushed for moratoria in multiple regions in Europe.
- Forced Chevron to give up their planned fracking activities in Romania, Poland and Lithuania.
- Maintained a moratorium on fracking in the Netherlands and Ireland until 2017.
- Passed moratoriums on fracking in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, and Labrador – Canada
- Delayed any commercial shale gas exploration in Germany until 2019.
- Pressured the Czech Environment Minister to reject an application for shale gas exploration
- Upheld a de facto moratorium on fracking in Catalonia before the Spain’s Constitutional Court
- Convinced the Leitrim County Council in Ireland to ban fracking.
- Established more than 200 anti-fracking groups across the UK, some of which have already succeeded in blocking shale gas drilling sites.
- Organized to oppose fracking in communities in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.
- Passed more than 30 local bans on fracking in Argentina.
- Introduced a bill to ban fracking in Mexico.
- Spurred the introduction of new laws for assessing unconventional gas impacts in Australia.
- Delayed fracking in South Africa.
- Achieved majority support in the European Parliament in favour of an immediate moratorium on fracking “until it is proven safe for the environment, citizens and workers.”