Lucy Nicholson / Courtesy Reuters A woman protests fracking in California, May 30, 2013.

Should We Frack?

Foreign Affairs' Brain Trust Weighs In

We at Foreign Affairs have recently published a number of articles about the shale revolution. Those articles sparked a heated debate, so we decided to ask a broader pool of experts to state whether they agree or disagree with the following statement and to rate their confidence level about that answer.

For the United States, the benefits of the shale revolution far outweigh the costs.


Full Responses

CARTER F. BALES is Chairman & Managing Partner of NewWorld, which he co-founded in June 2009.
Strongly Disagree, Confidence Level 10
All hydrocarbon energy sources are bad for the United States and bad for the world in that they produce CO2 and other noxious byproducts that are rapidly driving the world toward a climate disaster with the death of nature, the destruction of our infrastructure, and massive avoidable costs of trying to adapt to a new climate reality. The cost of not addressing the drivers of climate disaster are estimated at 10–20 times the costs of aggressively confronting the problem. Aside from the regrettable, short-term bias in the human brain and human institutions, we have the problem of massive government subsidies flowing in favor of the hydrocarbon industry and a lack of adequate support for new, scale-dependent clean energy technologies. High and growing carbon emissions make the future of the world a bleak one, with great pain for those least able to pay to improve their lives. This is a tragic case of bad policy.

RUTH GREENSPAN BELL is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Disagree, Confidence Level 7
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce and uncertain resource. We still don’t know enough to know how to assess the trade-offs between, on the one hand, shale development and the energy it produces and, on the other, the damage production does to water supplies. My second concern is that shale is advertised as a transitional energy source. However, we know that once big economic interests become developed and entrenched, they are notably

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