Tag Archives: divestment

Why Bill McKibben’s “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” World War II Analogy is Ridiculous

As the Divestment campaign continues and even infiltrates the churches, here are four reasons why it is wrong  and McKibbin especially so.

I expect most at Greenbelt will agree with McKibbin but ought to live out the implications. The first of these is that Mckibbin would not fly from Seattle to the UK so as to keep-it-in-the-ground

http://energyindepth.org/national/four-reasons-beyond-the-obvious-why-bill-mckibbens-keep-it-in-the-ground-world-war-ii-analogy-is-ridiculous/

 

Four Reasons – Beyond the Obvious – Why Bill McKibben’s “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” World War II Analogy is Ridiculous

Climate activist Bill McKibben has officially jumped the shark, penning a cover article for New Republic this week that claims ending all fossil fuels is the equivalent of what the Greatest Generation did when they stormed the beaches of Normandy:

“We’re under attack from climate change and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.”

“It’s not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. And we are losing.”

The “mobilization plan” the leader of the “Keep it in the Ground” (KIITG) movement speaks of is an immediate conversion to 100 percent renewable energy — which is essentially a declaration of war on reality, as a pair of prominent Democrats have recently pointed out.

Obama Science Advisor John Holdren has said, “The notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic,” while Clinton campaign chair John Podesta has called the KIITG agenda McKibben is pushing “completely impractical.”

And as EID has noted numerous times, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — which activists including McKibben have long called the “gold standard” for understanding climate change — has stated fracking brings down greenhouse gases.

So beyond the fact that McKibben continues to deny the science and push absurdities (yes, he likens fossil fuels to Hitler) here’s a closer look at the four reasons why McKibben’s plan is as impractical as it is ridiculous.

Reason #1: McKibben wants to end the one fuel responsible for significant decreases in GHG emissions

McKibben and the KIITG movement continue to ignore the fact that the U.S. energy-related CO2 emission are at their lowest levels in nearly a quarter century. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has projected that domestic CO2 emissions will drop to their lowest levelssince 1992 this year. Any objective observer would have to agree the fact that natural gas is now the U.S.’s top source of electricity generation has everything to do with that trend.

In fact — thanks to fracking — electrical generation is no longer the top industrial source of CO2 emissions, as conversion to natural gas for electrical generation has accounted for 68 percent of the 14 percent total reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions during last decade. This has all happened at the same time the economy has grown 15 percent, reversing a trend in which economic growth has been coupled with emission increases.

McKibben certainly would have applauded these trends back in 2009, when he was standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol demanding power plants switch to clean-burning natural gas. McKibben was so cognizant of natural gas’ climate benefits that he was even willing to get himself arrested in efforts to get power plants switched to natural gas, as he said in the build up to the protest:

“There are moments in a nation’s — and a planet’s — history when it may be necessary for some to break the law … We will cross the legal boundary of the power plant, and we expect to be arrested.”

McKibben even said a conversion to natural gas would be good for the economy, which, of course, has proven to be a spot-on assessment.

Flash forward seven years, and McKibben’s tone is much the same, but with a few notable caveats: Natural gas is now the enemy even though it reducing GHG emissions — which is ironically the No. 1 goal of the KIITG movement. Furthermore, there are huge doubts about the economic and logistic feasibility of the alternative McKibben is pushing, which brings us to the next two reasons his New Republic article is ridiculous.

Reason #2: Study McKibben cites as evidence of renewable energy’s economic viability shows 100 percent conversion would yield millions of job losses

Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson’s research has long been used by greens to try to sell their 100 percent renewable ideology as being economically feasible, and McKibben’s New Republic piece is just the latest example, as he claims:

“For starters, it’s important to remember that a truly global mobilization to defeat climate change wouldn’t wreck our economy or throw coal miners out of work. … It would produce an awful lot of jobs. (An estimated net gain of roughly two million in the United States alone.)

But a recent EID review of Jacobson’s plan found his own data showed a 100 percent renewable conversion would actually destroy nearly four million long-term jobs nationwide with a net loss of 1.2 million jobs.

Those figures were buried on an Excel sheet from Jacobson’s website under a tab titled “Total Job Loss.” Jacobson’s own data showed that a complete conversion to renewables would yield the elimination of 2.4 million transportation jobs, 800,000 oil and gas production jobs and 90,000 coal mining related jobs — a grand total of 3.8 million jobs lost, compared to the 2.6 million long-term jobs Jacobson claims his plan would create.

Not surprisingly, after EID brought this information to light, Jacobson claimed these numbers were not “real” and “test” numbers. He subsequently deleted the “Total Job Loss” tab on excel sheet from his website.

Jacobson also originally touted that his plan would result in a net gain of four million jobs. However, we would be remiss not to note the latter was based on his projection of 5.3 million construction jobs being created — the kind of “temporary” jobs greens have long criticized as not being “real” jobs. Interestingly, McKibben has now halved Jacobson’s original claim to two million net jobs created, which may or may not have something to do with EID highlighting the original inclusion of these “temporary” jobs. But bottom line: both of his figures are wrong.

Reason #3: Experts agrees a conversion to 100 percent renewables is impractical

Even before EID shed some much-needed light on what Jacobson’s data really forecasted on the jobs lost/jobs created front, his rosy plan for a 100 percent renewable energy conversion was highly criticized for being completely impractical from a basic functionality standpoint.

Roger Pielke, a professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has called Jacobson’s 100 percent renewables plan for New York a “fantasy” and “magic thinking.”

Dr. James Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the world’s most famous climate scientists, says that believing in the feasibility of a rapid transition to renewables is more of a mythical belief than a reality-based argument, stating:

“Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.” (emphasis added)

Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute — whom TIME Magazine has declared a “hero of the environmentsimilarly critiqued Jacobson’s plan for 100 percent renewables, specifically Jacobson’s decision to rule out nuclear power, which produces no carbon dioxide emissions. Shellenberger also notes “solar and wind are totally different than [fossil fuels] and inferior in that they’re intermittent.”

