Let’s face it. Hysteria over global warming has largely petered out thanks both to the propensity for environmental zealots to blame everything on global warming and the stubborn refusal for global temperature trends to behave in a fashion predicted by the dire models produced by global warming alarmists.
Global temperatures have plateaued. No hint of an impending global warming apocalypse has manifested itself, and increasingly Americans (among others in the global community) are questioning global warming as the justification for major taxes, severe economic limitations and huge sums of money dumped into dubious “green energy” projects.
So the environmental left needs a new issue to rally the troops, and it seems that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is it. And using Google searches as a guide for the zeitgeist of this issue, it appears as though that hysteria may be getting some traction.
This year, for the first time, U.S. online searches for the term “fracking” became more popular than “climate change,” Google data showed. Fracking has doubled on Google’s popularity index since last year, and while “global warming” still draws more hits, the gap is narrowing.
Drinking water contamination is the leading environmental concern among Americans, according to Gallup polling data. A Bloomberg National Poll this month showed that 66 percent of Americans want more fracking regulation, up from 56 percent in September.
Hollywood is opening a front in the fight against fracking with Matt Damon’s new film Promised Land. Damon and his cohorts, who got the capital for their film from middle eastern oil interests who no doubt see America’s rise in domestic oil production as a threat to their businesses interests, want to do to fracking what Jane Fonda did to nuclear energy with The China Syndrome.
Which is to say, they want to knock if off the rails.
Forget that fracking has turned the energy industry into one of the few bright spots in America’s economy. Forget that fracking may have actually helped Obama win the election by softening the economic blow in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Forget that fracking is lowering energy prices dramatically, not to mention slashing America’s carbon outputs more than all the solar panels and wind turbines the government has subsidized into existence combined.
To understand why environmentalists hate fracking so much, you must also understand that the motivation behind a lot of environmental activism isn’t really the environment. We can, and should, have a debate about keeping our air, land and water clean. But “global warming” wasn’t about that. It was about control. If the environmentalists had succeeded in getting carbon, which is in the very air we exhale, regulated by the government they’d have their excuse to regulate everything. Because there is nothing we carbon-based lifeforms can do without emitting carbon.
But with the demise of global warming hysteria, that ship may have sailed. So it’s off to the next phony cause célèbre to be used as the instrument for restricting economic and social freedom.
Fracking isn’t just an oil industry technique. It is the basis for an energy revolution that is destroying long-held Malthusian notions about “peak oil” and energy scarcity. Fracking is changing the way we live our lives for the better, but it also means a shift away from the top-down energy policy that many claimed was necessitated by “peak oil” and “global warming.”
And the environmental left just can’t have that.