What is Fracking and why should I care?


2019-05-09, 15:50 Posted by: Andreas Lambrant

Natural-gas-rig

Today we’re going to brush the surface of a method on how to extract fossil fuels. 
Mainly since I came across the method and never heard of it before, this was in an article that lead me to a political debate in England between David Cameron and Caroline Lucas. (2) 
 
The name of that interesting article was; Everything you’ve been told about plastic is wrong – the answer isn’t recycling. (1) In the article there were a part that caught my attention, here it is; 
 
“Even if plastic were easily and infinitely recyclable, it is still manufactured from crude oil often obtained by methods such as fracking, one of the most environmentally damaging processes in existence, which produces carbon emissions and contaminates the surrounding areas, putting people’s health at immediate risk.”

And the word, which I guess you puzzled together since it is in the title, is fracking. Or to use the whole word, Hydraulic fracturing.

So, too the question. What is fracking? 
According to the article in The Independent, that talks about the political debate, fracking can be described as a process that releases oil and gas from shale rock by blasting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into it at high speed and pressure.

My first reaction was, this can’t be very good for the eco system around the actual fracking-site. But the first argument against fracking I noticed was a paper in Science Advances (3) journal named “Hydraulic fracturing and infant health” which states: 
“We find the largest effects for mothers living within 1 km of a site — a 25 per cent increase in the probability of a low – birth weight (<2500 g) and significant declines in average birth weight, as well as in an index of infant health. Low birth weight is a risk factor for numerous negative outcomes, including infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, lower test scores, lower schooling attainment, lower earnings, and higher rates of social welfare program participation.”

It should also be mentioned that there are other factors as well, but is fracking worth the risk?

David Cameron mentions that fracking would lower the prices of gas and electricity, but apparently Britain's most prominent fracking company got caught on tape saying the opposite, that it is “unlikely” and that if it did it would be “a very small percentage”.

So, I guess that the great debate continues. 
Even though natural gases go under renewable energy I start to wonder how far we want to go in the search for a greener alternative. 
Is it worth it to destroy the earth and potentially damage ourselves and the eco system to power our gas driven cars? 
I’m not so sure..

(1), https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/plastic-waste-wish-recycling-bins-black-environment-green-shopping-a8548736.html 
(2), https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/fracking-the-great-debate-8782853.html 
(3), http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/12/e1603021 


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Andreas Lambrant

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About this blog

Everyone, listen up! I'm about to confess something. But first, let me say hi!

My name is Andreas Lambrant and I'm just your everyday front end developer.

But on top of that I find the topic of sustainability very interesting and if we add some technology to that it quickly gets fascinating! Other than trying to live in a more sustainable way I recently got the chance to be a bit more involved in Cybercom's sustainability work at our Karlskrona office. Which, believe it or not, also happens to be where I both work and live.

One of my tasks will be to share this blog experience with you, which leads to my confession. I've never done a blog before, but that won't stop me.

I'm looking forward to deep dive in to the vast ocean that is the topic of sustainability with you. I'll share interesting articles, clips, current research and a lot of other stuff that seems appropriate.

Maybe some of my own thoughts as well, who knows.

See you on the other side!