It comes as little surprise that the author of a book entitled Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is a critic of the natural gas industry and a proponent of peak oil theory. With the recent plunge in oil prices, it feels like the right time to check back in with Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute and get his perspective on how plunging oil prices will affect the energy and transportation industries. Continue reading
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.
*Here’s a link to Sea Change Radio’s 2012 interview with Josh Fox
Imagine how you’d feel if instead of paying you the usual $5,000 a month, your employer suddenly whittled your paycheck down to $500 a month – in order to pay for your boss’s new private jet. Well, that’s pretty much how thousands of landowners who leased their land to natural gas giant, Chesapeake Energy feel right about now.
When we think of the downside of the natural gas boom in this country, we usually think of the potential of environmental harm. But as residents in places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are discovering, financial hazards lay in the weeds as well. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, award-winning journalist, Abrahm Lustgarten, of Pro Publica, discusses his recent investigation that has exposed alleged mass-scale financial wrongdoing by Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies. Lustgarten will explain how sometimes when you make a deal with the devil, you get burned.
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.
Did you see how they covered President Obama’s recent big environmental speech on the Sunday political talk shows? No? That’s because none of the Sunday morning shows discussed it at all. In spite of its paltry coverage on the major networks, the speech is being heralded by some environmentalists as historical, while others are critiquing the president for not going far enough. This week on Sea Change Radio, we do our part to make up for the networks’ deficient analysis of this important speech by talking with Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute. The Breakthrough Institute is an American think tank interested in “modernizing environmentalism for the 21st century.” While their positions on nuclear power and natural gas have raised controversy in environmental circles, they are a leading voice on progressive energy policy and how the government can advance innovation that promotes a healthy planet.
*Here’s a link to the President’s speech
One of the most alluring answers to the climate change conundrum is a transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy. As hydrogen power technology continues to evolve, it certainly seems like a promising way to decarbonize our energy system – but what are the practical considerations? Unlike carbon-based energy sources, there are no natural reservoirs of hydrogen on the planet; moreover, it must be bound to a carrier like natural gas or water. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio is hydrogen vehicle fuel technology expert, Robert Boyd. Boyd and host Alex Wise discuss this relatively clean and plentiful resource, and what he and others are doing to help get us over the production and distribution hurdles that stand between us and a shift to a hydrogen-based economy.
[amazon-product align=”right”]B0042EJD8A[/amazon-product]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.
To join the outcry and send a message to New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, go to New Yorkers Against Fracking
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we heard from renowned energy expert Vaclav Smil, as he spoke about his book, Energy Transitions, the future of electric vehicles and why he has largely avoided the media spotlight up to now. This week, the second part of host Alex Wise‘s discussion with Professor Smil, as they discuss the ins and outs of fossil fuel – from peak oil to the Alberta tar sands and natural gas fracking – as well as some possible ways to help solve America’s energy puzzle.