Long-Term Environmental Dangers of Fracking – The British View

Majid Ali, M.D.

We Americans need energy to live healthfully, keep and grow jobs, and to sustain our economy. We Americans have been hugely wasteful of energy. Drive two miles on any interstate highway and you will see one dimension of the problem. You can look down your plane window flying over a city, see te number of home pools, and recognize another dimension of the issue. The health costs of such energy waste should be self-evident but usually go unrecognized. I do not know if the current 2014 excitement about the possibility of selling energy to other countries is justified or not. I do know is that our world is now an overpopulated and shrinking village. The future of humankind is not a zero-sum game. So I still see a need for everyone to be circumspect in energy use.

I, like many others, recognize an extremely serious threat of long-term environmental damage arising from fracking, a technique which involves pumping chemicals, sand and water at high pressure deep into the belly of the planet’s surface to fracture shale rock and release the gas within to be used as a source of energy. It has been strongly backed by the government with David Cameron saying the UK is “going all out for shale”. In this context, below I present another scientific British view of the fracking.

Fracking Risks At Par with Those from Thalidomide, Tobacco and Asbestos

Historic innovations that have been adopted too hastily with grave unforeseen impacts provide cautionary examples for potential side effects of fracking, says report by [British} government’s chief scientist Mark Walport. Below is text from the British newspaper, The Guardian.”are

“”In all these and many other cases, delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only serious environmental or health impacts, but massive expense and reductions in competitiveness for firms and economies persisting in the wrong path.”

“Thalidomide was one of the worst drug scandals in modern history, killing 80,000 babies and maiming 20,000 babies after it was taken by expectant mothers.”

“Fracking provides a potentially similar example today, the report warns: “… innovations reinforcing fossil fuel energy strategies — such as hydraulic fracturing — arguably offer a contemporary prospective example.”

“The chapter, written by Prof Andrew Stirling of the University of Sussex, also argues that the UK and the world could tackle climate change with energy efficiency and renewable energy alone but vested interests in the fossil fuel industry stand in the way.”

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