October 2, 2013 | 3
Perhaps I’m just out of touch or a just new school environmentalist, but I don’t agree with beating up on fossil fuels just because it’s the convenient thing to do. I see it all over the web and my Twitter feed, like today in this article from ThinkProgress about how the IPCC report has increased the global warming impact from methane. That’s a valid scientific and policy point, but ThinkProgress immediately sets it up as an argument against fracking, which vastly oversimplifies the issues with fugitive methane emissions and not to mention issues with conventional gas production (like leakage through pumps and piping).
My philosophy is to look at each technology and fuel and recognize the upsides and downsides, because they all have them, and it’s a disservice to people looking for accurate information to pretend otherwise. That’s why I’m more ‘positive’ about natural gas and hydraulic fracturing than others. As an engineer, I’m inherently practical and that informs my viewpoint of energy, technology, and policy. It’s not that I don’t see the downsides – because there are many – but I view them as manageable risks and opportunities for policy and/or technology to minimize them. And in the case they are not manageable and the risks too great, I’ll say it.
But setting up the issue as David versus Goliath (environment versus Big Industry) sets up a win for David. Every time.