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Climate Change Debate Heats Up, Threatens Shale Boom

Whether or not you believe that global warming is real, there is no disputing that the rhetoric over the issue is heating up again.

Case in point:  Hollywood has thrown its latest incendiary bomb at the oil and gas industry:  Greedy Lying Bastards. a documentary by an activist filmmaker who claims to have exposed a cabal of fossil industry conspirators including oil and gas interests (usual suspects the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil) who bankroll climate "denial" campaigns and the politicians who purportedly shill for industry in the same way (Bush 43, Sen. James Inhofe [D-OK]).

Related article: The Beijing Syndrome: China Begins to Care for the Environment

The documentary film, which opened a few weeks ago in selected cities, can be considered as the third in a sort of recent trilogy, coming on the heels of the Oscar-nominated Gasland (of the flaming methane kitchen sink spigots) and the Matt Damon drama Promised Land.  The film's producer, activist/faded actress Daryl Hannah, has had a marathon of appearances on national television news programs to promote it. The film is as subtle as its title, but the rollout's timing is serendipitous, coming so soon after President Obama renewed his long-dormant vow to tackle climate change during his State of the Union address.

But the president is also fond of noting the revolutionary surge of American oil and gas production that has occurred during his tenure. However, a new study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service notes how oil and gas production on federal lands declined during Obama's first term while output has skyrocketed on nonfederal lands. And his new pick to head the EPA has a mandate to tackle climate change while also developing tighter strictures on hydraulic fracturing.

Here's the rub:  Perhaps the major reason US greenhouse gas emissions last year were the lowest in nearly 20 years was the substitution of cheap natural gas for coal in power plants. Cheap natural gas made abundant by hydraulic fracturing.

Related article: Fracking Industry Loses $1.5 Billion in Gas Leaks Each Year

And yet the president continues to push for uneconomic alternative energy sources subsidized by taxpayers and seeks to increase the oil and gas industry's taxes.

Is this the crux of Obama's "all of the above" energy plan--take away "all" of the oil and gas industry's incentives to sustain this modern energy revolution that is underpinning a revival of American manufacturing and generating potentially millions of jobs?

By. Chris Faulkner


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Leave a comment
  • klem on April 13 2013 said:
    All I can say is thank God the Dems do not control both houses of Congress. If they did we'd all be forced to have rooftop wind turbines, drive electric cars, eat tofu and fracking would be outlawed. Bar-b-qued tofu burgers are the worst. Gotta win the Senate in the next mid-term election, gotta win it.

    And if Bloomburg becomes a Democrat and wins the Presidency in 2016, this war against oil, gas and coal will get a lot worse.

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