Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Wed, 11th Sep 2013

Get the Frack Out of Here...

Shale gas drilling rig (c) Ruhrfisch on Wikimedia Commons

Will fracking bring down energy prices and keep our lights on, or could it be an environmental disaster? Kate Lamble and Ginny Smith speak to a panel of experts about whether fracking could really contaminate water supplies or cause earthquakes. Plus, can methane from Shale Gas extraction contribute to global warming? In the news, whether a country's hygiene is linked to their Alzheimer's rates, why we feel so good when we cheat and how to spot a pregnant panda...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 00:58 - Hygiene and Alzheimer's

    Does hygiene levels explain why developed countries have much higher rates of Alzheimers than developing ones?

  • 03:29 - Do cheats have a guilty conscience?

    Although people predict that they will feel guilty after cheating, those who cheat actually feel better afterwards than those who donít.

  • 06:00 - Car Cooking Skyscraper

    The 'Walkie Talkie' in London has been damaging cars this week by acting as a parabolic reflector, targeting the sun's rays on passers by...

  • 08:32 - Models of livestock disease

    Environmental campaigners are worried about a badger cull intended to restrict the spread of TB. But what can models tell us?



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Why should anything reduce energy prices? As long as there is a market, stuff sells for the highest price anyone is prepared to pay. There are so many steps between initial extraction and retail that the final cost has very little to do with the primary cost. There is no real competition to sell - when the price of crude oil increases, all retail suppliers increase their prices within a few days, even though today's crude won't be on sale to the public for at least a year, and if nobody bought the crude at today's inflated price, it would be cheaper tomorrow. And for as long as people believe the myth about global warming, most of what you pay is a very populist tax.  alancalverd, Mon, 16th Sep 2013

Fracking is very controversial in the US as well. An interesting series of articles is available here: Elisha, Mon, 16th Sep 2013

Most of the cost of many, if not most, fuels was tax long before anyone thought of global warming.
The energy market is hugely distorted but not having to transport fuel halfway round the world would help reduce price pressure and economics 101 tells you that if the supply increases, the price falls.
If, as most of the scientists who study the actual evidence believe, burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming then burning gas from fracking will raise the world's temperature and that's a bad idea.
If more than a small fraction of that gas escapes then it will offset any possible gain due to the relatively low CO2 yield per KW Hr of gas.

This is a way for energy companies to continue with "business as usual" and should be recognised as such.

We can't keep doing that. Bored chemist, Mon, 16th Sep 2013

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