Even a Daily Kos blogger, who allowed Jacobson a forum to respond to EID’s findings, criticized his 100 percent renewables plan as impractical. In a comment posted to the article including Dr. Jacobson’s interview, the environmental blogger said that “no electric utility is ever going to adopt Jacobson’s plan” because, among other things, the “wind power component of Jacobson’s plan cannot be relied upon for reliable electric power generation and supply.”

The latter facts were recently highlighted in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which brings us to our next example of why McKibben’s piece essentially declared war on reality.

Reason #4: Renewables need natural gas like a fish needs water

McKibben notes in the New Republic piece that retired engineer Tom Solomon has calculated that the 100 percent conversion to renewables mapped out in Jacobson’s plan would require “about 6,448 gigawatts of clean energy to replace fossil fuels — or the equivalent of 295 solar factories the size of Elon Musk’s SolarCity Gigafactory under construction in Buffalo, N.Y.”

Considering this would equate to the construction of six such factories per state over that timespan, even Solomon admits this is a very tall task. And, ironically, it would require a whole lot of natural gas to execute.

What McKibben, Jacobson and other KIITG supporters always fail to mention is — due to the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine —all the new wind and solar infrastructure would be required to have backup generation options due to their status as intermittent sources of energy. And that backup source will likely be natural gas, due to all the economic and environmental factors we have already discussed.

As the National Bureau of Economic research study notes, eight megawatts of back-up capacity are required for any 10 megawatts of wind capacity added to the grid. Again, this is required.

That study also makes reference to research suggesting that in order for photovoltaic power to be a viable base-load resource, it must have the ability to store solar electricity for 20 hours. Problem is, no such massive storage technology currently exists, which is why rapid-fire fossil fuel backup power (i.e. natural gas) is necessary to “spot” solar power, so to speak.

These realities considered, the study points out that renewable conversion is much more expensive than its proponents are leading on, and that usually means the added cost will be passed along to customers.

“… the estimated indirect costs of renewables are at least an order of magnitude greater than those associated with dispatchable fossil-fuel technologies. For the latter, system costs are relatively modest, generally estimated below USD 3 per MWh (megawatt-hour) in OECD countries. For the formers, such costs are as high as USD 40 per MWh for onshore wind, USD 45 per MWh for offshore wind and USD 80 per MWh for solar. These high estimates are the direct results of the need for additional system reserves and back-up generation to ensure system reliability. Renewable energy system costs will also increase over-proportionally with the amount of variable electricity in the system, with far-fetching [reaching] implications for the energy markets and security of supply. Ignoring them can thus lead to a severe underestimation of the social and private costs of any energy transition.”

It is important to note that this study was not the product of an industry source or so-called “climate deniers.” And independent experts such as Christopher Knittel, who directs the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT, largely agree with the conclusions, as Knittel made the following comment to the Washington Post.

“It’s a reality check now,” said Knittel of the study’s insights on the practicality and financial issues regarding conversion to renewables. “I think it’s potentially bad news as we start to get higher and higher penetration levels of renewables.”

Conclusion

That McKibben choses to compare the incredible sacrifices of the Greatest Generation to the KIITG movement is bad enough.

Making matters worse, McKibben’s piece ignores the fact that a fuel he advocates eliminating is achieving his movement’s stated goal — reduced GHG emissions — while the alternative he’s proposing has been unequivocally deemed economically and functionally impractical.

Throw in the strange irony that McKibben has declared war on a fuel that he was willing to go to jail for just seven years ago, and it’s no wonder mainstream Democrats simply don’t agree with McKibben and the extreme “Keep-it-in-the-Ground” movement he represents. U.S. Interior Secretary and former National Parks Conservation Association board member Sally Jewell pretty much summed it up when she said:

“It’s going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels, so I think that to keep it in the ground is naïve, to say we could shift to 100 percent renewables is naïve.”

Dangers of ideological purity on fossil fuels and climate change

I get fed up with the Green litany that renewables are possible now when they are not. It is fine if you are ideological and are either load loaded like a luvvie or too obsessed to realise, but it is simply not pragmatic and will be a disaster rather than a solution.

Here Nick Grealy in his usual way makes the case against ideological fanatics.

I have , of course, nicked it from

http://naturalgasnow.org/purists-vs-problem-solvers-shale-revolution-changes/ 

(Many of the articles from Natural Gas Now are good)

Purists vs. Problem Solvers, As Shale Revolution Changes All

LNG - Nick Grealy ReportsNick Grealy
Administrator of NaturalGas2.0NoHotAir and ShaleGasInfo Blogs

….
….

While the shale revolution offers to make real environmental differences and solve real problems, ideologically blinded purists demand 100% solutions.

The US shale revolution is now going global via LNG. Countries that formerly would have chosen coal for power generation are now going gas.

“There are markets like Bangladesh and Pakistan where traditionally they would have gone with coal but now gas can be the cheaper option once you include the cost of new infrastructure,” LeLong of Goldman said. “You are seeing these energy poor countries often with poor credit ratings turning to LNG.”

shale revolution

While China and India are the two carbon monsters in Asia, there are many smaller ones also doing the math about coal and gas and finding gas wins on cost, pollution and infrastructure.  Coal was the default option for years. but we’re seeing smaller markets embrace  natural gas as in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka will cancel plans for a 500 megawatt Indian-built coal-fired power plant at its strategic eastern port city of Trincomalee and will instead opt for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant, a cabinet minister said late on Tuesday.

“We do not want to hurt India. So President Sirisena in his visit has offered an LNG plant instead of the coal plant,” Weerakkody told Reuters. “This has been discussed at the highest level and there is consensus.”

