Fact Check: Actually, Fracking Helps Reduce Carbon Emissions

TOPSHOT - British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, dressed as an angel, poses with other anti-fracking activists, dressed as Joseph, and the three wise men, as the demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on December 18, 2018. - Anti-fracking activists, including Talk Fracking, of …
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty

CLAIM: Fracking is a “transitional fuel” at best, and contributes to the problem of climate change.

VERDICT: False. Fracking has helped the U.S. reduce emissions while growing its economy.

NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked candidates in the Democrat debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, whether they would eliminate fracking. He asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who wants to end it within five years, what he would tell workers in the energy industry who might lose their jobs. And he asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) if her slower approach was risky, given that scientists were “sounding the alarm.”

Both the moderator and the candidates accepted the premise that fracking makes climate change worse.
In fact, fracking — or “hydraulic fracturing,” in more technical terms — has helped the U.S. reduce its carbon emissions by allowing the energy industry to harness vast reserves of clean-burning natural gas.

Last year alone, U.S. emissions fell by 2 percent, in the midst of an economic boom where Americans were producing and consuming more, thanks to a switch from coal to natural gas, much of it made available through fracking. The shift to renewable energy is a minor factor compared to natural gas. The U.S. is virtually unique among all industrial economies in achieving this environmental, economic feat.

Fracking is only “transitional” if the ultimate goal — as even “moderate” billionaire Michael Bloomberg said — is to move to “all renewables.” But given that the goal of “all renewables” is still a fantasy, the fact remains that fracking is, provably, part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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