October 13, 2014

When visiting nearby Arizona, I noticed gas prices have fallen quite a bit since last year. I drive a Volt, so I don't normally pay much attention to the price of gas, but when I see a dramatic change, I look and see who gets the credit. When prices were high, signs like this were seen everywhere.

Gas prices high: blame Obama of course!

The price of gas has little to do with presidential policies.
The price of oil and, in turn gasoline, is determined by international markets and the amount of domestic consumption has little effect. Booming global demand, especially from China, and tension in the Mideast, are far greater factors...The broader claim that Obama is to blame is off base.

Increased domestic production, higher reserve quantities and more natural gas production lowers prices. But is this a reason to celebrate? I suppose on an economic level, it is a relief to Americans who struggle to fill their tanks and heat their homes plus it lowers the cost of goods and services by lowering transport costs. But this irresponsible fossil fuel use and massive increase in hydraulic fracking has dire consequences.

We've seen the environmental disasters from oil exploration expansion, but the awful effects of fracking are undeniable. From a report generated by The Environment America Research & Policy Center report, Fracking by the Numbers, is the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking to date. The report measured key indicators of fracking threats across the country, including:
◦280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated in 2012—enough to flood all of Washington, DC, in a 22-foot deep toxic lagoon
◦450,000 tons of air pollution produced in one year
◦250 billion gallons of fresh water used since 2005
◦360,000 acres of land degraded since 2005
◦100 million metric tons of global warming pollution since 2005
Fracking also inflicts other damage not quantified in the report—ranging from contamination of residential wells to ruined roads to earthquakes at disposal sites.

You can't help but notice signs of change in our climate. In Arizona, not only can you buy cheaper fuel for your car, you can get lots of itchy, mosquito bites too. Oddly enough, the Phoenix area has felt the effects of not one hurricane, but three this season. In turn, the area's residents have been afflicted with far more mosquito bites, and I have personal experience confirming that. The number of calls for mosquito complaints has doubled since last year.

Man's impact on the environment is not a supposition, it is a reality. Droughts, fire, floods, more insect-borne disease, and more intense storms are just a few indicators that we are definitely having an impact on our environment. Reversing this disastrous inevitability requires a tremendous dedication to drastically altering the way we get our energy.

Since the effects of man-made climate change are visible to the naked eye, the idea that we may have already passed a critical tipping point threshold for our planet is incredibly scary. Global man-made climate change is a real reason to be afraid, not Ebola in America, not gay marriage. Climate change. Yet, there's not a peep from the right on this REAL problem.

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