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Duke hosts climate roundtable on fracking

Environmental experts universally condemned Duke Energy’s movement towards the use of fracking in a climate roundtable Tuesday.

The event was co-sponsored by the Duke University Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and climate advocacy groups NC WARN and the Climate Times.

Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor of ecology and an expert on methane emissions from fracking, warned that fracking emissions are twice as harmful as emissions from coal.

“We need to stop this idea of natural gas as a bridge fuel; it’s a false promise, and we need to move to renewable energy as quickly as we can,” Howarth said. “I’m very pleased to deliver that message in North Carolina because Duke Energy really needs to get that message, and your community needs to help them see that.”

David Hughes works for the Geological Survey of Canada and is president of Global Sustainability Research, a sustainable energy consultancy. He believes the sustainability of hydraulic fracturing has been misrepresented by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Conventional wisdom has it that gas will be cheap for the foreseeable future and production will keep rising," he said.

But he said geology communicates a very different message.

Bill Powers, an engineer and analyst on topics of electrical transmission, said Duke Power should avoid fracking and move toward renewable energy sources.

“Local clean energy, especially solar power, is ready for prime time across the United States,” he said.

Rev. Rodney Sadler Jr. is not a scientist but said he sees moral implications of continued fracking in North Carolina.

Sadler suggested that the United States move towards a model based on renewable energy.

“Instead of raping the planet, taking from the planet, we are receiving freely from that which God gives us inherently," he said.

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