A perspective on Fracking. We need energy and less hysteria in making decisions on it.

Lifted straight from my Fullermoney newsletter. The idea of using coal to avoid fracking seems disconcerting.
The geopolitical shift that would result from decreasing reliance on oil, and more specifically on Russian oil and gas, is one that European politicians might not want to ignore. And if natural gas displaces coal, then fracking is good not only for the economy but also for the global environment.

But if fracked gas merely displaces efforts to develop cleaner, non-carbon, energy sources without decreasing reliance on coal, the doom and gloom of more rapid global climate change will be realized.

My view – The extraction and burning of fossil fuels is a messy process but mankind could not prosper without them. So-called clean or green energy is a nice idea. However, countries which have invested heavily in wind farms are now realising just how expensive, unreliable, inefficient, noisy, unsightly and hazardous for wildlife these installations are proving to be.

Solar power is preferable to windmills, not least because it can be used in small units attached to buildings, but it is certainly not a standalone system in most countries. Fossil fuel backup is required for all green energy technologies, which increases the costs considerably.

Pre-Fukushima, nuclear power was regarded as sort of green, albeit with terrifying leakage and waste disposal problems. Consequently, few countries are ready or willing to invest in new nuclear, which is almost certainly safer, although the spent fuel problem needs to be resolved by rendering it harmless.

Fortunately, US fracking technology has ended the ‘peak oil’ risk, because global sources of shale oil and natural gas are widely spread and vast. The US economy has been the enormous beneficiary of this unconventional oil and gas production to date. Other countries have access to the technology but political inertia has largely delayed their use to date, not least in Europe.

Paradoxically, Europe’s green energy programmes have increased pollution because of the additional need for backup coal burning plants. Conversely, pollution has actually declined in the USA thanks to the amount of natural gas that is being produced and used. Moreover, the American economy is benefiting enormously from its energy cost advantage.

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