Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Fracking Mess: Natural Gas is Not the Fuel of the Future | Roosevelt Institute

A Fracking Mess: Natural Gas is Not the Fuel of the Future | Roosevelt Institute

Between questionable science, health hazards, and exorbitant costs, there’s no fracking way that drilling for natural gas will solve our long-term energy issues.
Natural gas is being touted as a fuel of the future, a way to bridge the gap between a dirty energy and clean energy economy. But according to numerous articles and a report from David Hughes at the Post-Carbon Institute, what we may have is another bridge to nowhere (page numbers in this post refer to Hughes’ study). Fracking, the rapidly expanding technique for pulling natural gas out of the ground, may be worse for global warming than coal, ultimately very expensive, and not productive enough to make much of a difference in natural gas supply anyway.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a 60-year old technique that has recently been applied to the huge deposits of what is called shale, a form of rock that can contain large amounts of natural gas or oil. Now natural gas companies are drilling thousands of these wells, fracturing the shale, and pumping millions of gallons of water laced with hundreds of chemicals to release the natural gas (pages 22-24).
While burning natural gas emits about half the greenhouse gases of coal, transporting, processing, and delivering that gas significantly reduces its advantages. And methane — natural gas — is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide for about 20 years. According to a recent study and other research, shale gas actually leads to more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional drilling.


  1. NASA warns Arctic thaw could have huge impact on global warming

    By Matt Brian on June 12, 2013 05:18 am

    The Arctic's permafrost soils have NASA worried. Scientists monitoring carbon levels in the top layers of Arctic soils have identified huge deposits that, if thawed sufficiently, could upset its carbon balance and magnify the impacts of global warming. The agency estimates that the Arctic's permafrost soils store as much as 1,850 petagrams (one petagram equals 1 billion metric tons), comprising around half of all the carbon stored in Earth's soils — most of it lying within 3 meters of the surface.


    One percent of permafrost methane has the same environmental impact as 99 percent of carbon dioxide

    Worried that the permafrosts might not be as permanent as the name suggests, NASA believes the warming of Earth's surface could lead to the release of the Arctic's carbon stores into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. If the Earth gets warmer and drier, scientists expect most of the carbon to be released as carbon dioxide, but if it gets warmer and wetter, most will be released as methane. Methane is considered the more potent greenhouse gas and NASA is making it one of its top priorities to predict potential emissions.

    Studies have found that global warming is making the Arctic greener, adding more layers of organic carbon beneath the soil. NASA is leading the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) project which will study how climate change is affecting the Arctic's carbon cycle. By observing the permafrosts, scientists hope to identify how global warming is impacting the frozen land mass, providing a better insight into Earth's future climate.


    The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth

    With time running out to tackle global warming, sustained global pressure must be put on governments to reach a deal in 2015

    The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth

    With time running out to tackle global warming, sustained global pressure must be put on governments to reach a deal in 2015


    Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats

    Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

    The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

    In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who led the 8th joint US-Russia cruise of the East Siberian Arctic seas, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

    "Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said.

    "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and the high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them," he said.

    Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tons of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

    1. A fact that is seldom reported is that when the Methane does decay it changes into CO2 - SO IT doesn't go away it is still there adding to the CO2.

    2. BREAKING: It's official. The World Heritage Committee has denounced Australia's rapid industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef.

      Our global icon will be listed as "in danger" unless we can turn things around by June 2014.

      To join the #FightfortheReef visit http://fightforthereef.org.au/

      Read more about the World Heritage Committee's decision> http://bit.ly/11I3tR6

  2. Barnett still bonkers over James Price Point.
    He is still telling the biggest porkies too.

    Premier renews attack on FLNG

    Premier Colin Barnett has renewed his attack on Royal Dutch Shell's "unreliable" floating gas processing technology, claiming its susceptibility to cyclones is worrying customers in Asia.

