Good news: Germany to oppose fracking

Der Spiegel, is reporting that Germany is ‘putting the breaks’ on fracking in Germany.

This is great news and shows the momentum both in New Zealand and around the world is growing against this controversial practise.

Germany has put the brakes on plans to use hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, to extract natural gas in places where it is difficult to access, such as shale or coal beds. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler have agreed to oppose the controversial process for the time being, SPIEGEL has learned.

In New Zealand Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley likes to characterise opponents of fracking as ‘greenie extremists’, however Germany’s decision along with France, Bulgaria and states in the US, Canada and Australia to put in place permanent or temporary bans show this is a legitimate mainstream concern. Last time I looked none of these countries were run by greenie extremists!

The fact is, there are legitimate concerns, many unanswered questions, the oil and gas isn’t going anywhere so we shouldn’t rush into it. I’m calling for a moratorium until the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment can assure us it’s safe and I think this is the responsible position.

37 Comments Posted

  1. Hi,

    i refer to the first post by Gareth Hughes saying the “Germany has put the brakes on plans to use hydraulic fracturing”.

    Sadly the politicions are giving in. Use an online translator to read this: “http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/schiefergasfoerderung-eu-ebnet-weg-fuer-fracking-1.1863180”

    IMHO fracking is an extreme exploitation of nature and pollution that will come back to us or the next generation (our kids?). The short term euphoric thinking of economic growth, job opportunities or simply money is sadly a majority.

    But i just don’t want to complain here. I also have suggestions:
    To meet our energy problems every person in a household shall have a limited annual amount of energy to use and pay. If anyone exeeds his amount he must pay penalties. People who use less shall be rewarded.

    In general people from so called “civiliced countries” have to step down.

    I have read that in 2007 German population used 2,14 Petawatt (that is a 10 with 14 extra zeros) of evergy on the road (mainly cars, bikes, trucks). And the pollution on the road comes strait back to us. This is more than the 2,15 Petawatt the hole population of Germany used in electricity and heating in their households together. I believe in most other civilised countries this figure is even worse. Car motors are the most unefficient machines mankind has invented and the chinups we do to make them mory efficient is better invested in other forms of transportation and centralized energy production.

    At least every Government of every country shall support internet portals so people can take a car ride with others driving the same route and have “fast lanes” that can only be driven by cars that have at least three passengers per car!

    Sadly i have watched and guess that over 80% of all cars are driven only by there drivers which is a huge waste of energy and a lot of pollution.

    Sinceriously
    Dimitry

  2. Spam

    Open-up cheap gas, and power prices go down. see how the US price for gas has halved in a couple of years?

    Your contention was that people were dying because Germany had closed its nuclear power plants. However the price for electricity has been increasing well before Fukushima caused them to reconsider the safety of their energy supply.

    You have not shown any correlation between Germany closing it’s nuclear power plants and the increase in power prices. You have not shown that anybody has died as a result of shutting down nuclear power plants.

    Say’s the guy who claimed that corrosion in a pipeline was due to fracking!

    What I did show was that the Origin Energy NZ Ltd Rimu Pipeline leaked for nearly two months and was being used to transport produced water… something you had previously tried to mislead us on.

    Is from blow-down of wellheads to unlined flare pits (a practise which has now ceased).

    A bit of a change in story. Clearly those pits were a part of the fracking process. BTEX is used in fracking in New Zealand because there are consents to allow diesel to be used. As you’ve already pointed out, diesel contains BTEX.

    Thankfully it’s not just a choice between fracking and cold homes as there are many alternatives available such as wind and solar power generation. New Zealand also has an abundance of hydro.

  3. What are you talking about? Have those neurotoxins made you retarded?

    In your post here you note:
    The University of Otago found that electricity prices have risen by a whopping 87% over ten years to May 2011. Lead author of a report quoted in the Listener article, Philippa Howden-Chapman said that cold homes probably play a role in an extra 1600 deaths each winter.

    Open-up cheap gas, and power prices go down. see how the US price for gas has halved in a couple of years?

