Evidence that fracking has led to more methane in the atmosphere is compelling. More methane means more global warming. A recent article “Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere” by Stephen Leahy is about the massive increase in methane emissions detected when fracking was taking place.
Tighter regulations on the venting of gas from fracking wells is clearly indicated. Outright banning of fracking should also be considered. Several states (New York, Maryland, and Vermont) and countries (France and Germany) have already done so. The US should do so as well, although that outcome is unlikely to happen during the current administration. President Trump absolutely loves fossil fuels, and fracking has made the US the world’s largest oil and gas producer. Mr. Trump is not about to shut down the industry that has given him bragging rights, nor impose stricter regulations on it. However, there are signs that the fracking boom may be reaching an end. In the Permian Basin, Tier 1 wells, the largest, most profitable ones, are becoming harder to find and exploit profitably. Many fracking companies, already dependent on the price of oil for their profitability and on investors’ confidence in their continued robust returns, may soon be filing for bankruptcy. When that happens, the world will breathe a little easier.
Understanding the bigger picture of how methane and other greenhouse gases impact climate change is important. National Geographic has produced a short and informative video you can see here. More specific to the drastic environmental dangers from fracking is the 2010 groundbreaking film by Josh Fox “Gasland” spells out