Synopses & Reviews
Constantly in the news and the subject of much public debate, fracking, as it is known for short, is one of the most promising yet controversial methods of extracting natural gas and oil. Today, 90 percent of natural gas wells use fracking. Though highly effective, the process-which fractures rock with pressurized fluid-has been criticized for polluting land, air, and water, and endangering human health.
A timely addition to Oxford's What Everyone Needs to Know® series, Hydrofracking tackles this contentious topic, exploring both sides of the debate and providing a clear guide to the science underlying the technique. In concise question-and-answer format, Alex Prud'homme cuts through the maze of opinions and rhetoric to uncover key points, from the economic and political benefits of fracking to the health dangers and negative effects on the environment. Prud'homme offers clear answers to a range of fundamental questions, including: What is fracking fluid? How does it impact water supplies? Who regulates the industry? How much recoverable natural gas exists in the U.S.? What new innovations are on the horizon? Supporters as diverse as President Obama and the conservative billionaire T. Boone Pickens have promoted natural gas as a clean, "21st-century" fuel that will reduce global warming, create jobs, and provide tax revenues, but concerns remain, with environmental activists like Bill McKibben and others leading protests to put an end to fracking as a means of obtaining alternative energy. Prud'homme considers ways to improve methods in the short-term, while also exploring the possibility of transitioning to more sustainable resources-wind, solar, tidal, and perhaps nuclear power-for the long term.
Written for general readers, Hydrofracking clearly explains both the complex science of fracking and the equally complex political and economic issues that surround it, giving readers all the information they need to understand what will no doubt remain a contentious issue for years to come.
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Fracking, a method of accessing natural gas and oil by fracturing rock with pressurized fluid, is one of the most hotly debated issues in America today. A process that has been used since the 1940s, fracking has recently been given a major boost as natural gas has been promoted as a clean, "21st-century" fuel -- one that helps reduce global warming, creates jobs, and provides tax revenues-- by everyone from President Obama to the conservative billionaire T. Boone Pickens. Today, 90 percent of natural gas wells use hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking," to extract gas trapped in subterranean rock formations. Though highly effective, the process has been criticized for polluting land, air, and water, and for impacting human health.
Aimed at a sophisticated lay audience, Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know tackles this contentious topic, looking at both sides of the debate as well as providing a clear guide to the science underlying fracking. Alex Prud'homme guides readers through the maze of opinions and rhetoric to uncover the key points on both sides, from the economic and political benefits of fracking to the health dangers and effect on the environment. Prud'homme explores the claims of the energy industry, which maintains that fracking creates jobs and provides energy independence for the US; he also considers the recorded health impacts and the ongoing study of the EPA into the effects of the method.
With an even-handed style and engaging voice, Prud'homme arms readers with the knowledge they need to understand the debate around hydraulic fracturing, and to enter the conversation themselves.
About the Author
has written for The New York Times
, The New Yorker
, Vanity Fair
, and Time
. He is the author of five books, including The Ripple Effect
: the Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century
, and the co-writer of Julia Child's bestselling memoir, My Life in France
Table of Contents
I. Energy in the 21st Century
II. Fracking Basics
III. Fracking Today
IV. Fracking Pros and Cons
V. Fracking Tomorrow