Fracking: Expert Opinions

Snubbing Skeptics Threatens to Intensify Climate War, Study Says, Lehmann, Evan , The New York Times | Climatewire, (2011)



Listening to climate change doubters, and not dismissing them, might avert a "logic schism" similar to the political stalemate on abortion, according to a new paper involving research on skeptics.

The paper (pdf) portrays doubters as being at a disadvantage. The majority of climate research comes from the fields of physical science, engineering and economics -- largely depicting rational outcomes in a world dominated by the view that the Earth is warming, and that something needs to be done about it.


What's missing, the research says, are studies that seek to understand the cultural responses of people who question those findings. It's no surprise, after all, that a large segment of humans resist the majority opinion -- on nearly every topic.

Most skeptical writers haven't accepted the scientific underpinnings of rising temperatures, while advocates for action are promoting policies to address the findings.

See: Global Warning | The environment and national security.

See: Hoffman, Andrew J. “Talking Past Each Other? Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced Logics in the Climate Change Debate.” Ann Arbor 1001 (2011): 48109.

See: Kate. (Blog). ClimateSight | Climate Science and the Public. 2011.

Kate is a B.Sc. student and aspiring climatologist from the Canadian Prairies.

She became interested in climate science several years ago, and increasingly began to notice the discrepancies between scientific and public knowledge on climate change. She started writing [ClimateScience] when she was sixteen years old, simply to keep herself sane, but she hopes she’ll be able to spread accurate information far and wide while she does so.

Systems Approach to Energy Transitions: Watkins Glen Conference, March 30-31, Cornell University , Cornell | Systems Approach to Energy Transitions, (2011)



A Systems Approach to Energy Transitions

Presentations from the Conference held on March 30-31, 2011 in Watkins Glen, NY.

Marcellus Shale: Economic Development Implications

Timothy W. Kelsey, Ph.D., State Program Leader, Economic & Community Development, Penn State University

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling: What Should We Plan For?

Susan Christopherson, Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

Energy Planning in New York State

John Williams, Director of Energy Analysis, NYSERDA

Overview of Recent Climate Legislation: Overall Impacts and Opportunities for the Agriculture and Forestry Sector- Antonio M. Bento, Ph.D., Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

Albert R. George, Ph.D., Mechanical , Aerospace & Systems Engineering, Cornell University

Natural Gas, Wind and Biofuels

Jeffrey Jacquet, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University

Supplies of Sustainably Produced Biomass in New York

Timothy A. Volk, Sr. Research Associate, SUNY Environmental School of Forestry

Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment

Nels Johnson, Deputy State Director, The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Chapter

Planning for Energy Transitions

Daniel A. Spitzer, Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP

Tales from the Ice: Explaining Rapid Climate Change, National Aeronautics and Space Administration , NASA | Earth Observatory, (2005)


Start with the Introduction to the Feature Articles on NASA's Earth Observatory web site to see how scientists explain rapid climate change. The beauty of Earth's cities at night affirm our need for energy.


Global Warming and rapid climate change? There is room for denial, ask anyone who has been given a terminal AIDS or cancer diagnosis. But we are one big family with too many secrets. The U.S. and other nations cannot continue to exempt the military from environmental standards.

Perhaps our accepted ideas about the origin of oil will change as we discover life at the Earth's core and get more data from new missions beyond the Earth. What if we discover that the extraction methods and new technology that have given us hydraulic fracturing are destined to be obsolete? New research following in the footsteps of Thomas Gold's out-of-the-box thinking may lead us down a very different energy path.

The oceans and atmosphere are partners in creating Earth's climate. There is still much that remains to be discovered about the relationship between the geology underlying the oceans and Earth's climate.

See: Ocean and Climate Change Institute : Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution




See: Public Supports Consumer and Environmental Protections, Polls Show

Exon, N. “Scientific drilling beneath the oceans solves earthly problems.” Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs 2, no. 2 (2010): 37. (PDF)

Hayman, N. W, W. Bach, D. Blackman, G. L Christeson, K. Edwards, R. Haymon, B. Ildefonse, M. Schulte, D. Teagle, and S. White. “Future Scientific Drilling of Oceanic Crust.” Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 91, no. 15 (2010): 133–134.

TEDX — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Colburn, Theo , TEDX — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, (2010)

TEDX - The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Operations. Includes videos, photos, background information.

"TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.) is the only organization that focuses primarily on the human health and environmental problems caused by low-dose and/or ambient exposure to chemicals that interfere with development and function, called endocrine disruptors."

See: Democracy Now! video interview with TEDX founder, Dr. Theo Colburn: The Health Effects of Water Contamination from Fracking.

The Case for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Toxic Hazards, Davis, Devra , Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), (2010)


In the 1970s, Congress passed a host of environmental laws that sought to adopt a preventive approach to reducing disease and protecting health and environment. Since then, average body burdens of some persistent toxic materials such as lead and cadmium have fallen, but those of other newer materials, like persistent flame retardants, have risen.

