Thursday, July 17, 2014
Climate Thursday: Drilling for Lava? And "The End of the World"!
In other words, yes, people sometimes do need to be told. For example, we do need to have boundaries on where oil and gas drilling takes place. And I don't just mean being careful about draining aquifers from fracking or running the risk of contaminating wells--although those are pretty dumb things people are already doing. I mean things like deciding we need to drill for oil in Yellowstone Park.
There's a supervolcano under Yellowstone that hasn't gone off for some hundreds of thousands of years, but given that the area is geologically volatile, I'd say there's a good argument about avoiding making the land angry. Drilling for oil is bad enough without drilling for lava. (Although the gentleman from Wyoming isn't the first mook to suggest drilling in Yellowstone was perfectly viable, and I guess he won't be the last.)
But speaking of geological events--have you heard about the big-ass Siberian crater (depicted above)? I have a feeling that this will be determined to be a pingo, or methane blow-out of sorts. Pretty much every article I've read mentions that this is a gas-rich area, and that there are pipelines wending through this region. There are some definite not-smart things that are happening here which might be good lessons about why "well there's gas/oil/coal here" is not a good reason to go mucking about with Mother Nature. For one thing, melting permafrost is bad. Methane escapes from long-decayed matter anyway, but if underground ice melts causing craters, even more methane escapes, and that is a bad greenhouse gas. Any kind of pipeline spill in a region like this would be a nasty thing to clean up. And if you have ground shifting around, well--count on something happening to your pipelines. Also, they call this area "The End of the World"--but it really is lovely in its way. It's a shame for the land to ravaged for the sake of resources we will use in a matter of years, and deal with the consequences of for centuries.
But this is a part of that "unintended consequences" stubborn foolishness that humans have been engaging in over and over again. We know pipelines leak, we keep building them--the same way. We know from disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill that deep-sea oil-drilling has effects for folks on land--but we persist. Fracking activity in Oklahoma appears to be linked to a greater prevalence of temblors and quakes--but that won't slow down industry, will it?
We've lit fires from The Door the Hell to practically my backyard. There will be others, and sinkholes, too.
I don't think it's an unreasonable request that people stop to think about what they might be doing is it?