The Green Religion and Fracking

Environmentalism has become a religion for most adherents, where reason takes a back seat to faith. This can be seen quite clearly in the environmentalist response to fracking, which actually benefits the very goals the greenies proclaim. The green case for fracking is laid out by Walter Russell Meade:

Ask a green what he or she thinks about fracking, and you're likely to get an earful of criticism about methane leaks, poisoned groundwater, and climate change disaster. But a new report from the ecologically minded Breakthrough Institute (BI) makes the case that shale gas actually has a net environmental benefit. Nevermind the boosts to our energy security, and economy that fracking provides; the controversial drilling process is worth embracing on green merits alone.

The benefits are based on a comparison of natural gas and coal, the fracking-produced former displacing king coal in the generation of electric power. In the real world, that is the tradeoff being made. Windmills and solar could never do this job because they do not provide secure supplies, what electric utilities call base load. The wind and solar power fetishized by greens can only be frosting, never the cake in meeting our need for electric power. They come and they go, as the wind blows, the earth turns, and the skies cloud up.

Natural gas generated power is way, way, way cleaner than coal power. WRM again:

[BI report] Whereas coal mining removes entire mountains and contaminates streams with hazardous waste, natural gas drill pads occupy only a few hundred square feet, and there are only a handful of cases of groundwater contamination by fracking chemicals. Whereas innovation in coal mining resulted in greater landscape degradation, innovation in gas fracking has resulted in less-toxic fracking chemicals, fewer drill pads, and better drilling practices. (snip)

Despite all of this, the green camp is firmly entrenched in its opposition to shale gas. No matter that shale gas displaces dirty-burning coal; it's still a fossil fuel, and its emissions aren't zero. But the world isn't black and white, and the fact that greens can't see in shades of gray means that they will continue to be forced to sit out serious energy policy debates.

A rational analysis shows that fracking is a net plus for the environment, in addition to the other huge benefits it confers on national security and the economy. That many members of the Church of Gaia put their faith in an imaginary world above reason is shows they are a religion. And of course we can't teach religion in our schools, can we.

Image of shale gas drlling via Wikipedia