POLITICS

Environmentalist’s Earth Day message: More fracking, fewer solar subsidies

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Environment,Michal Conger,Energy Department

More fracking and fewer green subsidies are the most effective answers to global warming,left-leaning but "skeptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg said Monday.

Fracking is a drilling practice that extracts natural gas and oil from shale rock formations by injecting water and chemicals deep underground to make the resources more easily recoverable. Instead of pouring money into “inefficient, feel-good policies” like solar panels and electric cars, countries should invest in fracking, Lomborg wrote in a Globe and Mail op-ed.

“This Earth Day, we need more fracking, more wealth, smarter investments and fewer inefficient subsidies,” he wrote. Lomborg drew worldwide attention with his 2001 book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," in which he criticized misuse of scientific data and analyses by environmental advocates seeking to build public support for their policies and programs.

Lomborg drew attention earlier this month to the billions European taxpayers waste subsidizing wind and solar power that will postpone global warming by less than two days. He said the threat of climate change is real, but it must be addressed by better technology and smarter investments.

Electric car production consumes “vast amounts” of fossil fuels, according to Lonborg. And, even if the U.S. does meet its goal of 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, at a cost of $7.5 billion, that would only postpone global warming by 30 minutes.

“These beguiling policies cost a fortune but make little difference to the environment, because the technologies are still not ready,” Lomborg wrote.

Fracking, on the other hand, has helped dramatically lower carbon emissions in the U.S. by shifting demand to natural gas, he said. The shift from coal to natural gas has helped the U.S. cut more carbon emissions than any other nation. As solar and wind energy become more economically viable, they will replace natural gas as the green energy of choice, he said. But until then, governments shouldn’t throw taxpayer money at them.

Go here for the complete Lomborg op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

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