Thanks Fracking: Carbon Emissions At Their Lowest Levels Since 1992


In a column for The Detroit News, Professor Mark Perry writes about efforts by college students at campuses across the nation aimed at convincing university officials to divest their endowments of investments in companies involved with producing energy from fossil fuels.

“[C]ollege students are once again at the vanguard of a national movement to force colleges and public pension funds to participate in a political cause, this time against global warming, by diverting all their endowment holdings away from large fossil-fuel companies,” writes Perry.

This seems foolish for two reasons. First, global temperature trends don’t seem to be following any of the dire models global warming alarmists created as proof of this supposed crisis. Despite the self-assurance of environmental activists, and even many scientists, it remains to be seen if the “climate change crisis” is a crisis at all.

Second, thanks in large part to innovations in the fossil fuel energy markets, carbon emissions in America are actually falling already. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing (which, for many environmental activists, is the new global warming) America has opened up oceans of previously unreachable natural gas reserves. In turn, natural gas is replacing coal as a cheap and reliable source of electrical generation.

That has caused US carbon emissions to fall to their lowest level since 1992, meaning that for many of these college students US carbon emissions are at the lowest point in their lifetimes.


That drop in emissions is possible, in part, thanks to the investments in fossil fuel companies which these students oppose. Without capital, fossil fuel companies wouldn’t have been able to develop the technology and techniques needed to unlock centuries worth of oil and gas reserves locked away in shale formations around the country.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Roy_Bean

    Or, in the words of Adam Smith in 1776, “By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”

  • bryan

    “America has opened up oceans of previously unreachable natural gas reserves. In turn, [ In turn, companies are producing millions of gallons of salty, chemical-infused wastewater, known as brine, as part of the fracking process. Drillers are supposed to inject this material thousands of feet underground into disposal wells, but how much of it is making it that far?

    • Lynn Bergman

      Would you rather Minnesota use it on highways? That could be arranged.

    • Rob

      The fracking waste water is 99% sand and water, with 1% chemicals (usually diesel fuel and some others).

      The threat from that waste water is overstated.

      • realitybasedbob

        How many tens of millions of gallons of toxic waste does that 1% represent?
        How many gallons does it take to turn a water supply into cancer juice?

      • bryan

        How does ND regulate illegal dumping?

      • bryan

        One mishap on one day in July, 2011:

        How many spills, leaks, etc, don’t even get reported?

  • WOOF

    The reduction of CO2 emissions corresponds
    to the 2008 collapse of the economy.
    Natural gas consumption increased approximately 4%.
    CO2 Emmissions went down 20% …2008-12

    • HG

      We’re at 1992 levels. That is far below 2008 levels, and yet consumption isn’t down 20%. Sounds like the market is moving us away from higher emissions.

    • camsaure

      So, is that why you are so gleefull about the downtturn? I always thought it was because you really did know, deep down that it would help in the lefts progessivism towards marxism.

    • Rob

      You might have a point…if we C02 levels were only down to 2008 levels. But we’re down to 1992 levels, with consumption levels far above that.

      Whoever charged you money for your college degree robbed you blind, poodle.

      • flamemeister

        Easy enough to do when it’s a mail-order degree.