The Philippines provides another example:

Royal Dutch Shell plc and France’s Total S.A. made moves earlier this year revealing their interests to progress plans for LNG terminals in the Philippines, where demand for the clean fuel has been crimped by a lack of LNG receiving options.

Vietnam is booming, but they too are looking at gas instead of coal:

Vietnam’s 2016-2025 gas development plan, which was approved by the government earlier this week, gives priority to LNG imports and cutting LPG imports eyeing higher domestic output instead.

In short, the shale revolution is providing clean and affordable energy that will not only slow carbon emissions but put them into reverse.

shale revolution

Yet, in the US,  environmentalists are fighting gas export infrastructure. Sandra Steingraber has been active in fighting fracking in the US and now wants to expand it to gas export infrastructure

Wearing blue and carrying banners from past civil disobedience blockades, the Seneca Lake defenders—many of whom had been previously arrested in actions to stop gas storage in underground lakeside salt caverns—attracted considerable attention from marchers from other grassroots groups who were fighting fossil fuel infrastructure projects that were threatening their own communities. These include pipelines, compressor stations, LNG export facilities, oil trains and new gas power plants.

Yet, US environmentalists cite their fight as a global one too:

“Climate change is already causing conflicts and crises around the world, from Louisiana to Syria. We need to make giant leaps towards a clean energy economy and put an end to the vicious cycle of dirty wars, climate refugees and reliance on dirty energy,” Alesha Vega of the Coalition for Peace Action said.

The US shale revolution is not slowing down the path towards carbon reduction from green power or efficiency at home.  It won’t happen in Europe, where we see coal disappearing off the UK system for days at a time as huge wind projects also come on line.

Simply put there is room for everyone. It’s bizarre that Food and Water Watch, et al seek 100% solutions worldwide by wanting to either ban US fracking or prevent it’s export.  The gas industry constantly points out that renewables have either nothing to fear from gas or should be welcomed by carbon reduction advocates. We’re not proposing 100% solutions. Why are they?

Think of a world without any flowers or fossil fuels



An intriguing blog on the rejection of fossil fuels . Some do not like his stuff, but this thought experiment on stopping using fossil fuels sums up the absurdity and folly of divestment

This is from the conclusion of  what I re-blogged. It should make those asking for divestment reconsider

A thought experiment on what would happen if all fossil fuels disappeared tomorrow.

In this thought experiment we will assume that a mystical power has arrived on Earth and using some unknown technology eliminated all fossil fuels from the planet. What would happen? Since I live in Langley, I’m going to consider this from a Lower Mainland perspective.

If you lived in the Lower Mainland, all transportation systems (except Skytrain and a few hundred electric vehicles) would immediately stop. Stores would cease to get new supplies as all supplies are transported from warehouses by truck. No new supplies could get to the warehouses as all the trains depend on diesel, transport planes on aviation fuel and container ships on bunker oil or diesel. Soon the folks in the urban areas would be fighting over the remaining scraps in the stores and once those supplies were gone there would be nothing to replace them.

Starvation would not be the biggest concern though as in area likes Vancouver, the potable water and electrical supplies are dependent on diesel for pumps and the electrical system is maintained by men and women with trucks. We in BC pride ourselves on getting most of our energy from non-fossil fuel sources but absent those pumps and those trucks within days (perhaps weeks if we didn’t have any storms) our electricity supply would be down as well. With no electricity and no diesel all the pumps would fail and Vancouverites would suddenly discover that living in a rain-forest means nothing if you don’t have access to stored water.

Within a couple weeks, the city-centers would look like a scene from The Walking Dead, with corpses everywhere as the weakest folks lost out in the battles for the gradually diminishing supplies of food and water. Absent the sanitary system, the remaining folk would be fighting dysentery as human waste polluted the limited freshwater aquifers. Anyone with the capacity to do so would be moving away from the city-centers as quickly as possible to forage as far as they could roam by foot and on the remaining bikes (the remaining electric vehicles having used their last charge after the electrical system failed).

In the Lower Mainland the city folk would be streaming out towards the Valley where they would discover that virtually everything edible (from plant to animal) had long since been eaten by the Valley folk. Within a few months over 90% of the population would have succumbed to the lack of clean water and food leaving a small minority fighting it out over the few remaining crops. Come winter, absent fossil fuels, the remaining few would go back to burning wood for heat and in doing so would add to the ecological devastation wrought by the first wave of city folk cleansing the ecosystem of everything edible. Certainly in parts of the developing world and in portions of the prairies, subsistence-level communities might remain intact but they would be re-building on a planet that had been systematically stripped of everything edible by the 7 billion souls who did their best to survive and in doing so wrought an ecological apocalypse.

In television shows like The Walking Dead, the zombie apocalypse addresses our population density before the millions of hungry humans have had a chance to devastate the planet. In a post-fossil fuel world, those 7 billion souls would be fighting tooth and nail for every scrap of food and whatever large or mid-sized animals left behind would take hundreds of years to regenerate their populations and the ecosystem that came back would look a lot different from the ecosystem that existed before humans. Climate Change may represent a real threat to humanity, but absent fossil fuels it is likely that 6 billion or more people would pass away in the first six months in this post–fossil fuel world.

A Chemist in Langley

It has now been over a week since the Husky Oil Spill in the North Saskatchewan River. To date I have resisted writing much on the topic as details on the spill have been scarce and contradictory. As a blogger who prides himself on reporting reliable information, the information about the spill was not good enough to justify a blog post.

Today a trickle of information was released by Husky on the spill. So what do we know now that we didn’t know a week ago? First and foremost we now know that the 250,000 L spill was not diluted bitumen (dilbit), as has been suggested by many, but was rather a conventional oil called HLU Blended LLB Heavy Crude Oil but known better by its common named “Llloyd Blend”. Lloyd Blend is a “heavy sour” meaning it has a relatively low API and high sulphur…

View original post 2,201 more words

Fracking causes Asthma!!! Or does it?

