We can not address climate change without putting an immediate end to fracking.
That declaration is the overarching message of a report published Tuesday, just days ahead of the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit in New York City. Put forth by the environmental watchdog Food & Water Watch, The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking tackles head-on the host of dangerous environmental effects caused by shale gas extraction—which politicians, industry stakeholders and even some environmental groups have billed as a “bridge fuel” to a renewable energy future.
Reviewing the most comprehensive scientific research related to fracking, the report details the harmful impacts the practice has on climate, water, air and communities. Fracking—which extracts oil and natural gas by injecting large volumes of water, sand and toxic chemicals deep underground—has been linked to earthquakes, groundwater contamination, birth defects and health issues.
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Further, research has found that shale drilling has the potential to unleash massive amounts of methane gas, which is said to be even more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, thus exacerbating and accelerating the climate crisis.
“Gas wells are like chimneys in the earth, and what they leak goes straight into our atmosphere,” said Dr. Sandra Steingraber, professor at Ithaca College and science advisor to Americans Against Fracking, a coalition of environmental groups which includes Food & Water Watch, 350.org and the Center for Biological Diversity, among others. Coinciding with the release of the report as well as the climate march, the group has launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #DontFrackOurClimate to pressure lawmakers into enacting a national fracking ban.
“Climate change is the challenge of our lifetimes, and millions of lives and future generations depend on us meeting that challenge,” said actor Mark Ruffalo, who sits on the Americans Against Fracking advisory board, on a press call announcing the anti-fracking campaign. “It’s past time for President Obama to abandon his disastrous ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan and instead provide real leadership by boldly investing in renewable energy and making the United States the renewable energy capital of the world.”
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