The major obstacle to a protective chemicals management system remains the culture of trade secrecy that allows firms to withhold information about potential health and safety dangers of their products. In my book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer, and in recent testimony to the President’s Cancer Panel on cancer prevention, I have advanced the concept of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Toxic Hazards.

The current regulatory system has failed to protect workers, their families and communities. Under the present adversarial system, companies can legally withhold information on the dangers of workplace hazards under the rubric of trade secrets, and they can also legally conceal information on health hazards as part of sealed settlement agreements...

Author's note: This essay is in response to: What is the key obstacle to implementing an effective, health-protective, chemicals management system?

See: Sandra Steingraber. Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

See: "Our Look at the The Halliburton Loophole":

This exemption (from the Clean Water Act - authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005) allows non-disclosure of the toxic ingredients used near wells and aquifiers in drilling and waste injection.   The rush to exploit the Marcellus Shale (referred to by BP's Tony Heyward as a "game-changer") allows gas drillers to legally keep secret the contents of the fracturing fluids used in fracking.  Endocrinologist Dr. Adam Law of Ithaca, New York recently testified at the EPA Hearings in Binghamton that doctors cannot treat patients for exposure to chemicals if they don't know what they were exposed to.  TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, directed by Dr. Theo Colborn in Colorado continues to investigate the relationship between health and environmental distress.

See: Poisoned profits : the toxic assault on our children

See: Tox Town

See: The National Children's Study (2010)

The National Children’s Study will examine the effects of the environment, as broadly defined to include factors such as air, water, diet, sound, family dynamics, community and cultural influences, and genetics on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States, following them from before birth until age 21 years. The goal of the Study is to improve the health and well-being of children and contribute to understanding the role various factors have on health and disease. Findings from the Study will be made available as the research progresses, making potential benefits known to the public as soon as possible.

See:Fracking: Implications for Human and Environmental Health

The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels, Gold, Thomas , New York, (1998)


Thomas Gold (1920-2004), Cornell astronomer and brilliant scientific gadfly.

The Abiogenic Theory of Petroleum Formation

Editor's Note: If we bust the myths about global warming and fossil fuels - the growing scarcity of our oil supply, and can replant lots of trees, by Freeman Dyson's estimates, a trillion, to remove all the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere now, with a lot more needed by 2050, as India, China, Brazil, etc. industrialize; then we only have to worry about methane from gas flares, and the melting of the tundra permafrost to prevent humanity from reaching the "tipping-point" of our destruction.

The Earth will undoubtedly survive, but we won't. Global Warming must be addressed by all governments, NGO's, citizen activists, and corporations. Drilling Isn't Safe. (Neil Zusman, 2010-11-14.)

Deep within the earth's crust there exists a second biosphere, composed of very primitive heat-loving bacteria and containing perhaps more living matter than is present on the earth's surface...

...Gold joins the deep hot biosphere argument to another, perhaps even more controversial theory for which he has marshalled evidence: that so-called fossil fuels originate not from compressed biological matter at all but from deep within the earth, present there since the planet's formation, long before our oxygen-rich surface biosphere came into existence.

The pattern of petroleum deposits and the mix of elements associated with them around the world, the dramatic results of a Swedish drilling project (1990) in non-sedimentary rock, and indications that some petroleum reserves are refilling - this is some of the evidence that supports Gold's thesis and cannot be adequately accounted for by conventional theories.

The implications of Gold's views are no less far-reaching than the theories behind them. The deep hot biosphere and deep-earth gas theories shed light on the nature of earthquakes, they suggest that reservoirs of petroleum and certain metal ores are much vaster (though not necessarily more accessible) than generally claimed, and they help to answer two of the most profound mysteries of the biological sciences: the origins of life on earth and the prospects of extraterrestrial life.

Did life develop from the deep hot biosphere? Are Mars and other planets as lifeless as they seem, or might they too be found to contain deep hot biospheres, if only scientists would look below the surface. --from the book jacket, 1999 edition.

Chapter 4. Evidence for Deep-Earth Gas

Chapter 5. Resolving the Petroleum Paradox

Chapter 6. The Siljan Experiment

Schematic image showing how the deep-earth gas theory would account for the helium association with methane (p. 76). Perhaps drilling deeper would make hydraulic fracturing and mountain-top removal unnecessary.


Gold's book has a Foreword by Freeman Dyson who is among the signatories of a letter to the UN criticizing the IPCC. He has argued against the ostracization of scientists whose views depart from the acknowledged mainstream of scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "heretics" have historically been an important force in driving scientific progress."

Heretics who question the dogmas are needed... I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies."

See: Nicholas Davidoff. NYT. 2009. "The Civil Heretic".

See: Freeman Dyson. Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society. Edge | The Third Culture. Aug. 8, 2007.

See: Kellesidis, V.C. (2009). Challenges for very deep oil and gas drilling-will there ever be a depth limit? Athens, Greece: 3rd AMIREG International Conference (2009): Assessing the Footprint of Resource Utilization and Hazardous Waste Management.

