May 12, 2020
Ban Fracking? For some on the left, that’s a fight best left only when the time is right.
Many on the political left, and especially those who consider themselves progressives, oppose fracking for environmental reasons, arguing the process contributes to global warming. However, the cause of banning all fracking is not as unifying for those on the left as one might think, particularly for people of color, poor people and others around the world.
African-American And Latino Communities In The US Depend On Fracking For Lower Prices
The truth is, fracking, especially in the United States, has uncovered and made accessible so much natural gas that, naturally, consumers have benefitted from lower prices. This is an important financial factor when it comes to heating homes in the winter.
It’s on this point – consumer costs – that left-wing activists Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, as well Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, are willing to take a softer-than-expected stance on the use of natural gas, at least temporarily, if it may benefit those for whom they advocate.
In a March 30, 2020, article in AXIOS, Sharpton was quoted as saying, “I think people are concerned about affordability, and they are concerned about being left in the cold. I think natural gas is temporary — I don’t think we ought to make it the end-all, be-all — solution, but in the interim, people in communities of color should not pay the brunt of suffering through cold winters.”
Jackson and Morial expressed similar sentiments.
In February, Jackson said he supported a “proper transition” away from fracking and the consumption of natural gas in the interim as a means of keeping heating costs low.
Morial said, no matter what decision is made, black people and others who would be negatively impacted by higher gas costs, should have a seat at the table when decisions are made.
The Pipeline In Europe That Carries Natural Gas …And Freedom
Across the pond, other issues are influencing the push for more natural gas consumption, namely freedom from reliance on unfriendly producers.
Poland is set to begin construction of a gas pipeline to bring natural gas from Norway into the country. The project is aimed at moving Poland away from its dependency on Russia to supply its energy needs.
The Baltic Pipeline is slated to be up and running in late 2022, bringing with it 10 billion cubic meters of gas each year into Poland. Additionally, the pipeline will transport gas to other countries in the region, particularly Ukraine, which also is eager to move away from Russian energy dependence.
The Least Harmful Fossil Fuel To The Environment?
As for the environmental issue, it’s true that natural gas, a fossil fuel, emits methane. That’s often a sticking point for environmentally minded progressives. However, when it’s burned, gas emits a great deal less carbon dioxide than coal. That may make its use, even temporarily, easier to swallow for the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and Morial. As for our European friends across the Atlantic, the prospect of pulling away from the grip of Russian energy dominance may trump all else.