Post Carbon Institute’s “Snake Oil” book casts critical eye on fracking

July 30th, 2013 by Post Carbon Institute

(click book cover image to expand - image courtesy of Post Carbon Institute)

(click book cover image to expand – image courtesy of Post Carbon Institute)

Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute have released “Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future,” which dispels the hype around shale gas and oil that has hijacked America’s energy conversation.

“Snake Oil” casts a critical eye on the environmental impacts and the purported economic benefits of new oil and gas production technologies.

Building on the most exhaustively researched analysis of shale production to date, Richard Heinberg categorically refutes:

  • Industry claims of a long-term economic bonanza and energy security as a result of domestic drilling for shale gas and shale (tight) oil.
  • The perception that shale gas and tight oil drilling will provide long term, low cost supplies.
  • The purported benefits to local economies: Richard Heinberg shows that US states with active fracking operations are spending more on road maintenance than they take in via severance taxes.
  • The case for authorizing shale gas exports: given constraints on future domestic production, the only thing exports can accomplish is to raise natural gas prices for American consumers.
  • Claims of major benefits of fracking for the nation: fewer jobs have been created than the industry claims, and temporarily increased domestic oil and gas production have led to a side-tracking of sound climate and energy policy.
Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute at Ecobuild 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Richard Heinberg at Ecobuild 2011 (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

In Snake Oil, Richard Heinberg highlights data and research that show, with absolute clarity, that rather than offering the USA a century of cheap energy and economic prosperity, fracking may well present us with a short-term bubble that comes with exceeding high economic and environmental costs.

With the facts now presented in plain light, American citizens and policymakers can work together on smart energy policy based on hard truths rather than fuzzy industry hype.

Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and author of ‘Coming Clean‘, said “Snake Oil” exposes the unsustainable economics behind the so-called fracking boom, giving the lie to industry claims that natural gas will bring great economic benefits and long-term energy security to the United States.”

“In clear, hard-hitting language, Richard Heinberg reveals that communities where fracking has taken place are actually being hurt economically,” he said.

“For those who want to know the truth about why natural gas is a gangplank, not a bridge, Snake Oil is a must-read,” Mr Brune said.


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