Of course, we find oil ‘where it is’, where it has remained for ages, but how was it formed? Current belief is that oil is of biotic origin, through accumulation of organic matter (plankton, single cell organisms that floated on ocean surface) and sedimentation followed by burial. For large periods organic material has been under very high pressures and temperatures, in the range of 130-150 degrees C, in a ‘cooking pot’ and gradually transformed to petroleum.

Because of its lower density, it has migrated upwards and some surfaced and was lost, while some has hit non-permeable layers (the seal) and accumulated in the porous sedimentary rocks creating the world’s oil and gas fields.

There is, however, another school of thought, not very well known until recent years, which is gaining, though, momentum. It is the theory of abiotic (or abiogenic) origin of petroleum, that hydrocarbons have been formed in the depths of earth by reduction of CO2 and H2 gases in the presence of metal catalysts (Gold and Soter, 1980; Kenney, 1994; Krayushkin et al., 1994; Glasby, 2006; Wikipedia, 2009).

The consequences of course of such a theory, if true, could be extraordinary, as earth’s mantle becomes the inexhaustible provider of the cheapest energy source on earth...

Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev (Kudryavtsev, 1951) was the first to start the theory of abiotic generation of hydrocarbons, in what has become the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum (Kropotkin, 1986; Kenney et al., 2002). However, Abbas (1996) starts the history as early as 1877 by Mendeleev and provides a good overview as well as pros and cons about the two points of view.

See: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Beautiful Ontario Lacus: Cassini’s Guided Tour.


Ontario Lacus, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, turns out to be a perfect exotic vacation spot, provided you can handle the frosty, subzero temperatures and enjoy soaking in liquid hydrocarbon.

See these articles:

Bluemle, J., and L. Manz. 2004. The Origin of Oil. North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources: North Dakota Feological Survey. NDGS Newsletter. 31: 1. Summer 2004.

Glasby, G. P. 2006. Abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons: An historical overview. Resource Geology 56, no. 1: 83–96.

Gold, Thomas. 1982. Abiogenic methane and the origin of petroleum. Energy Exploration & Exploitation 1, no. 2: 89–104.

———. 1992. The deep, hot biosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 89, no. 13: 6045.

———. 1993. The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth. USGS Professional Paper 1570.

U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 1998. OFR 98-468 World Conventional Crude Oil and Natural Gas. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The Hidden Costs of Clean Coal: Longwall Mining Documents, Center for Public Integrity , The Center for Public Integrity, (2010)


The Center for Public Integrity’s year-long investigation into the social and environmental impacts of longwall mining centered on hundreds of pages of documents obtained from government sources, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; legal agreements between coal companies and property owners; environmental studies; landowner letters; and federal and state records requests.

The library features key documents exemplifying key people or issues in each of the project’s magazine articles.

See: Resources Page:

This list of resources includes the websites of coal companies and citizens groups, as well as studies about and lawsuits over the impacts of longwall mining.

The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me | What does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have to do with Climate Change?, , The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me, (2011)


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is controlled by Big Polluters, poisons politics with its dirty money, and opposes every single effort to curb climate pollution.

“The U.S. Chamber Doesn’t Speak For Me” campaign is designed to expose the Chamber’s dirty business in Washington D.C., and discredit their efforts to delay the kind of bold action we need to create a clean energy economy and a safe climate future.

For more information, check out their Frequently Asked Questions page.

See: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet | Founder Bill McKibben

See: YES! Magazine | Partners

See: As climate crime continues, who are we sending to jail? Tim DeChristopher?

Tox Town - Home Page - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work and play., National Library of Medicine , Tox Town, (2010)


Tox Town Fact Sheet

Tox Town is designed to give you information on everyday locations where you might find toxic chemicals; non-technical descriptions of chemicals; links to selected, authoritative chemical information on the Internet; how the environment can impact human health and Internet resources on environmental health topics.

Tox Town uses color, graphics, sounds and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public's health. Tox Town's target audience is students above elementary-school level, educators, and the general public. It is a companion to the extensive information in the TOXNET collection of databases that are typically used by toxicologists and health professionals.

You can explore Tox Town by selecting Neighborhoods, Location links or Chemical links.

I went to this page, For Teachers - Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions [at the High School and College level], and browsed Haz-Map by Processes and Adverse Effects for Mining and found 65 results linking to articles ranging from Hydrogen Sulfide to Diesel Exhaust and Cyanides.

See: What is the National Children's Study?

See: Household Products Database

See: Poisoned profits : the toxic assault on our children

See: Crude Oil Is Added to the Chemical Page

See: EPA | Office of Children's Health Protection

Top Three Questions

Where can I learn the facts about children's environmental health?

What can I do to protect children from environmental health risks?

Where can I find publications about children's environmental health?

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Weston Wilson Whistle Blower Letter, Wilson, Weston , (2004)

Weston Wilson. Letter written to Senators Allard and Campbell and Representative DeGette. Denver, Colorado. October 8th, 2004. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was criticized by Wilson and others for this Fracking Study which led to the "Halliburton Loophole" of 2005. See New York Times Editorial on Halliburton Loophole.  See also the Energy Policy Act of 2005.