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In 2011, Fracking Was #2 In Causing Greenhouse Gas In US 210

Posted by timothy
from the with-a-little-ambition-it-can-rise-to-the-top dept.
eldavojohn writes "According to Bloomberg, drilling and fracking results in greenhouse gases second only to coal power plants in the United States. From the article, 'Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.' According to Mother Jones, we now have more giant methane fireballs than any other country in the world and we can now see once dim North Dakota at night from space."
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In 2011, Fracking Was #2 In Causing Greenhouse Gas In US

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  • fræk (Score:3, Funny)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:27AM (#42842719)
    fracking / fræk*ing /
    1. The number two contributor to global warming in the U.S.
    2. The leading cause of throw-downs on Battlestar Galactica.
    • Number 6: Gaius, you treat me like an object.
      Gaius Baltar: A toaster's place is in the kitchen.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      fracking / fræk*ing
      1. The number two contributor to global warming in the U.S.
      2. The leading cause of throw-downs on Battlestar Galactica.

      It was a video game long before either of those two.

  • by cirby (2599) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:36AM (#42842733)

    "from stationary sources"

    Kinda forgot automobiles and other vehicles.

    Not to mention that once you exclude cars and power plants, third place is pretty far down the list.

      • They are a flatulent bunch, as I am when dining exclusively on a diet of greens.... As a cautionary tale though, I checked with the EPA website, and their figures indicate that electricity(40%) and transportation(31%) are the largest contributors to U.S. CO2 emissions from 1990-2010. It may indeed be determined one day that the sacrifice in land and water resources is too great to sustain the First World luxury that is the ribeye steak (sorry about that, grandchildren), but I would grudgingly eat lab-grown
        • Re:Mooo! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:35AM (#42843279)

          As a cautionary tale though, I checked with the EPA website, and their figures indicate that electricity(40%) and transportation(31%) are the largest contributors to U.S. CO2 emissions from 1990-2010. It may indeed be determined one day that the sacrifice in land and water resources is too great to sustain the First World luxury that is the ribeye steak (sorry about that, grandchildren), but I would grudgingly eat lab-grown protein way, way, way before I would be willing to live without power and a horseless carriage.

          CO2 is non synonymous with greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases include CO2. Methane is 21x more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas according to this EPA methane page [epa.gov]. Therefore it's possible (at least theoretically) that the effects of leaks of natural gas can exceed the effects of burning that gas.

          • Temporarily, methane is a more potent threat. There is also a school of thought that implies burning natural gas instead of coal for electrical production saves on CO2 emissions, but detractors contend the greenhouse gases emitted during it's recovery aren't factored in. There is no perfect, sustainable, nonpolluting source of energy available to us yet.
            • There will never be a perfect, sustainable, nonpolluting source of energy, because perfect is 100% subjective.* What we do have are some sources of energy that are pretty good, pretty sustainable, and minimally polluting, and we would be in a lot better place if we adopted those rather than staying the course and using the awful stuff until unicorn poop becomes available on the market.**

              * Except unicorn poop
              ** Unicorn poop has the same energy density as gasoline, and, when burnt, it smells of fresh roses a

            • by mspohr (589790)

              Not sure about your definition of "perfect"... (probably something that will never be possible to attain anywhere, anytime).
              I'm also not sure if you're trolling (in which case, "I has been trolled"), but, we do have good sustainable options... wind, solar and geothermal are all sustainable and emit no greenhouse gasses during operation and only small amounts depending on how they are manufactured.

    • Still, considering that's just the *extraction process* for natural gas, and it's second to coal power, before that NG is even burned...that's REALLY fucking bad.

