Tuesday, June 28, 2016
As the reasons not to support Clinton and the Democratic party dwindle in the Naderite pockets of the Left, one issue continues to be raised, and will continue to be raised, because it's a motherfucker.
Fracking. No one except energy companies like it, and yet Obama, and now Clinton, won't support a ban. What gives? I mean, it's safe to assume that at least Clinton's reticence is purely the product of her being purchased, via campaign donations, by the oil and gas industry, right?
I encounter this argument all the time, and kittens, it's like those people have never even stopped to consider that energy is sort of a zero sum game. I mean, yes, our need for it increases constantly, but given the totality of our need, what we take from one place necessarily reduces what we take from another. And what we take in the fracking fields reduces what we buy from other countries, and specifically reduces coal consumption overall.
By reducing what we import from other countries, we increase domestic employment, and we reduce our own prices. The natural gas boom in the US has meant a 47% decrease in the price of natural gas, which saved the average US household $200 a year. That's not nothing. To poor families in the winter, that's a lot. Over the entirety of energy consumers, including electricity consumers, fracking has meant a total savings of 74 billion. To say nothing of the considerable savings we've experienced at the pump. Again, to the middle class and below, these savings are extremely important to a family's ability to make ends meet.
And the switch from coal to natural gas has reduced nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions drastically. Our air quality has actually improved because of fracking, with generators emitting 25-45% less nasty stuff.
Something else, too. You know those giant supertankers that bring imported oil to our shores? Did you know that, because of the kind of fuel that they burn, just 16 of those ships create as much filthy, sulfurous, people-killing pollution as all the automobiles in the world? To say nothing of oil spills at sea.
So, wanting to reduce their use for oil imports is, again, not nothing. It's important. And fracking has done that.
And of course there are also the somewhat more difficult-to-quantify benefits of not having to spend quite so much time defending our oil interests in foreign countries. That's a whole can of worms, huh?
Okay, so I imagine I'm well past the point where you're all either gone, or have written me off entirely because AM I DEFENDING FRACKING FOR FUCK'S SAKE??
Not exactly. But not exactly not. What I'm in favor of, is understanding the consequences of our actions, and so if you insist on a complete and total ban on fracking, you should also understand not just the bad effects that you want to eliminate, which, yes, are considerable - but also the benefits that you would also eliminate.
I know. Shit's complicated.
But of course ultimately the goal is to eliminate fossil fuels altogether, and thrive on a diet of sunshine and warm breezes, and maybe recycled unicorn manure. Some would say that by lowering our oil and gas costs, fracking offers us complacency, thereby delaying our essential ventures into alternative forms of energy.
And they may be right. But if they're right, then that means that what WILL motivate us into giving up fossil fuels, is the rest of the world suffering from the effects of oil and gas extraction, while we protect ourselves from those same effects.
I think anyone who knows anything about the US, knows that we are seldom motivated by the suffering of those outside our own borders. Not that we don't feel bad about the suffering of foreigners, because, hey, je suis Charlie, n'est pas? But does that empathy actually motivate us to do anything about their suffering? I mean, of course, you can always feel free to assume the best about us. Who could that hurt, that really matters?
Posted by vikkitikkitavi at 5:21 PM