Trashing the Planet for Natural Gas: Shale Gas Development Threatens Freshwater Sources, Likely Escalates Climate Destabilization

Author: Karen Charman

Introduction (excerpt): As the large, easy reservoirs of fossil fuels are exhausted, the capitalist machine is now scouring the earth in a frenzy to exploit sources that are much more difficult, risky, ecologically damaging, and expensive to extract. Natural gas from coalbed methane, shale, and tight gas sands; oil from tarsands or increasingly deep wells far below the ocean floor; and thin coal seams that are only “economic” for companies to exploit by blowing up whole mountaintops define the new era of fossil fuel extraction.All of these activities are destroying ever-larger swathes of land, ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them, greatly escalating the global ecological crisis that, if it continues unabated, will make the earth uninhabitable for life as we know it.

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(First published in Capitalism Nature Socialism in December 2011)

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