Hydraulic Fracturing – Are The Benefits Greater Than The Costs?

The results as demonstrated by the United States are quite clear: mining gas and oil from shale reserves underground can prove to be extremely lucrative. Hydraulic fracturing is able yield up an abundance of inexpensive fuel, supplying millions of people with sufficient energy for years to come, and deliver a host of side benefits, as well.Fracking - Is It All Bad?

The question of consequences resulting from such actions remains to be answered. It is not so easy as to simply compare the price of extracting fuel vs. finding other means of powering up our lives. The costs of not extracting fuel could be just as devastating as the costs associated with pulling the liquid gold from the ground.
There is much to be considered with this issue. And none of it is particularly easy to grapple with.

Fracking – Financial Benefits, With Costs to the Land

The whole world is power hungry. It’s growing hungrier for more energy day by day, with every birth that increases the world’s population and with each new electronic gadget that comes on the market. The demand for fuel has one trend, and that is: upward.

So, when an opportunity comes along that promises plentiful fuel at a very low price point, there’s little reason to reject the idea. Harvesting a wealth of gas and oil from the ground translates into improved industry health, which leads to an abundance of jobs, which strengthens the economy. Plentiful fuel is critical in maintaining and building up not only industry, but military, medical, scientific and educational pursuits, as well. Making affordable fuel available to consumers allows them to spend less money on heating and other household needs, freeing up budgets to spend more in other areas, that then stimulates the economy even more. It’s a cycle that continues to spin around, lifting up the financial well-being of a nation higher and higher with each revolution.

And what a revolution it is. The possibility of surpassing Saudi Arabia in oil production means the US would no longer be dependent upon the Middle East for fuel. This potential energy independence is putting a great, big grin on America’s face.

All of these benefits are wonderful, until you compare the price of financial independence with the price charged by hydraulic fracturing if it can potentially endanger the environment. Environmental experts charge that fracking inherently causes damage to the Earth and could bring harm to humans through earthquakes triggered by the hydraulic drilling.

So, what if the world did away with fracking, drilling and other methods of extracting fuel that are perceived as dangerous to the Earth? How would that future look?

For more info about the effects of fracking click here

Ecological Benefits, With Costs to the People

Imagine that all power is sourced through green methods. Wind farms dot beaches and valleys; wave power baffles produce hydroelectricity; anaerobic digestion plants churn waste into valuable biomethane; a butterfly flits across a backdrop of solar panels gleaming atop acres of buildings. The Earth is pretty and healthy and green.Hydraulic fracking

Unfortunately for the homo sapiens living on the planet’s surface, things are not so pretty. Without access to conventional fossil fuels, the people are forced to wait for all the eco-friendly energy producers to get up to speed, and look ahead to the day when the next plants are scheduled to begin construction. In the meantime, without a sufficient supply of affordable energy to warm their bodies, cook their food and otherwise meet their everyday needs, their very lives are drastically altered. Without fuel to power industry, factories close and people lose their jobs. Just as well, since the lack of affordable petrol makes driving to work out of the question. Without fuel for machinery, farmers are less able to produce enough food for the masses. For the lack of warmth, people lose their lives.

A dramatic perspective to consider; yes. It is unlikely that all the nations of the planet will completely side with only fossil fuels or only green energy. It is far more likely that some point of balance will be struck, and that sweet spot is the place where most of Earth’s inhabitants will get the most energy at the best price.

It is a painful and difficult endeavor, indeed, to compare the price of our planet against the price of its inhabitants’ very survival. There may yet be a way to find the point where a perfect balance is struck, but as yet, we humans have not discovered that tipping point.

M.S. Ross the author of this article is often asked where to go to compare the price of energy providers, she often recommends the comparison website uSwitch as being a helpful resource.

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