      • by Chas (5144)

        Don't you mean that's really "fracking" bad?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hallkbrdz (896248)
      Hydraulic fracturing does not release CO2, burning fuels does. It just helps get about 30% of what is trapped in rock, out of the ground for our use. However they are accurate when they state that “This report confirms that major carbon reductions from power plants wouldn’t be possible without a reliable and affordable supply of domestically produced natural gas," Yes, carbon-based energy sources do release some CO2, although Natural Gas by quite less a margin than Coal or Oil. Now if you want
      • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:37AM (#42843295)

        Hydraulic fracturing does not release CO2, burning fuels does. It just helps get about 30% of what is trapped in rock, out of the ground for our use. H

        Fracking releases methane. That's the greenhouse gas they're talking about.

        • by radtea (464814)

          Fracking releases methane. That's the greenhouse gas they're talking about.

          Given the whole purpose of fracking is to release natural gas (which is primarily methane), this amazing revelation amounts to, "Fracking works!" Thanks for telling us that, /.

          The headline is incredibly disingenuous even for this debased forum. The report actually say (and the summary accurate points this out!) that "fracking combined with a bunch of things that are not fracking release methane." So I wonder what the contribution from fracking is? The only thing I can be certain of is that it is NOT the

          • by guises (2423402) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @08:04PM (#42846779)
            The purpose of fracking is to collect natural gas, not to release it. The problem isn't necessarily fracking itself, just the sloppy unregulated fracking that we have now.
          • by FooRat (182725)

            Given the whole purpose of fracking is to release natural gas (which is primarily methane), this amazing revelation amounts to, "Fracking works!" Thanks for telling us that, /.

            Lol .. in other news radtea poured gasoline onto the ground and then tried to start his car, puzzled that it wouldn't start.

      • by IdolizingStewie (878683) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:41PM (#42843759)

        Hydraulic fracturing does not release CO2, burning fuels does.

        OK, I work in the industry. I am pro-hydraulic fracturing. But, how exactly do you think hydraulic fracturing works? It's a very energy-intensive process. On a fairly low end frac in a gas shale, you're trying to force 2500 gpm down a 2 mile long 4.5" ID pipe against 8000 psi of pressure. You burn a lot of diesel doing that. A ballpark number for a well in my field (which is much more difficult - higher rate, longer pipe, smaller ID, and higher pressure) is 80 kgal of diesel. Luckily, it only happens once for most wells, so if you average it out over the 20 year life of the well it's not bad, but it's actually all happening in about a week.

        Don't ruin a good comment with glaringly obvious incorrect facts.

  • Incorrect Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:38AM (#42842735)
    Everyone in the comboxes of the second article points out this error. From TFA:

    Natural gas and oil production is the second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases, the government said, emboldening environmentalists who say tighter measures are needed to curb the emissions from hydraulic fracturing.

    [Emphasis mine]

    • by Entrope (68843)

      You don't even have to get that far, you just have to minimally comprehend the bit that the blurb quotes from the article: "Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants".

      • Oh Yeah!? Well, "Emissions from drilling, including fracking" Your Mom!

      • You don't even have to get that far, you just have to minimally comprehend the bit that the blurb quotes from the article [...]

        Very true. I should remark, however, that this is the first time I've ever seen someone on /. say that RTFA was excessive and instead I should RTF Blurb.

      • It does state:

        Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.

        The article then goes on to talk about how horrible fracking is on the enviornment. But that is not what the report said, it says emissions from all drilling.

        But, anyways, shouldn't this be a DUH statement? I mean, the whole point of fracking IS to release natual gases, which IS methane, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and other gases. Oh no, while drilling for gas, we release.... GAS!!!! OMG!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas [wikipedia.org]

        Okay, I am exagerating the OMG. I mean, there are greenhouse emis

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:44AM (#42842759)

    Comments posted in 2nd article:

    "The reference article is based on the oil and gas industry as a whole being the number 2 CO2 contributer. The study didn't look into the contributions of fracking operations seperately. The title of this article is misleading."

    "The post misrepresents the report. The 225 million metric tons of CO2e is for all oil and natural gas production, processing, storage, and transport (it does not include refineries). It is not just fracking. Furthermore, that's only 6.8% of emissions. Power plants top the list at 67.4%. The next two after oil and gas, refineries and chemicals, tie at 5.5%. So even if the 224 Mt were all from fracking then it would still not be a significant contributor relative to other sources."

    • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:06AM (#42842853)

      They used a link from Mother Jones in TFS. I expected no less.

      • by 605dave (722736)
        No, the link was to Motherboard. So perhaps you should have higher expectations.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JackieBrown (987087)

      Where are all the comments that Bloomberg and Mother Jones have no credibility anymore?

      In any case, our schools are doing a great job making sure the next generation will have already decided that fracking is bad. It's a lot easier to debate and convice 4th graders.
      http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130113/NEWS/301130319 [recordonline.com]

      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        There's no need for comments, because Bloomberg and MotherJones had no credibility in the first place.

        I've said it before, I'll say it again, and I hope you all can join me.

        Fuck Michael Bloomberg.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 605dave (722736)
          A couple of points. First off the link is to the Motherboard site, not Mother Jones. And there are no links in that article to Mother Jones.

          Secondly, I am not sure why you think Mother Jones has no credibility. As a board member of that organization I am proud of our journalism, and the many awards we have received over the years.

          http://www.motherjones.com/about/press/awards-accolades [motherjones.com]
          • by Kreigaffe (765218)

            Actually didn't notice that, but it's irrelevant to my comment. Mojo's pretty firmly on the left -- doesn't mean garbage articles, but there's a left-leaning bend to them.
            That's fine, but it means that anything dealing with political hot-buttons is probably worth NOT taking at face value. Not discounted as falsehoods, but not... er, trusted, I suppose.

            I do, in hindsight, feel a bit of remorse. Not a fan of mother jones, but to compare anything to Michael Bloomberg is a crime. The man simply should be i

            • by 605dave (722736)

              Thanks for the clarification, and for the record I am no fan of Bloomberg either. And I won't argue that MJ has a left bent, but I do find it interesting that that fact makes you less trusting of our reporting. We pride ourselves on getting our facts straight, even if the conclusions drawn illustrate a left leaning perspective. But we seem to live in an age where we seek out news that will reinforce our beliefs. Sometimes I am as guilty as those on the right who only get their information from right lea

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lawrence_Bird (67278)

      Don't let reality get in the way of the eco-commies. Can and should better efforts be made at the well head and over pipelines to capture leaks? Sure. But in the end, its not a significant contributor. From 2006:

      400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

    • The reference article is based on the oil and gas industry as a whole being the number 2 CO2 contributer. The study didn't look into the contributions of fracking operations seperately. The title of this article is misleading.

      It's a census of industrial sites. If you want to, you could figure out which sites were engaged in hydraulic fracturing, and come up with a pretty good idea of fracking's contributions.

      That's why it doesn't include cars-- too expensive to survey hundreds of millions of "mobile" emissi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not use that energy to do something useful with it ? Apparently energy is still too cheap if we can afford that.

    • It's too expensive to build lines to port off the gas. It's even more expensive to ship it off in bobcat trucks. The US still has ceilings on how much gas can be flared so the companies resort to that. It used to be much much worse btw, even in municipal areas with drilling like Los Angeles you would have areas that never experienced darkness owing to all the flaring going on. NG was just too low value a product.

      • I've always thought it strange they don't use a gas turbine or something similar to generate electricity, either to help power the drill site or to feed back into the power grid.
        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:08PM (#42843523) Homepage

          Cost money. A fair amount of money.

          In North Dakota, they are starting to do exactly that - build out a compressor / filter plant and hook it next to a turbine to run the rigs. Economically viable only in areas that are 1) starved for power and 2) have enough infrastructure density to make spending a half a million on the plant sensible.

          Remember, places that don't have pipelines are often the same places that don't have high voltage feeder lines. The Middle of Nowhere.

  • And the #1 (Score:5, Informative)

    by rossdee (243626) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @09:49AM (#42842779)

    And the #1 reduction in US emitted greenhouse gasses is due to coal power plants being replaced by less Co2 emitting natural gas electricity generation.

