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Fracking support falls in UK, but Obama keeps it in 'all of the above'

Fracking could spoil US national parks
Fracking could spoil US national parks
National Parks Conservation Assoc.

President Barack Obama disappointed environmentalists this week by continuing his “all of the above” mantra on energy that he first introduced in his 2012 State of the Union address. At that time, Obama pushed his energy plan as a way to promote jobs, which he claimed would create 600,000 new positions over the next ten years.

Hydraulic fracturing is a procedure to remove natural gas from shale by forcing massive amounts of chemical-laden water deep underground to capture natural gas trapped in rock and soil.

But the president has also come out strong on combating climate change, so critics say his policies on energy and C02 reduction are conflicting.

Ken Silverstein tackled the subject in his September Forbes article by explaining how the White House sees fracking as less polluting than coal-powered plants.

“Enter natural gas, which contains about half the greenhouse gases as coal,” wrote Silverstein. “With the advent of new drilling techniques such as fracking, producers can now access those once hard-to-get unconventional natural gas deposits, called shale gas. But critics maintain that the process pollutes drinking water. They also say that the benefits of switching to natural gas from coal are reduced because of excessive methane releases.”

Depletion of water sources, potential toxic contamination and increased pollution by the fracking process has been a big issue for environmentalists who want to see stronger action from the president on reducing climate change.

But protests seem to have fallen on the deaf ears of a president shackled by Republican resistance to everything he attempts to accomplish and a glacially recovering US economy.

“Unless President Obama changes course, he will help usher in an era of climate chaos," said Kieran Suckling, Director for the Center of Biodiversity. "The president must confront the big polluters mortgaging our children’s future by contaminating our atmosphere with carbon emissions, racking up a climate debt that will impose horrific costs on future generations.”

Meanwhile, across the pond, a new study featured in the Daily Fusion indicates the United Kingdom has experienced the fall of public support for fracking in communities that have come to mistrust promises of government compensation. They see it as more of a “buying off” strategy to get their approval, rather than a safety net should anything go wrong.

The support for fracking as a “clean” energy source in the UK has been slipping for the past two years as that country also struggles with balancing energy needs with environmental concerns.

However, Professor Matthew Humphrey from the School of Political and International Relations, who and co-authored the study, said this about the poll:

“These figures may reflect the increasing politicization of fracking and shale gas as a contentious issue in UK public policy. The public is getting strong messages from protest groups about the dangers of fracking and an equally strong message from the government about the benefits it will bring in terms of secure and affordable energy. The trends seem to show that neither side has won the argument yet.”

Nonetheless, as the debate continues on energy vs. C02 reduction, extreme anomalous weather events that include frigid snow and ice storms, droughts, wildfires and monster hurricanes continue around the world, while climate change increases its diabolical standing as a global unitary.

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