What is fracking? Public awareness of shale gas extraction is low

Jul 09, 2012 By Tara De Cozar

Public awareness of fracking – the method of extracting shale gas — is low, despite high levels of coverage of the controversial process in the media, a new study has found. And while people link fracking to earthquakes and water contamination, more than half of those questioned believe shale gas extraction should be allowed in the UK.

Three YouGov surveys carried out in March, April and June 2012 found that, even with the sustained coverage in the mainstream print and broadcast media, just 39-45% of respondents knew what shale gas was.

The research was funded by and carried out at The University of Nottingham, across the Schools of Geography, Sociology and Social Policy, and Politics and International Relations.

In the March survey just 38% of respondents correctly identified shale gas as being extracted by fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) from a list of real and imaginary fossil fuels. Around the same proportion (39%) were ‘don’t knows’, and 17% believed the fossil fuel was ‘coal’ — the next most popular choice after shale. 

Recognition rose some 7% to nearly 45% in the April survey, which was conducted shortly after the release of the Preese Hall Report (which concluded that fracking had caused earthquake activity, and resulted in a significant level of media interest and a flurry of reports) but this fell to just over 40% in the June survey.

The surveys also found that the vast majority of respondents who correctly identified shale gas associated the gas with earthquakes, with the figure rising from just under 59% in March to nearly 71% in April, but falling back to under 65% in the June survey. A significant number of people also associate shale gas with water contamination, although this figure dropped from 44.5% to less than 41% between March and April. It is clear that a significant proportion (around 44-45%) of the people surveyed do not consider shale gas to be a clean fuel.

Despite this, many respondents thought that fracking for shale gas is acceptable. In the June survey an additional question asked individuals who had identified shale gas to state whether they thought that extracting natural gas from shale should be allowed. Nearly 53% of all respondents were in favour with a further 20% stating that they did not know. Only 27% of our respondents stated that natural gas should not be extracted from shale. 

Sarah O’Hara, Professor of Geography at The University of Nottingham, led the study.

“The results are surprising,” she said “ has had a high profile in the media in recent months, but well over half of the population don't know what it is.”

“Moreover, there is clearly a lot of uncertainty about the potential impacts of shale gas on the environment and whilst there appears to be concern about its link to earthquakes and water contamination, most people do not know if it will have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions and those that express a view are fairly evenly divided as to whether it has a positive or negative impact.”

“Significantly shale gas is viewed as being a cheap energy source and over half the people who are familiar with shale gas believe we should be allowed to extract it in the UK.”

The full text of the report Shale gas extraction in the UK: what the people think is available online.

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User comments : 13

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NotParker
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 09, 2012
Shale Gas. Cheap. Clean. Plentiful.

Only idiots are against it.
MikPetter
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 09, 2012
Shale Gas = fracturing, potential seismic disruption, chemical injection, contaminated waste-water, unregulated fugitive emissions and a nett transfer of fossil carbon into the atmosphere... mmm sounds like a good thing??? I think folks should be more cautious. We need a better regulatory framework with better tools for assessing the real risks before they occur.
NotParker
1 / 5 (6) Jul 09, 2012
Shale Gas = fracturing, potential seismic disruption, chemical injection, contaminated waste-water, unregulated fugitive emissions and a nett transfer of fossil carbon into the atmosphere... mmm sounds like a good thing??? I think folks should be more cautious. We need a better regulatory framework with better tools for assessing the real risks before they occur.


And don't forget, fracking threatens the livelihoods of AGW Green Fraudsters selling the great con.
Howhot
5 / 5 (4) Jul 09, 2012
What is fracking? Fracking is another law suit waiting to happen. Fracking is another way for pollutors to pollute. Fracking is another way to get cracks in your wall (and have to pay the repair yourself). Fracking is removing CO2 from a sequester slumber and moving it into the atmosphere to become a green house gas.

NotParker
1 / 5 (2) Jul 09, 2012
Fracking has existed since the 1860s.

"On March 17, 1949, Halliburton performed the first two commercial hydraulic fracturing treatments in Stephens County, Oklahoma, and Archer County, Texas. Since then, hydraulic fracturing has been used to stimulate approximately a million oil and gas wells."

They key difference in modern fracking is better lubricants and combining it with horizontal drilling.

xen_uno
5 / 5 (1) Jul 09, 2012
When the companies involved won't divulge the chemicals used for freaking fracking, a red light ought to lite up in everyone's head. Are they sequestering toxic chemical waste this way? The only components of fracking fluid necessary are water, sand, and some biodegradable oil for the pumps. Anything else smacks of some other industry trying to unload toxic waste cheaply.

I'm sure even the supporters would take a closer look if a well were in their back yard .. Parker can you hear me?!?!
xen_uno
5 / 5 (2) Jul 09, 2012
Here Parker .. watch this ...

http://video.pbs....2296560/

... Gas Land documentary.
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2012
Here Parker .. watch this ...

http://video.pbs....2296560/

... Gas Land documentary.


Debunked.

http://www.energy...gasland/
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2012
When the companies involved won't divulge the chemicals used for freaking fracking


Texas Law says fracking fluids have to be divulged.

http://www.natlaw...hemicals

" Texas now requires the disclosure of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of oil and natural gas deposits. The disclosure rule, adopted on December 13, 2011, and codified at Rule 3.29 of Title 16 of the Texas Administrative Code, implements fracking disclosure legislation that the state enacted earlier in 2011. Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wyoming likewise regulate fracking through legislation or regulation. Given the increasing use of fracking techniques worldwide and heightened public scrutiny of industry practices, an increasing number of states are expected to adopt comparable laws and regulations."

xen_uno
not rated yet Jul 10, 2012
Gasland was made 2009-2010, and here's what Haliburton & BJ Services were doing that gave the producers of the show so much ammunition ...

http://www.nytime...wanted=1

Regarding your last link parker, you did see this right? ...

"This form includes information about the chemicals and volume of water used in a fracking treatment, as well as other well-related information. Not required to be disclosed are chemicals: (1) not disclosed to the supplier, service company or operator; (2) not intentionally added to the fracking treatment; (3) that occur incidentally or are otherwise unintentionally present; and (4) eligible for trade secret protection"

... #4 is exactly how they got out of disclosure and thus liability, thru the 2000's.

Gasland is accurate for the times it covered. The film brought attention to fracking and needed reform. BTW I'm not blind to the effects of coal mining.
xen_uno
not rated yet Jul 10, 2012
Here's what congress did in 2005 ...

"The natural gas companies insist that the millions of gallons of poisoned water left underground or collected in huge open pits pose no threat to watersheds. In a move that suggests the drilling may not be as benign as they contend, however, these companies ensured that in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress exempted the natural gas industry from complying with the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Right-to-Know Act"

... on a federal level they may STILL be exempt. Given that fed laws trump state laws, you tell me in a game of push and shove who wins.

http://www.theoil...ode/6635 (comments section)

George Bush Jr and that session of congress easily the worst politicians ever in modern times. They also gave us the freedom numbing Patriot Act, FYI.
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2012

Texas Law says fracking fluids have to be divulged.

Feel free to query the database

http://webapps.rr...13576104

SatanLover
not rated yet Jul 14, 2012
Shale Gas = fracturing, potential seismic disruption, chemical injection, contaminated waste-water, unregulated fugitive emissions and a nett transfer of fossil carbon into the atmosphere... mmm sounds like a good thing??? I think folks should be more cautious. We need a better regulatory framework with better tools for assessing the real risks before they occur.

shale gas can be a good short-term solution for developing renewables. if only done properly but in practice it nearly never is.