Thanks to fracking, we have a shale oil and gas boom here in the United States. The drilling technique has specifically made centuries worth of natural gas supplies available for exploitation by producers.
That means more natural gas is being used in our economy, displacing things like coal power, which has resulted in a tremendous drop in carbon emissions. A bigger drop, in fact, than has ever been accomplished by any bit of environmental action or public policy ever implemented (via Mark Perry):
Natural gas will cut U.S. carbon emissions by at least 300 million tons in 2012 alone. How much is 300 million tons? It is about equal to the entire annual carbon emissions of Pennsylvania or an amount a little less than 1% of annual global emissions. It’s a lot. No single change in the energy marketplace in the last decade has yielded more carbon reductions than the displacement of coal generation by natural gas.
The fact that the rise of natural gas has avoided more carbon than any other single change in the marketplace is proving inconvenient to those who bash gas. The rise of gas is also slashing sulfur dioxide, mercury, soot and other emissions that cause hundreds of thousands of illnesses each year. Ignoring these facts betrays our health, environment, and economy.
If you want to thank someone for cleaner air, don’t go to the EPA or Al Gore or Barack Obama or your nearest hybrid car dealer.
Thank a fracker.