A Conservative, Free-Market Solution to Global Warming: Fracking
[Sources are below]
Before I go on with this post, I just want to ask; why we got rid of the word global warming and instead refer to the problem as climate change? When I was a kid, environmentalists in my town talked about global warming, and I was scared into joining them on the issue, along with many other causes. But now I am no longer a liberal, and people around me now call it climate change, which frankly doesn't sound nearly as scary. The climate is always changing, and has sometimes cooled down, but a global warming is a lot more specific, and evokes more response.
But anyways, with the recent wildfires in Northern California and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ripping through the Caribbean and the Deep South, there has been a lot of talk surrounding climate change. The mainstream media of course spit on conservatives as they report on the subject, along with the rest of the Democratic Party, because the GOP has all the 'science-deniers', as they like to call them.
However, as willing as I am to admit that the Republican Party has it's share of such individuals, I am not one of them. I do believe that global warming is man-made, and I do believe it is a problem we should solve. However, I also believe that it's the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, has a proper solution to it. In fact, while sources like The Atlantic site a carbon-tax as the best conservative solution, there is an even better, free-market solution which progressives are afraid to admit, but which can absolutely reduce CO2 emissions.
The solution? FRACKING, or hydraulic fracturing as scientists call it.
In case you don't know what fracking is, it is the process of extracting natural gas from the ground, mostly from shale deposits, using water and various chemicals to make the extraction. The reason that it is such a good solution to global warming is because natural gas creates roughly half the CO2 output of coal, meaning less CO2 and more energy.
"But wait a minute!" I hear those of you who do know about fracking say. "What about all the problems associated with fracking? The water contamination? The EARTHQUAKES?!" To be fair, these are all valid concerns, though they are less of an issue than one might expect. Geologists say that an earthquake must occur around 16,000 to 18,000 feet, while many fracking sites go as deep as 10,000 feet, which means that earthquakes are likely not the result of fracking. Also, in terms of drinking water, a 4 year investigation by the EPA under former President Barack Obama concluded the following: "We did not find evidence that these mechanisms (fracking and other drilling processes) have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States."
At current levels, we have already passed the 400ppm threshold scientists worry about, and it's likely we'll pass 410ppm soon. Yet in terms of America's CO2 emissions, they have dramatically reduced since the fracking-boom of 2006, with natural gas taking on more of the fossil fuel market, as shown by this chart above. This suggests that the more we use natural gas rather than coal, the far less carbon emissions will be emitted from America, at least in terms of electric production.
It is only a short-term solution of course, since that 90 years will end at some point. Hell, our time with natural gas might end sooner if it makes up more of our fossil fuels. But it does give us time. Time for entrepreneurs to come up with ever better forms of renewable energy which would not only be usable, but cheaper than fossil fuels. And time is always worth it.