    In a remarkable intervention during Parliament's Question Time yesterday, Mr Barnett also showed he had refused to accept the loss of a land-based LNG hub at James Price Point. He issued a veiled threat that he would strip Woodside Petroleum and its Browse Basin partners of their State-based gas retention leases next year if they pursued FLNG.

    The comments prompted a sharp response from Opposition Leader Mark McGowan, who said while he fervently wanted land-based gas processing, a conciliatory approach to negotiations with companies would produce better results and more jobs for WA.


    "I must say I sensed a bit of reluctance (about FLNG) on behalf of the customers," Mr Barnett said. "The issue is reliability of supply and FLNG is in a cyclone belt.

    "There will be six cyclones a year on average coming through that area, and if a cyclone is anywhere in the vicinity it is necessary to decouple the (vessel) from the subsea technology. It is necessary to evacuate the crew of about 400, that will probably take about three days. When the cyclone has left it will take another three days to re-establish it." It is not the first time Mr Barnett has raised the spectre of accidents on the giant FLNG vessels. Last year he linked them to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Woodside and Shell, which has in the past defended the safety of its technology, did not comment. Analysts say the vessels do not need to be decoupled from the seabed in storms, although LNG tankers cannot tie up and load gas during a cyclone, in line with practices for land-based plants. They also say the size of the crews would be closer to 120 people, rather than 400.
    Mr McGowan said it was hypocritical of Mr Barnett to have supported the Prelude development in the past, and be attacking it now. Mr McGowan said allowing gas to be piped to existing facilities in Karratha should be explored.



    Barnett under pressure to abandon processing gas onshore

    The Premier Colin Barnett says the Federal Government has urged him to "roll over" and allow the development of gas reserves in the Browse Basin with no conditions attached.

    Woodside Petroleum shelved plans to develop a $45 billion onshore gas hub at James Price Point earlier this year and is now looking at using floating LNG technology.

    Mr Barnett says he is involved in negotiations with the Browse project's joint venture partners about the best way to handle the gas reserves.

    He has pushed for the gas to be processed onshore at the gas hub north of Broome and still wants the land used for that purpose.

    Mr Barnett has told Parliament the Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray wants him to stop the negotiations, and has written to him saying he should abandon any hope of processing the gas onshore.

    "The Federal Government, your government, your minister from Western Australia, is urging the state to roll over and just grant all the entitlements to that gas with no conditions now," he said.

    "That is what your federal party is urging, just roll over, let them do floating LNG, no conditions, and just get on with it.

    "Well, the West Australian Government will not do that."

    A spokesman for Mr Gray says he does not comment on private correspondence.



  3. Kimberley grandeur overwhelms the senses

    THE Kimberley and northwest region of Australia are nothing if not cinematic. The size of the land, its endless sky and soaring escarpments suggest Australia has its own western frontier to capture on the big screen.

    Yet we hadn't done so until recently when a relative rash of films, including Baz Luhrmann's Australia, explored inland along the Gibb River Road to Kununurra or, like Bran Nue Dae and Mad Bastards, swept down the coast from Broome and the Dampier Peninsula.

    Catriona McKenzie appreciates the landscape and also its pitfalls. One of the nation's more accomplished TV and short-film directors, McKenzie (Redfern Now) worked as the "set-up director" on The Circuit, an SBS TV drama set in the Kimberley circuit court. At the time, McKenzie had been developing her first feature film, which was likely to be set in Alice Springs.

    She was "cruising around, as you do, when you're setting up a show" in 2007 ahead of The Circuit when she ended up in Wyndham, a northwestern WA town at the meeting of five rivers in the Cambridge Gulf. "I just went: 'Wow, "' she recalls.

    full story at : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/kimberley-grandeur-overwhelms-the-senses/story-e6frg8n6-1226665898092

  4. Hydraulic fracturing has raised environmental concerns these concerns have included ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and the health effects.

    Bruce Hammerson

    Hydraulic Installation Kits