Well, fracking causes terrible problems and the latest scare story is that it causes asthma. This has appeared on the Boots medical website citing an American study.

http://www.webmd.boots.com/asthma/news/20160719/fracking-may-worsen-asthma

 

boots

It even appears on the UK local government site.

http://www.localgov.co.uk/Fracking-industry-linked-to-asthma-attacks/41278

It has gone semi-viral on anti-fracking sites, but it is yet another spurious peer-reviewed paper on the health effects of frackinjg

The article is published in the prestigious JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association. (I first came across this as in the 90s they published a paper arguing Darwin had panic attacks and agoraphobia. Seeing he wandered around Snowdonia when ill in 1842, it seems unlikely he had the latter. JAMA ignored my response, but no one with agoraphobia could visit Cwm Idwal in 1842DSCF7213

Here is the article

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2534153

jama

the abstract sums the content of the paper and how

Residential UNGD( aka Fracking) activity metrics were statistically associated with increased risk of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations. Whether these associations are causal awaits further investigation, including more detailed exposure assessment.

This sounds serious but the actual conclusion says;

Asthma is a common disease with large individual and societal burdens, so the possibility that UNGD may increase risk for asthma exacerbations requires public health attention.

This is hardly a firm conclusion as it is only a possiblitiy.

ABSTRACT

Importance  Asthma is common and can be exacerbated by air pollution and stress. Unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) has community and environmental impacts. In Pennsylvania, UNGD began in 2005, and by 2012, 6253 wells had been drilled. There are no prior studies of UNGD and objective respiratory outcomes.

Objective  To evaluate associations between UNGD and asthma exacerbations.

Design  A nested case-control study comparing patients with asthma with and without exacerbations from 2005 through 2012 treated at the Geisinger Clinic, which provides primary care services to over 400 000 patients in Pennsylvania. Patients with asthma aged 5 to 90 years (n = 35 508) were identified in electronic health records; those with exacerbations were frequency matched on age, sex, and year of event to those without.

Exposures  On the day before each patient’s index date (cases, date of event or medication order; controls, contact date), we estimated activity metrics for 4 UNGD phases (pad preparation, drilling, stimulation [hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”], and production) using distance from the patient’s home to the well, well characteristics, and the dates and durations of phases.

Main Outcomes and Measures  We identified and defined asthma exacerbations as mild (new oral corticosteroid medication order), moderate (emergency department encounter), or severe (hospitalization).

Results  We identified 20 749 mild, 1870 moderate, and 4782 severe asthma exacerbations, and frequency matched these to 18 693, 9350, and 14 104 control index dates, respectively. In 3-level adjusted models, there was an association between the highest group of the activity metric for each UNGD phase compared with the lowest group for 11 of 12 UNGD-outcome pairs: odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.5 (95% CI, 1.2-1.7) for the association of the pad metric with severe exacerbations to 4.4 (95% CI, 3.8-5.2) for the association of the production metric with mild exacerbations. Six of the 12 UNGD-outcome associations had increasing ORs across quartiles. Our findings were robust to increasing levels of covariate control and in sensitivity analyses that included evaluation of some possible sources of unmeasured confounding.

Conclusions and Relevance  Residential UNGD activity metrics were statistically associated with increased risk of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations. Whether these associations are causal awaits further investigation, including more detailed exposure assessment.

Asthma is a common disease with large individual and societal burdens, so the possibility that UNGD may increase risk for asthma exacerbations requires public health attention. As ours is the first study to our knowledge of UNGD and objective respiratory outcomes, and several other health outcomes have not been investigated to date, there is an urgent need for more health studies. These should include more detailed exposure assessment to better characterize pathways and to identify the phases of development that present the most risk.

The article seems quite impressive but the devil is in the details or rather the map they provide to demonstrate their claims. This shows the occurrence of spudded wells and the incidence of asthma. They show the area covered with recorded incidence of asthma and then colour-coded numbers of patients with asthma.

Dark blue means the highest incidence and thus should coincide with greatest number of wells. Oh dear! They do not as the highest number of wells coincides with low incidence of asthma!

Apart from the fact that authors did not consider other causes of asthma – air pollution, smoking, obesity etc , the map simply does not support their claims, which are assertion-based rather than evidence-based.

Seth Whitehead deals with it more fully in his EID article cited below.

 

asthma

More and more dealing with anti-fracking claims is like dealing with creationism. all you need to do is a bit of simple checking with a moderate grasp of the science involved and the arguments crumble to dust (possibly carcinogenic or at least harmful).

Recently a prestigious peer-reviewed paper linking fracking to cancer was retracted  https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/fracking-will-give-you-cancer-not/

not to mention the embarrassing refusal of David Smythe’s geological paper https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/david-smythe-anti-fracking-geologist/

or MEDACT’s study guided by Mike Taylor https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/medacts-madact-on-fracking/ Medact have backed off and mostly emphasise climate change issues.

Yet we are told there are hundreds of peer-reviewed papers against fracking, but these are challenged  and often retracted.

Speaking sarcastically the biggest health risks of fracking are Stress-related illnesses due to scaremongering!

 

 

And also energy in depth give sound arguments why the paper is worthless.

http://energyindepth.org/marcellus/despite-provocative-headlines-new-pa-study-fails-to-link-fracking-to-asthma/

Despite Provocative Headlines, New Pa. Study Fails to Link Fracking to Asthma

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Geisinger Health Systems have teamed up again to release another study of the potential impacts of oil and gas development in the Marcellus, this time focusing on exacerbations of asthma attacks. This new study claims those who live near shale gas wells are “1.5 to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those who live far away.”

