Since yesterday five different people have asked me what I thought about the new report from Robert Howarth at Cornell about the greenhouse gas (GHGs) footprint of fracking. The study states that including the GHGs from the energy cost of fracturing the shale and the natural gas that is leaked upon fracturing, fracked natural gas is no cleaner from a greenhouse gas perspective than coal.
It’s hardly surprising that this has quickly become political and I think most of the folks who asked me my thoughts expected a political response. Well, here’s my thought: I don’t want 535 people in Washington making the decision about how my electricity gets produced. If we can remove the utility’s monoploy on electricity generation and distribution, then we as consumers can drive energy policy rather than a tiny handful of people who’re being aggressively lobbied by interest groups on both sides.
I’m hopeful that if given a choice, enough people would demand renewable power and the electricity industry would find ways to meet that demand. Twenty years ago organic fruits and veggies were expensive and rare. Years of increasing demand for organic produce have driven innovation and infrastructure to the point where I only pay a 10% premium for organic lettuce at my local produce stand. I suspect we could see a simliar dynamic in energy, if we could allow customers to make energy decisions instead of legislators.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.