Washington D.C. – With just days before the People’s Climate March and one week until the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in New York City, Food & Water Watch released a new report outlining why fracking means more dangerous global warming, along with air pollution, water pollution and other problems. The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking provides a comprehensive review of the science behind fracking’s impacts and finds that the only path to a sustainable energy future is to ban fracking.
“The industry has successfully spun fracking as good for the climate, but the science shows it’s anything but,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “If President Obama wants to be a leader in curbing the global climate crisis, he can’t continue to ignore the climate-related effects of methane from fracked gas. The science is now clear that natural gas dependence causes much more global warming than previously thought.”
The report explains that the massive amounts of methane leaked during the fracking process are more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide – 87 times more heat over a 20-year period according to the International Panel on Climate Change. This discredits the rationale used by proponents that fracking for natural gas will do less climate damage due to its potential to offset carbon emissions.
Additionally, the report reveals that most fracking is for oil, which has no purported climate benefit.
“Even if what the industry claimed about fracking were right, it would take decades before burning natural gas instead of coal would translate to any less climate damage – and by then it may be too late,” said Hauter. “The administration’s proposed power plant rules only focus on displacing and controlling carbon dioxide emissions, and they incentivize the use of natural gas to achieve their goals. In the meantime, coal displaced by natural gas is exported and burned overseas. Promoting natural gas will not only contribute to the climate crisis, but it will result in billions of dollars being spent on the infrastructure to support burning gas, preventing us from moving into a sustainable energy future.”
The report also describes the unacceptable risksfracking poses to vital water resources, and how fracking causes significant harms to health and well-being for those living alongside the industry. Plans to export natural gas amount to 60 percent of 2013 U.S. dry natural gas production. The tens of billions of dollars that would be sunk on infrastructure to support these exports would lock in more widespread fracking, more air, water and climate pollution and more health harms. Plans to expand natural gas use by power plants will likewise mean more fracking. All the while, the oil and gas industry pads its profits with over $4 billion a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Rather than doubling down on fracking for oil and gas, the report calls for an energy policy focused on reorienting energy systems and local economies around needing less energy, and meeting energy needs with renewable resources.
“The inherent risks from fracking, coupled with the oil and gas industry’s favored status under the law, make regulations ineffective,” said Hauter. “The inevitable harm caused by accidents, leaks and spills of pollutants, the long-term of risk of groundwater contamination, the climate pollution, and the social and economic disruption, all taken together, warrant a ban on fracking.”
Contact: Ryanne Waters, (202) 683-4925, [email protected]