Just to provide some quick context, this is the same team of researchers who published a study claiming premature birthrates were higher in counties closest to shale wells, even though theywere right in line with the national premature birth rate. One of the researchers that stands out is Brian Schwartz, a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute which has called fracking a “virus.” Considering that background, it’s not surprising that, despite the fact that study after study, including data from the Environmental Protection Agency, has shown that fracking does not harm air quality, the researchers apparently started the study with the following preconceived (and debunked) assumption.

“UNGD has been associated with air quality and community social impacts. Psychosocial stress, exposure to air pollution, including from truck traffic, sleep disruption, and reduced socioeconomic status are all biologically plausible pathways for UNGD to affect asthma exacerbations.”

As the researchers likely intended, the study produced provocative headlines like “Health study shows connection between asthma attacks and gas drilling” even though it actually doesn’t show that and the authors openly admit that. Here are some important things to keep in mind when reading this study:

Fact #1: Authors admit they have no data to link asthma exacerbations to fracking

By comparing the electronic health records of 35,508 asthma patients “with and without exacerbations” treated at Geisinger Clinic between 2005 and 2012, the authors claim to have identified 20,749 mild asthma exacerbation instances (new oral corticosteroid medication order), 1,870 moderate (emergency department visit) and 4,782 severe (hospitalization) asthma exacerbations that they claim show an “association” to residential proximity to natural gas development.

“Association” is the key word in the latter sentence — the authors concede right off the bat they have no data to show causation attributable to shale development:

“Residential UNGD activity metrics were statistically associated with increased risk of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations. Whether these associations are causal awaits further investigation, including more detailed exposure assessment.” (pg. 1)

Reuters rightly reported that “The study doesn’t prove fracking causes asthma or makes symptoms worse.”

Fact #2: Data show counties with highest number of asthma sufferers have little to no shale development; Includes no data for Washington County, which has the most shale wells

One would think that if you were going to study whether fracking contributed to asthma exacerbations you could want to compare patients with exacerbations in counties with shale development to patients with exacerbations in counties without shale development. But the researchers didn’t do that. Instead, they only looked at whether patients with exacerbations lived near a shale well.

What’s more than a little interesting is the fact the areas researchers studied (outlined in the graphic below in gray) which had the highest concentrations of asthma sufferers have little no shale gas production. Energy In Depth has added the names of three high production counties — Bradford and Tioga, which were included in the study, and Washington County:

The above graphic shows that most of the counties with significant numbers of asthma patients have little to no shale gas production.

Curiously, the county with the most shale gas wells in the state, Washington County, wasn’t even included in the study. A vast majority of Geisinger’s patients reside in the counties highlighted in dark blue, each of which have little to no natural gas development.

So based on the graphic above, it is clear that a vast majority of the 35,000-plus asthma patients included in the evaluation live in areas with little-to-no development. Which begs the question: How relevant could the relatively small number of patients included in the study who reside close to natural gas wells be considering a vast majority of Pennsylvania residents who live in areas with shale development were not included in the study?

All of this brings us back to the question of why the researchers didn’t compare data county-by-county. For instance, although between just 21 and 63 Geisinger asthma patients live in Bradford County — which has the second-most shale wells as any county in the state — data comparing Bradford County asthma exacerbation rates with counties with no shale development might have given a better picture of whether there was an association. But maybe the data didn’t support the researchers’ narrative, and therefore wasn’t included in the study?

What’s more, not only were a vast majority of Pennsylvanians who actually live close to natural gas wells not included in the study, the researchers included 72 patients who reside in New York state, which has, of course, banned fracking.

Fact #3: Researchers admit severe exacerbations occurred in patients who smoked or were overweight – yet they still suggest it’s because of fracking

Not surprisingly, the researchers’ data revealed that smokers and people who were older or obese suffered the most severe asthma exacerbations:

“Compared with patients with mild and moderate exacerbations, patients with severe exacerbations were more likely to be female, older, current smokers, and obese.”

The fact that the researchers failed to prove causation isn’t surprising considering asthma has numerous triggers including airborne allergens, animal dander, mold, smoke, cockroaches and dust mites. According to the Mayo Clinic,

Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat

The researchers also concede that one of the study’s limitations is that it doesn’t consider what the patients’ occupations are, which could be major contributors to exacerbating their asthma.

Interestingly, in a recent radio interview, Dr. Theodore Them, the Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine for Guthrie Health Systems in Bradford County, Pa. noted that studies on shale often leave out the very crucial element of “confounders” as the authors here have done. As Dr. Them put it,

“And there can be confounders such as smoking habits, drinking habits, drug use that never get accounted for in these studies and cause people to come to the wrong conclusions.”  (28:36-30:09)

Fact #4: Multiple Pennsylvania studies have shown the oil and gas industry is not impacting air quality in areas of development.

Schwartz states in the study’s press release, “We are concerned with the growing number of studies that have observed health effects associated with this industry,” but it is more likely that he and his colleagues are actually concerned that there are numerous studies showing the opposite is true. Just to name a few:

  • A recent Pennsylvania report commissioned by Fort Cherry School District in southwest Pennsylvania actually examined air emissions at a nearby well site in Washington County — the state’s most active shale county — and “did not show anything remarkable with respect to chemicals detected in the ambient air. When volatile compounds were detected, they were consistent with background levels measured at the school and in other areas in Washington County. Furthermore, a basic yet conservative screening level evaluation shows that the detected volatile compounds were below health-protective levels.”
  • Another recent Marcellus study led by researchers at Drexel University found low levels of air emissions at well sites. As they explained, “we did not observe elevated levels of any of the light aromatic compounds (benzene, toluene, etc.)” and “there are few emissions of nonalkane VOCs (as measured by PTR-MS) from Marcellus Shale development.” Another Pennsylvania study by Professional Service Industries, Inc., commissioned by Union Township in Pennsylvania that found “Airborne gas and TVOC levels appear to have been at or near background levels for the entire monitoring periods in the three locations monitored.”
  • The Pa. DEP conducted air monitoring northeast Pennsylvania and concluded that the state “did not identify concentrations of any compound that would likely trigger air-related health issues associated with Marcellus Shale drilling activities.” A similar report for southwestern Pennsylvania came to the same conclusion.
  • A peer-reviewed study looking at cancer incidence rates in several Pennsylvania counties found “no evidence that childhood leukemia was elevated in any county after [hydraulic fracturing] commenced.”