    I don’t think you’ve got enough brains to be a scientist buddy.
    Say’s the guy who claimed that corrosion in a pipeline was due to fracking!

    Let’s look at some more of your disinformation in this thread:
    Then you are clearly not aware. BTEX was found in the contaminated ground water under Kapuni.

    Which, as I have linked to, and explained to you you numerous times already, is from blow-down of wellheads to unlined flare pits (a practise which has now ceased). It is not due to fracking. But one more time for those who suffer from chronic confirmation bias:

    Both Shell Todd Oil Services, which owns Kapuni, and the regional council say there is no link between fracking fluids and the contamination of the site where three of the toxic BETX (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes) chemicals were found.

    In the past, fluids from well operations were intermittently released into pits within the Kapuni field. These pits were used on an infrequent basis and were unlined.”

  4. Spam

    So you lied in your own blog post?

    What are you talking about? Have those neurotoxins made you retarded?

    The fact that power prices have been increasing is irrelevant.

    …after saying:

    So gas and electricity prices in germany are the second highest in the EU. Apparently, high power prices are linked to deaths. Aren’t they?

    So you can’t even link to one article that shows people are dying as a result of Germany closing down nuclear power plants. Keep it up… your the best argument for why people can’t believe a single word the industry says.

    Re your links: if I added the numbers referenced there, I’d get a couple of hundred million, spread over a decade or so. Not billions.

    I haven’t linked to all the documented cases and the nature of the crime is that the funding of disinformation is not disclosed.

    Maybe I should try and get a share of the 16.8 Billion ANNUAL budget for climate change research (in the US alone).

    I don’t think you’ve got enough brains to be a scientist buddy. Let’s look at some more of your disinformation in this thread:

    and as far as I am aware, BTEX is NOT used in fracking fluid in New Zealand

    Then you are clearly not aware. BTEX was found in the contaminated ground water under Kapuni.

    Fracking: The Deeper You Dig, The Darker It Gets

    Whether there is radioactive material or not is not specific to fracking, it specific to whether the shale or low permeability rock contains radium. NORMs are tested for.

    Gas development waste has been found to contain radium-226 at 267 times the US safe limit for discharge into the environment and more than 3000 times the safe limit for people to drink. Radioactive frack fluid is currently not decontaminated at all.

  5. You haven’t linked to anything that shows shale gas is clean or that people have died as a result of Germany shutting down nuclear power plants. Were you aware that Germany’s power prices have been increasing for a very long time… well before Fukushima?
    So you lied in your own blog post? The fact that power prices have been increasing is irrelevant. Shale gas is an opportunity for cheap energy.

    Re your links: if I added the numbers referenced there, I’d get a couple of hundred million, spread over a decade or so. Not billions.

    Maybe I should try and get a share of the 16.8 Billion ANNUAL budget for climate change research (in the US alone).

  6. This ones also worth a read:

    Here’s How The Fossil Fuel Industry Buys Politicians And Spreads Disinformation

    I wrote the first book for a general audience on global warming, 23 years ago. In the time since, we’ve watched as climate change turned from a theoretical future problem to a deep and immediate crisis. Last year saw by far the most multi-billion dollar weather disasters in U.S. history, and the picture was even worse around the globe. Consider Thailand, for instance, where completely unprecedented fall floods did damage equivalent to 18 percent of the nation’s GDP.

    The cause of this warming is not mysterious. Scientists have explained with endless patience that when you burn coal and gas and oil, you release carbon into the atmosphere and that the molecular structure of co2 traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. So far we’ve trapped enough heat to raise the earth’s temperature a degree, and that’s been enough to melt much of the Arctic, increase drought and flood, and turn the oceans 30% more acid.

    The solution to this problem is also not mysterious. We need to stop burning hydrocarbons and start powering our lives with the wind and sun. Not easy to do—it would require investment on a massive scale and an unprecedented government focus. But given that, according to the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, unchecked global warming will cost more than both world wars and the Great Depression, it’s clearly the smart thing to do.

  7. Spam

    Rather a large back-down there, Jackal!

