The Onion Skewers The Boom in Fracking PR Spin

Wed, 2012-05-09 11:54Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

The Onion Skewers The Boom in Fracking PR Spin

In typically grand fashion, satirical news source The Onion has skewered the rise of misleading PR bankrolled by the oil and gas industry to defend the dangerous practice of fracking.
Although the piece is not “real” news, anyone could be forgiven for taking it as fact since it isn't far fetched at all.

Head over to The Onion to read the entire (short) piece, “Fracking Industry Now Largest Employer of Recent PR Graduates.”

Here is an excerpt featuring a manufactured quote that is pretty spot on:

“These days, media-savvy professionals who know how to publicize questionable scientific data in order to downplay the environmental dangers of forcing toxic fluids into the ground can pretty much write their own ticket,” said Bart Hobijn of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, adding that this year at least 2,500 graduating seniors will be put to work obfuscating the levels of carcinogens in groundwater. “And in the long term, the job demand will only increase. Fracking has become a high-growth sector in which there is an extraordinary amount of spinning to be done.” 

It would be funnier if it weren't so true.

The only thing missing is a reference to the industry's use of military psychological warfare tactics to intimidate citizens and divide communities.

Perhaps they didn't find that fair grounds for humor since it's such a devastating indictment of the oil industry's unethical behavior? 

Comments

How about a look at the environmental effects of the wind turbine industry? Killing rare rapters, flickering light, noise, toxic extraction of special metals overseas, to say nothing of expensive subsidized costs, all to intermittently produce a piddly 3% of our electricity?

Gas is actually providing affordable power and producing less CO2 than dirty coal plants. A lot of the claims against fracking look dubious to me, like the stupid "Gasland" movie.

...is ignorance bliss?

 

Why not look up some facts yourself and post them here.

It makes you look smarter than you do now, and you may just make an actual contribution to our society.

How about all the environmental effects from all the wind turbines in the entire nation is a drop in the Gulf compared to the devastating effects of a single BP oil rig disaster?

Perspective, Canman, perspective.

For every large wind farm that is built they need to build a backup gas or coal fired plant just to cover the days when the wind is too light (or too strong).

And don't even get me started on feed-in tarrifs!

As they say these days, N.I.M.B.Y.  !!!!!

 

If you build a coal plant you have to run it at capacity and throw away all the extra power that doesn't get used.  Its also really hard to deal with sudden ramp ups.  So... that makes coal\oil\gas extremely wasteful, right?  Run it and throw it away.  Thats what you want?  Right?

Now maybe the electrical companies where you work are full of simpletons.  But they aren't stupid here.  Most wind in Alberta comes from Windermere.  (Yes... its named like that 'cause its windy!)   So to get a feel for the area, its all active producing farm land full of windmills.  No land loss, and lots of power.

Anyways, you adjust your designs to suit your needs.  If you have less sun (Canada) you need larger solar farms, etc.  If you live in a country where everyone turns on an electric kettle after the prince gets married (Britain) you fire up every available power plant 2 hours before he says, "I Do".

 

All this talk about backups also misses the point that both wind solar and fossil suffer from a similar problem with the same solution.  We build all electrical grids to deal with peak capacity.

 

Big 'ol batteries put a horrific dent in how many power plants you need to build;

(Half as many, a quarter as many?)

Donald Sadoway is working on a 2MWh battery that fits in a shipping container.

http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy.html

Bill Gates has also noted this issue as well;

http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html

 

Speaking of Nimby... no one builds next to power plants.  No one.  You know those power lines that head off into the woods?  They go to power plants.

those large batteries are very expensive so only used in rather special situations.  They'll not take up the slack when the wind stops blowing for 6 weeks due to a rare blocking high.

... the modern world is moving to B.A.N.A.N.A.: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

chas, already existing nat gas plants & hydro can rapidly ramp-up & down as needed to backup wind until we get a sufficient number of wind farms & solar plants in various regions interconnected via an upgraded smart grid.

And don't even get us started on fossil-fuel funded fake grassroots subversion campaigns.

As we say these days, A.T.I. !!!!!

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/09/480747/memo-group-create-fake-grassroots-wind-subversion-campaign-appear-as-a-groundswell/

And in Europe, solar PV is growing twice as fast as wind & nat gas combined.

"Installations of photovoltaic panels in the region surged 63 percent to 21.9 gigawatts, surpassing all new wind and gas-fired power capacity combined, a report set to be presented today by the [EPIA] trade group shows. Wind and gas plants connected in 2011 amounted to about 9.5 gigawatts each, it said."

While worldwide solar power installations approached 30 Gigawatts during 2011 & may reach 20 to 41 GW during 2013 & 39 to 77 GW in 2016.

"Global installations reached 29.7 gigawatts last year, compared to 16.8 gigawatts during 2010, the new report shows. Italy and Germany accounted for 60 percent of this market with 9.3 and 7.5 gigawatts, respectively.... The [EPIA] sees new global solar capacity of about 20.6 to 41.4 gigawatts in 2013, rising to between 38.8 and 77.3 gigawatts in 2016."

Solar Is Europe’s Most-Installed Power Source

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-08/solar-becomes-europe-s-most-installed-power-source-lobby-says.html

This thread about a The Onion piece has certainly been derailed in the comments.

Sorry to derail this thread (Although, I don't think it's that bad of a derail), but it just irks me to see gas get nitpicked to death, while wind gets a free ride.

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