Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo has joined a group of scientists calling on the US to ban hydraulic fracturing because of its possible negative consequences on the climate and the environment.
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The actor, a long time fracking opponent, said during the release of a new report by Food & Water Watch called The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking, that he believed president Barack Obama should promote clean energy to make America the world’s leader in the sector, ahead of next week’s UN climate summit.
“By stopping this fracking, it doesn’t mean that we have to go backwards – we don’t have to take an economic hit or lose jobs,” he said.
“It means moving forward with clean energy, the power of the 21st century.”
The new report explains that a ban on fracking is needed for a series of issues, including waste disposal, use of dangerous chemicals, possible methane leakages, methane emissions that worsen global warming, community disruption and hazardous spills.
Extraction of shale gas through the controversial technique of fracking has been a pillar of US energy policy over the past few years. The Obama administration has in fact promoted shale gas as a reliable transition fuel to improve energy security and thousands of wells appeared throughout the country.
However, many cases of leaks and water contamination were reported. In Texas and Pennsylvania, several extraction sites came under scrutiny for water contaminated with methane, although it has been recently said that the issue was not caused by fracking but by faulty wells.
In addition to the risks deriving from methane emissions, which can accelerate global warming, fracking has also been criticised because of the excessive amount of water needed for its operations. A recent study revealed that nearly 40% of shale gas sites are in arid or water-stressed regions.
Photo: Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations via Flickr