    Not at all. I still agree with the Cornell University Study’s findings despite the controversy.

    You haven’t linked to anything that shows shale gas is clean or that people have died as a result of Germany shutting down nuclear power plants. Were you aware that Germany’s power prices have been increasing for a very long time… well before Fukushima? The rate of increase has remained steady from 2009. You would think that if people had actually been dying as a result of closing down nuclear reactors… there would be at least one article. Unlike documented cases of the oil and gas industry funding disinformation campaigns. Here’s a few samples:

    The funders of climate disinformation.

    Big Oil and Coal Climate Disinformation Campaign 101.

    Oil Company Spent Nearly $16 Million to Fund Skeptic Groups, Create Confusion.

    Authors of Wall Street Journal climate piece downplay industry ties.

    Revealed: oil-funded research in Palin’s campaign against protection for polar bear.

    Scientists denounce climate change denial, censorship.

  8. Nice change of subject away from your delusions there Spam.
    err…. what? We were debating the validity of your claims re emissions from shale gas. Do you mean re the deaths?

    So gas and electricity prices in germany are the second highest in the EU. Apparently, high power prices are linked to deaths. Aren’t they?

    I never said the Cornell University study wasn’t controversial,
    Hmm. You said:
    “Wrong! Here’s the evidence”, and
    “Wrong! Even if you can mitigate all 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escaping to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well, it is still comparable to conventional gas and only marginally better than coal in terms of greenhouse gas footprint.”, and
    “How dumb! The scientific study undertaken by Cornell University is based on industry research”, and
    “You questioning the STUDY by professors at the Cornell University is highly amusing”

    And now you’re backing off from that declared certainty and saying “I never said the Cornell University study wasn’t controversial”. No, you didn’t. But you were rather arrogant and patronising about that study’s conclusions, weren’t you? Rather a large back-down there, Jackal!

    Whether fracking is worse than coal, comparable or better in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is largely beside the point… it’s still a dirty energy that is contributing to climate change and therefore must be phased out.
    No, it’s exactly the point. It is better than coal, and significant emission reductions can be achieved while still meeting the energy needs of the world.

    …and no, I’m not being paid for ‘disinformation’. If you can point out to me how I can get my hands on some of those ‘billions of dollars wasted’, then I’d love to know (but I suspect you’re wrong about that as well).

  9. Nice change of subject away from your delusions there Spam.

    At question is whether shale gas can be a so-called bridging technology. The answer is no… and moving directly into clean energies such as wind and solar power is a much better use of our resources.

    Even the United Staes EPA conclude that gas from fracking emits larger amounts of methane than conventional gas, so when you factor in the link to earthquakes, water contamination and air pollution… fracking is obviously no solution to our growing energy requirements. The financial benefits do not outweigh the environmental damage.

    I never said the Cornell University study wasn’t controversial, especially considering the oil and gas industries promotion of fracking… an industry that wastes billions of dollars on funding misinformation. Are you getting paid BTW Spam?

    In 2010 the Council of Scientific Society Presidents cautioned against a national policy of developing shale gas. This umbrella organization that represents 1.4 million scientists noted that shale gas might actually aggravate global warming, rather than help mitigate it.

    Whether fracking is worse than coal, comparable or better in terms of greenhouse gas emissions is largely beside the point… it’s still a dirty energy that is contributing to climate change and therefore must be phased out. New Zealand should implement a fracking moratorium just like all the other countries around the world that haven’t got their heads buried in the sand.