There are several more examples of studies using direct measurements finding low emissions throughout the country that the researchers apparently chose to ignore when making the stereotypical activist claim that, “Unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) has community and environmental impacts.”

Even studies conducted by fracking opponents have shown no elevated health risk near fracking sites, albeit after they garnered the desired headlines. A corrected version of a 2015 University of Cincinnati found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions in Carroll County, Ohio, are well below levels deemed of concern by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The original retracted study exaggerated cancer risk by 725,000 percent due to what the researchers later claimed was an “honest calculation error.”

Fact #5: Improved U.S. air quality — courtesy of fracking — is actually reducing asthma

Not only does the Johns Hopkins asthma study dismiss the aforementioned Marcellus studies that have shown low emissions at well sites, it also ignores the fact that fracking is the No. 1 reason that three pollutants linked to asthma — nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) are all in rapid decline.

A recent study of the U.S.’s top 100 biggest power plants, which account for 85 percent of the country’s electricity, found that SO2 emissions are down 80 percent, while NOx emissions are down 75 percent. PM 2.5 levels decreased 60 percent from 2005 to 2013, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The reasons for these declines is obvious, considering power plants have traditionally been the biggest source of this pollution and power plants just happen to be shifting from coal to natural gas at a record pace. Natural gas emits one-third the nitrogen oxide as coal and just one percent of the sulfur oxide of coal, and the two pollutants combine to form PM 2.5.

Recent World Health Organization data indicates that the U.S. is reducing these air pollutants while much of the world continues to struggles, which WHO states contributes to increased risk of asthma and other health problems:

“As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them.”

Ironically, the U.S.’s progress in improving air quality, thanks in large part to the Marcellus Shale, is perhaps most evident in New York, which has infamously banned fracking.

The “Big Apple” has the cleanest air in over 50 years, thanks to an increased use of natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid this out in a press release in 2013, stating:

“Today, because of the significant improvements in air quality, the health department estimates that 800 lives will be saved each year and approximately 1,600 emergency department visits for asthma and 460 hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular issues will be prevented every year. The City expects further improvements in air quality and the future health of all New Yorkers as buildings continue to convert to cleaner fuels over the next several years.”

In 2005-2007, it’s estimated that PM2.5 levels in New York City contributed to over 3,100 deaths, over 2,000 hospitalizations for cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and 6,000 emergency department visits for asthma annually.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has also developed a factsheet that explains how natural gas reduces asthma attacks:

“This shift has also yielded significant public health benefits, avoiding thousands of premature deaths and more than 100,000 asthma attacks in 2015 alone.”

So, even assuming for a moment that the Johns Hopkins study’s “association” of asthma exacerbation could actually be proven as causal, it is clear that shale development has done far more to reduce asthma and other troublesome ailments than it has done to make them more prevalent.

Fact #6: Study conducted and funded by fracking opponents

We have to give Schwartz some credit: after producing numerous studies that fail to disclose that he’s a fellow at the anti-fracking Post Carbon Institute (something EID has brought to lightwith his previous studies) he finally disclosed that fact in this latest study:

“Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Schwartz is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute (PCI), serving as an informal advisor on climate, energy, and health issues. He receives no payment for this role. His research is entirely independent of PCI and is not motivated, reviewed, or funded by PCI. No other disclosures are reported.”

The study also received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: at least three of itsboard members are also on the board of World Wildlife Fund, which has made it clear that it is, “against the use of fracking to extract shale gas – or any other ‘unconventional’ fuels – from the ground.”

The study also used satellite data from Skytruth, a group that is against hydraulic fracturing and indeed all industrial activity. Skytruth is funded by numerous anti-fracking groups, including the Tides Foundation, Greenpeace, Oceana and the Heinz Endowments.

Conclusion

The researchers claim this study “adds to a growing body of evidence tying the fracking industry to health concerns.” Problem is, the study — and many others like it — actually doesn’t have any evidence to prove causation, while numerous studies that actually provide real evidence that fracking is reducing asthma throughout the U.S. continue to be overlooked.

Edit
This further blog continues the hatchet job.
http://energyindepth.org/marcellus/pa-health-report-destroys-activist-fracking-asthma-study-conclusion/
This map from a PA state survey puts the knife in further.

More details in this extensive paper.

 

*************************************************

When will the paper be retracted?

Fracking will give you CANCER – not

Among the many alleged heath risks of fracking are that will give you cancer

CaJVbzFWEAgmsif

So says Talkfracking and many others .  Fracking is so clearly worse than smoking for giving you cancer.

Frackingsmoking

This was clearly demonstrated by this paper by American academics

Impact of Natural Gas Extraction on PAH Levels in Ambient Air

Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, United States
College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, United States
§ Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267, United States
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2015, 49 (8), pp 5203–5210

 

frackcancerpaper

And thus is cited as one of the many studys on why fracking is bad for health by FrackOff

Frackoff retract

Now this means fracking should be banned!

But, oh, Whooops!! The paper has just been retracted for mathematical errors meaning that the cancer risk was vastly exaggerated. and here is the embarrassing notice of retraction

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/acs.est.6b02342

cancerretract

 

And here is a discussion of what was wrong

http://energyindepth.org/ohio/corrected-uc-fracking-study-shows-retracted-original-exaggerated-cancer-risk-725000-percent/

 

Corrected UC Fracking Study Shows Retracted Original Exaggerated Cancer Risk by 725,000 Percent

Prior to being retracted last month due to what researchers called “honest calculation errors,” a 2015 University of Cincinnati study on the effects of shale development in Carroll County, Ohio, suggested “natural gas extraction may be contributing significantly to PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions) in the air, at levels that are relevant to human health.”

