Right now, the single most important thing we can do to slow climate change is to cut methane emissions from fracking operations.
I think of methane as a tripwire into climate catastrophe. It is FAR more dangerous and faster-acting than carbon. Methane is a super-pollutant.
I was moved by the title of Pope Francis’ climate encyclical: The Care of Our Common Home. How inspiring: The idea of a common home, for which we, each of us, is responsible. Beautiful in theory — how does it work in practice?
Here’s an example I’ve been pondering:
Environmentalists in New York state fought hard to ban fracking — and won. I’m glad there won’t be yet more more long-term, expensive investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.
However, New York state is the fourth-largest consumer of natural gas in the country. It gets, by a wide margin, most of its energy from natural gas.
That means that in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Texas — everywhere fracking happens — people are suffering from the effects of pollution, while we power our lives with natural gas. In many states that supply natural gas, politicians and industry push back against regulations to stop wasteful and dangerous methane leaks — even though the fixes are simple, affordable, and sensible.
This isn’t right.
Cleaning up our current dirty energy supplies — right now — is crucial work.
We are all in this together. Our work is not done until everyone gets to breathe cleaner air. Until everyone is caring for our common home.