  • Mother Jones?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Walzmyn (913748) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:07AM (#42842865)

    After all the whining and complaining that goes on this site when Foxnews is cited, we're posting articles from Mother Freaking Jones?

  • More politics on /. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmichaelg (148257) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:13AM (#42842889) Journal

    From the article:
    > “We know how to fix many of these problems; we just need to make the decision to do it.”

    From this article, U.S. CO2 emissions are at a 20 year low [huffingtonpost.com]

    Combine the two ideas and you have to wonder if there are people with an agenda to kill fracking no matter what the facts are as opposed to ensuring fracking is done sensibly.

  • Not just fracking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jamesl (106902) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:32AM (#42842959)

    From TFA ...
    In its second-annual accounting of emissions that cause global warming from stationary sources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time included oil and natural- gas production. Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.

    1. From stationary sources -- how about planes, trains and automobiles.
    2. Fracking is just part of what is included in "oil and gas production."
    3. "The EPA report showed the benefits of fracking, as it attributed the reduction to cuts in coal use and increased use of gas as fuel by electricity generators."

  • Good grief. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rayvd (155635) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:37AM (#42842989) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot has become entirely too political. This isn't even close to being accurate and with all the shots the site takes at Fox News and such you'd think there'd be some pot calling ketlte black type self-awareness when throwing this sort of thing out there...

    I'll miss the true technical stuff, but time to yank the site out of the ol RSS reader and find something better.

    • by emarkp (67813)

      Agreed. I've been debating the same thing for a while. I get better and more timely tech news 90% of the time from other sources. For all the progressive news I could just hang out at MSNBC.

      It's been fun /. !

  • The article states we have more than any other country except Russia, Iraq and Iran.

  • by redelm (54142) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:34PM (#42843707) Homepage

    ... figures don't lie, but liars figure.

    In this case, it looks like they've added all the natgas pipeline losses & emissions -- both the fugitives (methane at high CO2 equivalence multiplier) and the turbocompressor stations. Nevermind that most are on conventional gas.

    Frac'ing * drilling most certainly have some emissions (mud outgassing) but these are too small to make a nice headline.

  • Methane doesn't matter much as a greenhouse gas because its atmospheric half life is so short; it turns into CO2, which has a much smaller greenhouse effect relative to methane. Scary numbers based on methane emissions are just FUD.

    (IPCC tries to get at this via the "GWP" measure, but that measure still overestimates the effect and danger from methane.)

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      True, if you could stop all sources of methane to the atmosphere it would pretty much be all gone in 20 or 30 years. By the same token if the rate of release increases, say by the anaerobic decomposition of the organic matter in melting (ex)permafrost or from leaks in natural gas drilling and transport operations , the atmospheric level will increase to a new equilibrium level which does have an effect on warming.

      • by terec (2797475)

        Your reasoning is faulty. The short half-life means that, whatever you do, if you stop doing it, you're soon no worse off than you were before.

        Furthermore, you don't reach a "new equilibrium"; methane releases from any stored source can only happen once.

  • "Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011 ..."

    So, no it's not. Emissions from a number of sources, added up, are this "#2 cause," and fracking is including in that list of emissions, but with no indication whether it makes up 99.999% of these 225M tons... or 0.00001%. But hey, fracking is the latest energy technology that the global warming ideologues and other assorted neo-luddites hate, so why n

  • What are we going to quote next? The Daily Mail?

    USE PRIMARY SOURCES PLEASE.

  • An aspect of this whole thing many people are not factoring - we save a tremendous amount of energy (and emissions) simply by using more local sources of oil & gas. Not having to ship them from other countries helps in all sorts of ways.

    In fact even if emissions were worse by extracting oil & gas in the U.S than obtaining the same things overseas, we'd still be better off doing so locally because of the economic gains.

  • If you use a condom it traps the excrement so it doesn't get released into the atmosphere.

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