If you’re someone who’s curious about the geopolitical implications of carbon fuel and the ecological havoc it wreaks, you’ve probably come across some of Richard Heinberg‘s work. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with this senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute who has authored over 13 books and regularly ponders the past and future of humanity and the earth in his Museletter. We discuss the global debt crunch, the search for tight oil, and the concomitant acceleration of climate change. Heinberg also tells us his thoughts on negative emissions technologies and regenerative agriculture, and explains why he refers to the past ten years as “our bonus decade.”
It has been a bit difficult to keep up with the news since January. Every few hours it seems like there is a new revelation in the global political wreckage that is the Trump administration. Whether you’re more interested in how ties to Putin will lead to impeachment, how Donald Trump is systematically alienating the US’s closest allies, or the possibility of the US pulling out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, it’s hard to deny that the international political scene is roiling. And with every international political churn, there are environmental causes and implications. This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with energy consultant, Alex Gilbert, who provides a clear recap of the past 10 years in US international relations. He connects the dots and shows how political alliances among nations, policies like fracking, and environmental conditions like drought have helped to create turmoil in countries like Syria, Turkey, Russia, and even the good old US of A.
Apparently things are moving and shaking in Oklahoma, literally. In the past 8 years earthquakes in the “Sooner State” have increased from 2 a year to 2 a day. Is the expansion of gas and oil exploration during that same period of time a mere coincidence? This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Ole Kaven, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey. Kaven’s area of expertise is human-induced seismicity, in other words, how human activity contributes to earthquakes. He talks about the work he has been doing studying the effects of carbon sequestration on seismic events, the sharp increase in Oklahoma’s seismicity, and what the government and the public should know about how oil and gas industry practices could be making the earth move under our feet.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we learned about the new shale gas boom in China. This week, in the second part of my discussion with Jaeah Lee and James West of Mother Jones, we examine the larger questions that surround this shift in Chinese energy policy. Can natural gas be a bridge fuel as the industrial giant weans itself off coal? Will there be enough water to extract China’s significant shale deposits? Will shale gas exploration further divide urban and rural China, or could it help to close the country’s income gap?
West and Lee provide some answers to these complex questions, and also discuss the implications of Chinese investments into the U.S. natural gas sector. Will this big business alliance be good for consumers on either side of the Pacific? Find out on this week’s Sea Change Radio.
There is a relatively unanimous recognition that we inhabitants of earth really need to break our addiction to coal. It’s filthy and there are so many cleaner energy sources. This mantra is now being repeated all over coal-dependent China, where shale gas resources appear to be abundant. It turns out, however, that the transition away from coal may not be so simple – or even a step in the right direction. Mother Jones journalists Jaeah Lee and James West spent a year investigating the ins and outs of the growing fracking industry in China.
Host Alex Wise caught up with them before a recent panel discussion in San Francisco to talk about how U.S. oil and gas interests are exporting fracking around the globe and how the technology may pose risks in China that even exceed those associated with coal. Listen now to the first half of this two part series on today’s Sea Change Radio.
Even the most casual followers of energy policy have become aware of the controversy surrounding the massive expansion of fracking in this country over the past decade. Successful attempts to lift the curtain on fracking, like Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary film Gasland, have spurred a grassroots movement to push back on natural gas giants and lobbyists who would have us believe that fracking is clean and safe. So who is winning this battle for America’s health and well-being, fought on the parallel fronts of policy and PR?
This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Neela Banerjee, a journalist who covers energy and environmental policy for the Los Angeles Times, to get an update on the latest developments in natural gas exploration. She talks about the fight to keep drinking water safe around the 77,000 natural gas wells throughout the country, and the controversy surrounding the use of unpermitted diesel fuel in the fracking process.
We’ve spoken to Richard Heinberg in the past about several problems inherent to our carbon-based economy, from peak oil, to coal to what he has dubbed “the end of growth.”
Now the author and senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute has a new book focusing on the natural gas industry’s practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Heinberg about his book, titled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, and delve into the economic and environmental factors behind the natural gas boom, which to some is an important bridge fuel and to others is fool’s gold.
Remember when the tobacco industry hired a PR firm to convince us all that smoking wasn’t addictive and didn’t cause cancer? Now we know better but the next big lie is coming from the natural gas industry who hired that same PR firm to convince us that fracking isn’t bad for us or the earth. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Josh Fox, director of the 2010 Oscar-nominated film, Gasland, which showed audiences all over the world the devastating impact of hydraulic fracturing, from cancer to flammable tap water. His latest project, The Sky Is Pink, is a documentary short that uncovers the obfuscation campaign the natural gas industry has launched in response to Gasland and growing activism against this controversial drilling practice. On the eve of New York’s decision to frack or not to frack, Fox’s insights and this film couldn’t be more timely.