David Nabhan.


Calls to end fracking put our elderly population in jeopardy

Those calling for an end to everything — cars, meat, oil, aviation, coal, plastic, fracking —are naively appealing for no people as well, writes David Nabhan.

Calls to end fracking put our elderly population in jeopardy

Those calling for an end to everything — cars, meat, oil, aviation, coal, plastic, fracking —are naively appealing for no people as well, writes David Nabhan.

Britain has enacted yet another hydraulic fracking ban, this one aimed at the only remnant of the industry in the UK, the last well clinging to operation, the Preston New Rd site near Blackpool, north of Liverpool.

As British eco-extremists celebrate this latest nail in the UK’s energy coffin, it may be germane to point to the news regarding the “needless deaths” of some 3,000 elderly Britons every year, perishing from the exacerbation of health issues owing to their financial inability to properly heat their homes.

Studies carried out by the National Energy Action in the UK and E3G in Brussels concluded that Britain has a “cold home public health crisis”. Such is the desperate straits in which the aged in Britain find themselves, in futile attempts to somehow heat their domiciles while pinching pennies on energy bills.

This outrageous scandal hasn’t pushed protesters into the streets in the UK shouting slogans to save British pensioners by producing more natural gas to lower the price.

To the contrary the demonstrators are carrying anti-fracking placards calling for bans on hydraulic fracking which can only result in less abundant natural gas and even higher prices.

It should be incumbent upon the citizens of Ireland to sadly note what has happened to a formerly stalwart British culture which now consigns its elderly to freezing, pneumonic deaths by the thousands without the slightest demur rather than dare to question the anti-hydrocarbon hysteria running rampant in Europe — and on the US West Coast, currently blacking out California from one end of the state to the other.

Sober-minded Irish who hear incessant calls for knee-jerk bans on everything save the kitchen sink should take the time to envision the kind of dystopian nightmare which would ensue with the disappearance of just natural gas from the planet.

The image of the future with fracking prohibited everywhere, with natural gas gone from the planet, is a truly horrific vision of unparalleled disaster.

Every living thing requires fixed nitrates since the double-helices of the DNA in our chromosomes can’t be constructed without nitrogenous bases. For the entire duration of the history of life on Earth access to fixed nitrogen was an unbreakable ceiling for how much life could thrive on the planet.

Whatever was produced by the few genera of microscopic organisms, and through lightning strikes, determined the extent of the world’s larder.

Naturally generated fixed nitrogen, however, last year and every year only supports a population of approximately 3.8bn people, yet there are over 7.5bn of us, giving rise to one of the most astounding facts: Half of the nitrogen compounds of the DNA of the chromosomes of all 30 trillion cells in our bodies — half of it — is artificial, cooked up in ammonia factories around the world.

The simple fact is that half of us wouldn’t be here without the Haber process: Taking natural gas, steam,and the nitrogen in the air and converting it into ammonia, the precursor of fertilisers.

Some half a billion tonnes of fertiliser is produced via the Haber process every year, requiring almost 2% of the world’s energy and an astonishing 5% of the world’s natural gas production —two-thirds of which in the US is extracted by fracking.

That’s how the world is fed, so those calling for an end to everything —no cars, no meat, no oil, no aviation,no coal, no gasoline, no steel, noplastic, no methane, no fracking —are naively appealing for no people as well, or at least fewer than are currently walking the Earth now. Half would have to go.

Ireland should require no historical references back to the unthinkable consequences of what occurs when the agricultural underpinning of a nation is permitted to collapse.

The Irish were forced to learn that tragic lesson in the middle of the 1800s; we Americans got a taste of it ourselves during our 1930’s Dust Bowl era.

In any event, it seems that the Irish view has nonetheless become either cavalier or meek or both. Indeed,since 2010 the good citizens of Ireland have submitted to being saddled with “carbon taxes”, actually paying for the privilege of exhaling the carbon dioxide that every living creature has breathed out since the dawn of time.

And that doesn’t bode well for declaring that the day will never come when the Irish could sit by idly watching indifferently as their aged grandparents froze to death.

David Nabhan is a science columnist for Newsmax and the Times of Israel.

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