Dear Editor: I write in response to the “Facts about Fracking” event which took place last Thursday, sponsored by the Harris Centre.
Although the two engineering experts Drs. James and Dusseault spoke of the feasibility and safety of fracking, I was disappointed that the presenters did not discuss a very significant issue associated with fracking — climate change.
When one considers the impact of fracking for oil and gas on climate change, it becomes obvious that fracking cannot offer a viable energy future for us.
Fracking is an energy-intensive method that requires the burning of fossil fuels at multiple stages of the process, from building the fracking rig, to transporting the water and fracking chemicals to the site, to powering the rig, to transporting the fuel and fracking waste, to disposing the waste, processing the fuel, transporting the finished product, combusting the finished product ... and so on.
Let us not forget the flaring of uncaptured methane gas, a potent contributor to climate change, a process that seems to be increasing dramatically in places like North Dakota and Alberta.
To the assurances given by the two engineering experts, I present the work of Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, a professor of engineering at Cornell University who developed fracking technology but has come to realize that deploying it will compromise our ability to stop climate change.
He has given many presentations to this effect. In a major peer-reviewed paper, quoted in a recent article in the Globe and Mail, Ingraffea proved how the overall carbon footprint of fracking for oil and gas far outstrips conventional fossil-fuel extraction, mainly because of the fugitive methane leaking and venting.
I believe we have to pursue alternative energy sources.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its 2013 report telling us with 95 per cent certitude that climate change is happening because of human activity, and that if we don’t act now, the consequences could be devastating.
If we continue expanding our fossil-fuel sector, I fear we might lose the struggle against climate change and we will feel it here in Newfoundland and Labrador very profoundly. I encourage readers to have a look at the provincial website, Turn Back the Tide, which explains what climate change means for our province.
Climate change is not just about rising temperatures, it is also about extreme weather, including flooding and violent storms that will happen more frequently. I believe we must turn our sights to alternative energy sources such as wind power. Green energy is a technology that is, relatively speaking, still in its infancy, but one that very much beckons our great capacity for technological innovation.
Alternative energy is already being developed elsewhere to great effect. The logistical challenges seem daunting, but that must have been the case as well when fossil fuels were being developed over 100 years ago.
Now it is time to move to the next stage and, time is of the essence, because we are running out of time.
Edwin Bezzina, Corner Brook