  10. Oh, by the way:
    Link

    Natural gas is widely considered to be an environmentally cleaner fuel than coal because it does not produce detrimental by-products such as sulfur, mercury, ash and particulates and because it provides twice the energy per unit of weight with half the carbon footprint during combustion. These points are not in dispute. However, in their recent publication in Climatic Change Letters, Howarth et al. (2011) report that their life-cycle evaluation of shale gas drilling suggests that shale gas has a larger GHG footprint than coal and that this larger footprint “undercuts the logic of its use as a bridging fuel over the coming decades”. We argue here that their analysis is seriously flawed in that they significantly overestimate the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction, undervalue the contribution of “green technologies” to reducing those emissions to a level approaching that of conventional gas, base their comparison between gas and coal on heat rather than electricity generation (almost the sole use of coal), and assume a time interval over which to compute the relative climate impact of gas compared to coal that does not capture the contrast between the long residence time of CO2 and the short residence time of methane in the atmosphere. High leakage rates, a short methane GWP, and comparison in terms of heat content are the inappropriate bases upon which Howarth et al. ground their claim that gas could be twice as bad as coal in its greenhouse impact. Using more reasonable leakage rates and bases of comparison, shale gas has a GHG footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal.

    From a published, peer-reviewed paper written by a guy from Cornell. How about that?

  11. Spam

    re the deaths – read the articles. It mentions them.

    Read what articles? There are some baseless fears, however no power outages. The German nuclear industry is the only ones who are insisting there WILL be outages… nobody apart from you is saying people have died from power outages in Germany. What a complete argument fail!

  12. The study shows that venting and leaks over the life-time of a well account for 3.6 to 7.9%… so your calculation is wrong!
    I didn’t re-read it. So its only 1.9% during flowback. That is where I think the authors have it completely wrong. It makes my numbers $26 Million for Kowhai, and about $640 million for Maui (although Maui isn’t fracked). And seeing as your ‘gotcha’ link to the resource consent specifically indicates “flaring or incineration of petroleum recovered from natural deposits and combustion of returned hydraulic fracturing fluids”, it’s pretty clear that the environmental impact is mitigated by burning the stuff that isn’t recovered. Another area in which the assumptions from that report are clearly wrong.

    re the deaths – read the articles. It mentions them.

  13. Spam

    In fact, their article doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    You questioning the STUDY by professors at the Cornell University is highly amusing. Did you happen to have any evidence at all showing that people were dying in Germany because of power outages?

    Lets say that the paper is correct, and that the operator intentially vents 3.6 to 7.9% of easily recoverable gas.

    The study shows that venting and leaks over the life-time of a well account for 3.6 to 7.9%… so your calculation is wrong! If this was easily recoverable, the industry would already be doing it.

    You’re not Bernie Napp or David Robinson by any chance?

  14. Would you drink it? Combusting hydraulic fracturing fluids is probably not the right term as the process is more about vaporizing or atomizing whatever chemicals are contained in the frack fluid and then dispersing them over a wide area.
    For a start, you were talking about methane and its’ global warming potential. Now you’re onto fracking fluid? You do have rather a scatter-gun approach, don’t you?

    Some of these substances are the most toxic known to mankind including Ethylene glycol, BTEX compounds and radium-226 to name a few.
    Ever put anti-freeze in your car? Or emptied your radiator into the drains? Because that is ethylene glycol. Ever filled your car with diesel or petrol? Because that contains BTEX (and as far as I am aware, BTEX is NOT used in fracking fluid in New Zealand (and I fail to see why it would be used in other countries either), although it is naturally present in the gas reservoirs aready). Radium is a “NORM” – Naturally Occuring Radioactive Material. Radium has a half-life of 1600 years, meaning that it hangs around for a long time because it is not particularly ‘radioactive’. Whether there is radioactive material or not is not specific to fracking, it specific to whether the shale or low permeability rock contains radium. NORMs are tested for.

    Wrong! Even if you can mitigate all 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escaping to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well, it is still comparable to conventional gas and only marginally better than coal in terms of greenhouse gas footprint.
    Excitable, aren’t you? Are you seriously saying that I am ‘wrong’ in stating that burning methane reduces it’s environmental impact? Or is this more of you scattergun approach?

    How dumb! The scientific study undertaken by Cornell University is based on industry research.
    “Based on” in no way implies that they understand what actually happens. In fact, their article doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    Let me give you an example:
    You mention the Kowhai field above. As per the MED, the reserves for that field are 146.8 bcf (P50 basis). That is, 146.8 billion cubic feet, or 4.16 billion cubic metres. Now: A typical calorific value for gas is 40 MJ / m³, meaning that the reserves are around 166 PJ (which is quite a small field).

