Energy Agency Finds Safe Gas Drilling is Cheap – NYTimes.com
The International Energy Agency has issued a report that is essential reading for anyone interested in ensuring that the global boom in gas production facilitated by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is carried out with environmental integrity. The report, “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas,” builds an economic case for adopting practices and technologies that limit chances of water or air pollution and produce adequate transparency to gain public confidence.
Pursuing this approach, the report concludes, would add just seven percent to drilling costs. Unchanged practices could, by generating public distrust and resistance, limit the potential harvest.
As the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol (also the report’s lead author) put it in a statement, “If this new industry is to prosper, it needs to earn and maintain its social license to operate. This comes with a financial cost, but in our estimation the additional costs are likely to be limited.”
Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations notes the report is a rough sketch, and the costs of best practices and regulations could be higher or lower. But he largely endorsed its findings, as do I. [2:00 p.m. | UpdatedBrad Plumer* at the Washington Post has now weighed in, as well.]
Here’s a link to the presentation that accompanied the release of the report.