That assessment led to alarmist headlines, such as Newsweek’s “Fracking Could Increase Risk of Cancer, New Study Finds,” But it turns out that the corrected version, posted this week, has reached the exact opposite conclusion:

“This work suggests that natural gas extraction is contributing PAHs to the air, at levels that would not be expected to increase cancer risk.”

In fact, the researchers’ “honest calculation errors” in the original study led to an exaggeration in the cancer risk from PAH emissions in Carroll County by an astounding 7,250 times what the corrected study shows they actually are. The following graphics from the original and corrected study pretty much tell the tale.

PAH Comparison-Original_edited

PAH Comparison-CORRECTED (2)_edited

The first graphic illustrates the original study. The blue, green and yellow bars on the left of the graph indicate emissions at the well sites (close, middle distance and far away from natural gas wells) while the purple bars on the right are supposed to indicate emission levels detected in similar studies conducted in urban areas such as Chicago, as well as a refinery in Belgium and a pair of oil spill sites. The original study showed PAH levels in Carroll County at 330, 240, and 210 ng/m3, respectively, for each the three study groups, which were much higher than levels in urban areas and refineries.

But the second graphic, which is the corrected graphic, shows that PAH levels were actually 1.2, 0.94, and 0.97 ng/m3 in each of the study groups. These readings are far below all the comparable studies it cited and more than 20,000 percent lower than what the original study reported.

Most notably, the corrected study shows that PAH emission levels are well below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says would increase risk of cancer — the complete opposite of what the original study claimed. Amazingly, the original study exaggerated the cancer risk 725,000 percent what it actually is, based on the researchers’ revised data.

Let’s take a look at the most notable data corrections from the retracted study to the corrected study, with the first three examples concerning cancer risk.

Original Study Claim: “Closest to active wells, the (cancer) risk estimated for maximum residential exposure was 2.9 in 10,000, which is above EPA’s acceptable risk level.”

Corrected Study: “At sites closest to active wells, the risk estimated for maximum residential exposure was 0.04 in a million, which is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’ s acceptable risk level.”

 

Original Study Claim: “This suggests that the maximum exposure scenario would produce risk levels above the U.S. EPA’s acceptable range. Thus, PAH mixtures in areas heavily impacted by NGE may have higher than acceptable cancer risk increases as exposure moves closer to an active NGE well.”

Corrected Study: “None of the estimated ELCRs (excess lifetime cancer risk) were above one in a million, which is the conservative end of the range that the U.S. EPA considers acceptable. Thus, NGE in this study did not appear to emit PAH levels into air that would elevate carcinogenic risk associated with inhalation.”

 

Original Study Claim: “For the maximum residential exposure scenario of 24 h/day, estimated excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) decreases from 290 to 200 in a million when moving from the close to far group. For the minimal residential exposure scenario of 1 h/day, estimated ELCR decreases from 12 to 8.1 in a million when moving from the close to far group. The outdoor worker scenario was also calculated to approximate exposures working outside amidst NGE activity, such as farming or working on NGE wells. For this scenario, estimated ELCR decreases from 59 to 50 in a million when moving from the close to far group.”

Corrected Study: “For the maximum residential exposure scenario of 24 h/day, the estimated excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) decreases from 0.040 to 0.027 in a million when moving from the close to far group. For the minimal residential exposure scenario of 1 h/ day, the estimated ELCR decreases from 0.0017 to 0.0011 in a million when moving from the close to far group. The outdoor worker scenario was also calculated to approximate exposures working outside amidst NGE activity, such as farming or working on NGE wells. For this scenario, the estimated ELCR decreases from 0.0082 to 0.0055 in a million when moving from the close to far group…”

Essentially, the revised study completely contradicts a claim by study co-author Kim Anderson of Oregon State University, who was quoted in a press release accompanying the original study saying: “Air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognized health hazard to people living near them.”

The original study also trumpets that two PAHs in particularly — benzopyrene and phenanthrene — are primary concerns for cancer. Interestingly, in the original study phenanthrene was identified as the most prominent PAH detected. However, the corrected study identifies naphthalene as the most prominent PAH detected, while benzopyrene wasn’t even mentioned as being prominently detected.

Here’s a look at the differences between the two studies in regard to phenanthrene and benzopyrene and all PAH detection in general:

Original Study Claim: “Average phenanthrene levels were 130, 96 and 88 ng/m3 for the close, middle and far groups.”

Corrected Study: “Average phenanthrene levels were 0.25, 0.18, and 0.17 ng/m3  for the close, middle, and far groups.

 

Original Study Claim: “Average benzo [a] pyrene levels were 2.8, 2.7 and 1.9 ng/m3 for the close, middle and far groups…. Average BaPeq (Benzo[a]pyrene equivalent) concentrations in all distance groups would be potentially concerning in chronic doses.”

Corrected Study: “Average benzo [a]- pyrene levels were 14 Å~  10−6 , 7.1 Å~  10−6 , and 2.9 Å~  10−6  ng/m3for the close, middle, and far groups. Average BaPeq concentrations in this study would likely not be concerning as chronic doses.”


Original Study Claim:
“… PAH levels closest to natural gas activity were an order of magnitude higher than levels previously reported in rural areas.”

Corrected Study: “PAH levels closest to natural gas activity were comparable to levels previously reported in rural areas in winter.”

Though the authors’ acknowledgement of their errors and relatively prompt publication of the corrected study is commendable — especially when compared to how UC’s still yet-to-be-published study showing no groundwater contamination from fracking has been handled — it is still becoming more and more difficult to give UC the benefit of the doubt.