    Lets say that the paper is correct, and that the operator intentially vents 3.6 to 7.9% of easily recoverable gas. That would be somewhere between 6 and 13 PJ of recoverable gas that is purposefully vented. That is 6,000,000 to 13,000,000 GJ of gas intentionally vented.

    The typical gas price in New Zealand is $9 / GJ. So apparently, Operators are intentionally venting between $54 Million and $117 Million of gas that they could sell.

    So: I understand that you believe that Oil & gas operators are out to screw-over the environment, but I assume you think that it is because they put profit ahead of the environment. So when it is in their economic interest to recover and sell this gas, why would they not (win-win, right?)

    What if it were a bigger field? Maui is 25 times the size of Kowhai. They really going to waste between 1.4 and 3 BILLION on venting gas?

    As I responded to Robert Guyton before: No-one in their right mind simply vents production wells at full production rates for 10 days. If those writing that study think that, then they are ignorant.

  15. Spam

    CO2, plus water.

    Would you drink it? Combusting hydraulic fracturing fluids is probably not the right term as the process is more about vaporizing or atomizing whatever chemicals are contained in the frack fluid and then dispersing them over a wide area. Some of these substances are the most toxic known to mankind including Ethylene glycol, BTEX compounds and radium-226 to name a few. These are known human carcinogens, however the cumulative effect is not scientifically studied.

    Burn that methane, and its environmental impact is reduced by a factor > 20.

    Wrong! Even if you can mitigate all 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escaping to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well, it is still comparable to conventional gas and only marginally better than coal in terms of greenhouse gas footprint.

    Re-reading that article, I have no idea where they got their numbers, but they certainly doesn’t seem to be representative of what really happens in industry.

    How dumb! The scientific study undertaken by Cornell University is based on industry research.

    Our analysis uses the most recently available data, relying particularly on a technical background document on GHG emissions from the oil and gas industry (EPA 2010) and materials discussed in that report, and a report on natural gas losses on federal lands from the General Accountability Office (GAO 2010).

    Good news… The Irish Times has just reported that Ireland has halted all fracking:

    MINISTER FOR Energy Pat Rabbitte has reiterated that no hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for gas would take place in Ireland pending further “detailed scientific analysis and advice”.

    […]

    The study published yesterday warns that knowledge of local geology may be “more important” in Europe than in the US in assessing impacts of the controversial procedure. This is because shale formations in Europe are “generally more complex” than in the US, where many fracking projects have been undertaken, it says.

    Risks to water associated with the onland extraction of gas are an “important concern”, notes author Dave Healy, of the universitys geology department.

    Looks like the frackers are running out of countries.

  16. A further question, Spam. The EPA you refer to, is the USA’s, am I right?
    What requirements has our own made with regard flaring/venting here?
    Has the Taranaki Regional council ‘banned’ venting, required flaring and haven’t they concerns about greenhouse gases being released from operations in their patch?

  17. CO2, thank you.
    With the plethora of fracking operations that are likely to result, should the industry and the Government have their way, that’ll be a concerning number of ‘stacks’ putting out CO2 into the atmosphere, up and down the country. No capture and sequestration needed there, Spam? If not, why not?

  18. CO2, plus water. The paper that Jackal linked to suggests that the environmental impact of natural gas produced from fracking is worse than that from coal mining, because of emissions of unburned methane. Burn that methane, and its environmental impact is reduced by a factor > 20.

    Re-reading that article, I have no idea where they got their numbers, but they certainly doesn’t seem to be representative of what really happens in industry. The purpose of flowing back the frac. fluid is to remove enough of it so that the gas in the well can push the rest out. Initially, it is flowed to a tank or similar at atmospheric pressure. Once the liquid starts coming back and it ‘kicks’ to gas, you stop flowing it to the tank, and flow it to your facilities. The calculations in that paper appear to assume that the well flows at full production rates to atmosphere for up to 10 days! That just doesn’t happen. You might have such a flow back in an appraisal well, but the gas would be flared, and it would be one appraisal well per field – it is not representative of every single well drilled.

