by garlinggar5 on November 26, 2014 - 1:58pm
Summary of US and UK Public Opinion Towards Natural Gas
One of the largest national concerns for all countries is the ability to create enough energy to drive the economy. Unfortunately most cheap sources of fuel are considerably dirty in terms of the pollution caused by the extraction and burning of sources of fuel such as fossil fuels. Although not all fossil fuels are equally as cheap or polluting and the shift towards cleaner energy is a primary focus among many developed nations around the world. Therefore one of the driving factors towards the promotion of the use of natural gas is the shift in ideology of using cleaner fuel sources. This applies not only to the United States but also to the United Kingdom. Another factor that is important to consider is that natural gas is more expensive overall than coal and petroleum but the desire by nations such as the US and UK to develop energy self-sufficiency and cleaner energy outweighs the short-term cost.
The politics that surrond energy production heavily influence major decision making on all levels of policy. In the US the Democratic party generally views the use of natural gas an unrealistic approach to combating energy demands and climate change. There opinions are based around the environmental harm that the fracking process produces along with the idea of becoming dependent on another fossil fuel rather than focusing on carbon free technology. Generally, Republicans view fracking as beneficial despite the environmental concerns. They fully promote the production of natural gas as it cleaner and more expensive than fossil fuels but also quite abundant and with large economic potential. Despite that fracking generally produces short-term economic benefits until the extraction is done and then that area experiences a severe decline in the economy. For the political parties of the UK it appears that the Liberal Democratic party is the most enthusiastic about fracking based on the Liberal Democratic Conference in 2013. The conservative party is less enthusiastic towards fracking but still promotes its implementation. While the Labour party feels strongly against fracking basing its ideals on little research of fracking and its consequences. They suggest a 12 month period to study the potential for fracking.
In the United States the potential for fracking is fairly high based on the large deposits found underneath the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. States such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania has high potential for extraction but limited resources in terms of the quantities of water needed for the extraction process. The United States has large quantities of natural gas providing great potential to significantly reduce foreign oil importation. Although the UK's oil fields peaked in 1990 and have since been in decline with ninety percent of oil production occuring off-shore in the North Sea. The potential for energy self-sufficiency for the UK from natural gas is significantly less as most domestic oil is not mature enough for extraction and newly discovered oil fields have not met the demand.
The key concerns of fraacking are similar in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Primary concern is based around the pollution of water, soil, and air in surronding regions where fracking has occured. Studies in both the US and UK have shown at least 8 volatile compounds such as Benzene that violate Federal Standards. Concerns have also been raised towards the waste management of fracking and the long-term effects such as radioactivity associated with fracking chemicals. Another large problem associated with fracking is the enormous quantities of water required to extract the gas that deplete aquifers at rates that never equal the rate of regeneration. Fracking contributes to a lot of dispute over private land rights as well. In the UK they are plans to frack literally underneath homes with no regards to land rights. The production and use of natural gas has proved to be a international issue that effects various undeniable rights such as private property, clean water, and proper disposal of waste chemicals. Although natural gas does provide the beneficial opportunity to develop cleaner and domestically produced energy while providing economic opportunites if managed properly keeping people and ecosystems in mind.
Public and media perceptions on fracking are influenced greatly by demographic and geographic regions. This can be seen in regions that have potential to be fracked generally people do not support fracking as they will have direct effects seen in their communities. While people from regions that have limited potential generally support fracking as they will reap the benefits and not the negative effects of fracking. Unfortunately media representations of fracking almost always correlate with public opinion whether the media is true or false. In general most people do not see fracking as a viable alternative to convential fossil fuels. Also the media focuses primarily on the negative effects of fracking such as water pollution.
The focus on realistic alternative to fossil fuels in general should be the main focus of developed nations such as the US and UK. Possible alternatives for both nations are biofuels developed not from corn but from native grasses and plants. This option is more likely for the United States. Although wind energy is realistic for the UK as they have large areas of coast with consistent winds. Unfortunatley the idea of drastically altering energy production is not realistic and continuous long-term efforts for renewable energy must be made to provide carbon free energy for the future.