Combined with the many flaws of the study EID has already pointed out – the fact that the authors admit their sample size (25 samples) was too small, that fact that they conceded that the chief assumption used for their research model was “totally impractical,” the fact that study participants were recruited by an anti-fracking activist group, and the fact that worst case scenarios were assumed in their cancer hazard assessments, just to name a few — the sheer degree to which the research team botched the original data borders on shocking, especially considering scientists would seemingly be capable of catching such egregious mathematical errors.

But maybe it shouldn’t come as a big a surprise, considering lead author Erin Haynes not only presented the study’s original findings at a meeting of an anti-fracking group, and the researchers specifically thank that group’s leader in the corrected study.

“This work was funded by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to Oregon State University (P30-ES000210) and the University of Cincinnati (P30-ES06096). We thank Glenn Wilson, Ricky Scott, Jorge Padilla, Gary Points, and Melissa McCartney of the OSU FSES Program for help with analysis. Thank you to Dr. Diana Rohlman of the OSU Environmental Health Sciences Center Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC), Sarah Elam of the University of Cincinnati (UC) Environmental Health Sciences Center COEC, Jody Alden of UC, and Paul Feezel of Carroll Concerned Citizens, all for assistance with volunteer recruitment and communication. Thank you to Pierce Kuhnell of UC for mapping sample sites. Finally, thank you to the volunteer participants in Ohio for making this study possible.”

Considering the study was taxpayer funded, it seems more explanation may be in order as to why the original version was so off the mark.

*******************************************************************

Now I wonder how many more of the peer-reviewed papers on the evil of fracking also need to be withdrawn

Fracking Fun by Pinnochio

Well. petroleum products are so ungreen and we can see how fossil-fuel dependent the bicycle is;

BukM1WJIMAEMIjV

So cheers to fracking

1891100_10152585896227589_1151668140_n

Fracking will destroy our countryside and will make it look like this – The Jonah gasfiled in Wyoming

jonah

This is what our countryside will look like

fracking-sim-small

Hold on a mo! Jonah is not fracking of shale but tight gas from sandstone done before fracking for shale. A big porkie. This picture is simply deceitful

 

1959yellowstone

Just one snag – these are caused by wastewater injection not fracking – and the earthquake damage is from the Far East.

1521421_622953834436508_498065998_n

 

1655914_750161931739394_3445642341288021594_n

Whoops. Walport never said anything like that . It was said by a leftie prof from Sussex and misquoted by Adam Vaughan in the porkie Graudain

 

Now here are lots of misrepresentations of the effect of fracking on our water. The graphics do not give true scale so it seems that fracking takes place just below an aquifer. Mendacious

1779918_10201448818839191_1118963300_n

 

B3Pj6WZCMAAgFd4BwDMkI6IEAA6YUf

guest-1024x930

 

How do these parties compare to the Tories?

No-Fracking-campaign-image_opt

plaid cymru

This is nearer the truth showing actual fracking 8000ft below the surface. Frack cracks do not travel more than 1000ft upwards so still a mile off an aquifer

 

fracs-vs-aquifers-300x225

And the chemicals  – actually 99.5 5 water and a bit of sand and polyacrylamide. A drinkable mixture. The claim of 632 chemicals is what HAS been used in the past, not what are used even in the USA today.

 

frackingfluid

Naughty Cuadrilla. Please count the porkies. They are easily counted but take longer to give details why they are porkies

Cuadrilla

A Blackpool college. An energy centre in the area of Britain with the highest unemployment……

10731152_10152128926854229_4862207218892520750_n

 

How to intimidate academics. Yes, I have heard accounts of what has happened . It is not pleasant

frackademics

Alleged health effects.

frackedbabyfrackedbaby2

westwood

 

But smoking has no health effects

Frackingsmoking

Experts like Mike Hill say fracking is dodgy

postermikehill02

After all Blackpool will go under the sea. The effect of a few 6in holes 8000ft below surface

Blackpoolundersea

Mike hill’s office in Lytham

Hill under water

His misrepresentation of flares

hillflaring

and so the locals of Lancashire get hopelessly confused. I don’t blame the writer of the letter but I do blame those who have conned the people of Lancashire

Quake in Lancs

as does the sub-christian horror comic The Church Times.

It was a bishop who told me that the CT was a sub-christian horror comic

Rapefracking

And now for more green shibboleths; – for light entertainment

GMO

 

GMO

Danger of GMO

Chemical-free organic food

chemical-free

Anti-vaxxers

 

antivaccers

Now here’s the result of a frack-free, organic, no-vaxxer  lifestyle.

 

Not for me , thanks

10251928_775996175803727_3695650450474677535_n

 

 

 

deadbythirty

renewable

The Nobel Savage: Greenpeace’s Colonialist Ambitions

Does Greenpeace actually care for either truth or people? The ideology seems to prevent them. As well as other examples given in the blog there is also there fromgramme of disinformation on fracking in Britain;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/not-for-shale/

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/greenpeace-is-wrong-over-fracking/

They seem oblivious to any kind of ethics

The Risk-Monger

Golden Rice (rice genetically fortified with beta-carotene to help prevent Vitamin A Deficiency among malnourished populations) has become a dogmatic noose around the neck of Greenpeace threatening to choke the entire organisation. Their relentlessly obsessive opposition to all GMOs have cost the NGO many good leaders, ostracised them within agricultural circles (except the tiny, but boisterous organic food industry lobby) and brandished them with an anti-scientific label that will burden their credibility for decades to come.

On Thursday (30 June 2016), 110 Nobel laureates condemned Greenpeace for being anti-scientific, begging them, other NGOs and the UN to stop opposing GMOs and, in particular, Golden Rice. Since there are only several hundred living Nobel Prize winners, this is a significant sting for an organisation like Greenpeace trying to move in from the fringes of society and be respected at the policy table.

The letter signed by 110 Nobel laureates  considers Greenpeace’s opposition to Golden Rice as…

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