  19. Does it have an unspeakable name, Spam?
    Humour me – what’s produced when ‘petroleum recovered from natural deposits and returned hydraulic fracturing fluids’ are combusted?
    Fairy dust?

  20. Burning those emissions produces…what, btw?
    A hell of a lot less environmental impact than venting them.

    And no – up until august, I doubt very much they vented them. Flaring is common practise, and has been for… well… ever. This regulation appears to require capturing as much as possible, flaring what can’t be easily captured, and prohibiting venting.

  21. Yeah – because councils tend to reward companies for environmental damage by giving them non-notified consents! Do you not understand that companies actually, shock horror, try to limit their environmental impact? That allowing large volumes of gas to be vented is not only environmentally not a very smart thing to do, but having large flammable gas clouds wafting about is also not a particularly safe thing to do? Flaring of this gas is common and is standard practise.

    You really don’t have much of a clue what you’re talking about, do you? So companies flaring are now even more environmentally bad than the worst-case assumptions from a flawed study that assumes all gas is vented? Wow.

  22. Spam

    You’ll be pleased, I’m sure, to note that as of August last year, the [United States] EPA has moved to ensure that they aren’t – that the emissions are recovered, or burnt.

    Wow! Problem solved then… not! Meanwhile other countries around the world are banning the destructive practice outright.

    You might be interested to know that a 15 year non-notified consent (PDF) was granted on 28 February to Greymouth Petroleum Limited to “discharge emissions to air from hydrocarbon exploration activities at the Kowhai-B wellsite, including:

    flaring or incineration of petroleum recovered from natural deposits and combustion of returned hydraulic fracturing fluids

    …presumably because they’ve been getting criticized for other environmentally damaging forms of disposal that has caused documented water pollution in New Zealand.

    Therefore fracking in New Zealand is currently as environmentally bad if not worse than the findings outlined by the Cornell University’s study… 30% to 100% more emissions compared to coal equivalent energy produced.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the Fugitive emissions issue there BJ… the industry has no real intention of mitigating this problem even if this was now possible and if it could, it would account for approximately 0.03% to 0.5% of the problem (not including accidents or emergency vents).

  23. therefore please stop saying it is.

    That it is not currently any cleaner than coal is true,

    Satisfied J? Now please stop ignoring the parts you don’t feel like reading in order to have a fight with me. I was AGREEING with you…

    The one additional point, that fugitive emissions can be fixed, is necessary to accept, because it is possible to do, and a lot more likely than a winning lotto ticket if we require it to be done.

    One bases argument on science and evidence, not on the need for something to be wrong. Fracking the planet IS wrong, and I outlined reasons that are quite adequate to that argument.

    Fugitive emissions have made fracking a dirty process in atmospheric terms, but they can be controlled. If I base my argument against fracking on fugitive emissions and the industry goes ahead and controls them I have lost the argument. What the industry cannot control is that it is adding to the CO2 no matter how the gas is obtained, that it is diminishing a finite resource no matter how efficiently it is extracted, and that there is an unknowable risk to the water table over time. Those arguments are sufficient for me.

    I seem to remember posting links to the Cornell Study nigh on a year ago… and I read it closely enough. The fugitive emissions issues were also made clear in Colorado more recently…

    http://www.nature.com/news/air-sampling-reveals-high-emissions-from-gas-field-1.9982

    …with an industry response…

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7390/full/483407e.html

    Which among other things, illustrates my point about things that are “fixable” being inadequate to argue this sort of point.

    BJ

  24. @Jackal: That report assumes that fluids flowed-back are vented. You’ll be pleased, I’m sure, to note that as of August last year, the EPA has moved to ensure that they aren’t – that the emissions are recovered, or burnt. See here.

  25. BJ

    It still threatens our ground water, it still is a CO2 emission albeit less, and it still is a depleted and not replaceable resource for future generations.

    Did you happen to have a look at the report I linked to? It found that gas attained through fracking is 30% to 100% worse in terms emissions compared to coal in terms of energy provided.

    Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and one of the main components in fugitive emissions. The Cornell University study shows that presently gas attained through fracking is not cleaner than coal, therefore please stop saying it is.

    Along with mitigating fugitive methane emissions, the study also considered direct emissions of CO2 from end-use consumption, indirect emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels used to extract, develop, and transport the gas and venting… making your hypothetical IF a very big if indeed.

    If I won lotto, if aliens invaded, if the world wasn’t round etc etc.

  26. J

    I mentioned the “fugitive emissions” in my post and that is the name given to the gas that escapes rather than being burned.

    As for cleaner, that isn’t disinformation, it is very simple chemistry. CH4 is mostly Hydrogen, not Carbon. This is vastly different from Coal which has varying but much higher proportions of Carbon to Hydrogen. IF the fugitive emissions problem is addressed.

    That it is not currently any cleaner than coal is true, but it CAN be much cleaner than it is… in terms of the atmosphere.

    It still threatens our ground water, it still is a CO2 emission albeit less, and it still is a depleted and not replaceable resource for future generations.

    Which is why this is to me still, good news.

    ciao
    BJ

  27. Spam

    Now, you may think this is a good thing, but the fact is that the strain on the power network is to the point where there are many more outages and people are dying.

    Got any evidence of that?

    Because fracking provides access to cheap clean gas. This ban will actually lead to more coal being burned than would otherwise happen, as fracking would have allowed the coal to have been displaced by cleaner gas.

    Wrong! Here’s the evidence – Gas from ‘fracking’ could be twice as bad as coal for climate:

    “Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well,” a pre-publication version of the study (.pdf) — obtained by The Hill — said.

    “These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured — as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids — and during drill out following the fracturing,” the study added.

    “The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”

    Who exactly do you work for again Spam?

    BJ

    Even though the gas is cleaner than coal it still causes carbon emissions.

    Don’t start believing their disinformation BJ.

  28. Fracking provides access to gas. It is cheaper than nuclear or wind but not (in the historical sense) cheap. It is cleaner to burn than coal, but not as clean as nuclear and the fugitive emissions problems with gas wells in general, makes them bad for us.

    The fugitive emissions problems can IMHO, be solved if a sufficient price is put on allowing them to happen. Cheap doesn’t help here, but I regard the problem as being addressable.

    As for Germany, it has made some truly bad decisions… the Greens there in particular, are guilty of foolishness in the same league as running Nader against Bush & Gore. For the Germans to rely on Russia to provide them with energy is about as stupid as I can imagine a country being. The RUSSIANS have not forgotten WWII, and won’t forget for another 4 or 5 generations… if ever. Germany has stuck its head in a noose.

    As to this being “good” news it is. In a very long term, on the basis that the burning of “fossil” energy is a depletion of future resources, and not sustainable, and over a medium term, even though the gas is cleaner than coal it still causes carbon emissions.

    Both things being bad news for our descendants.

  29. I don’t consider this “good news” at all.

    Google Translation of Die Welt Article

    and another

    here and here are better translations, but I provide the above as well, because the translation is on a source people here might not like.

    Last year, Germany shut down a number of Nuclear plants after the Japan Tsunami impact on the Fukushima plant. They also have the Renewable Energy Sources Act, which has forced a number of coal and gas fired plants to be shut-down as renewables are mandated.

    Now, you may think this is a good thing, but the fact is that the strain on the power network is to the point where there are many more outages and people are dying.

    Why is this relevant to the ban on fracking? Because fracking provides access to cheap clean gas. This ban will actually lead to more coal being burned than would otherwise happen, as fracking would have allowed the coal to have been displaced by cleaner gas.

  30. One concern that I’ve expressed elsewhere is that this decision by Germany can only increase their dependence on imported Natural Gas, especially from Russia, which has already shown a willingness to use gas supplies as a political tool.

    Given this dependence, and Russia’s dubious history of being swayed by public opinion, is this just shifting the problem to a much less controlled environment?

Comments are closed.