Natural gas fracking: big trouble or bridge fuel?

Engineers look at the Cuadrilla shale fracking facility on October 7, 2012 in Preston, Lancashire.

Michael Levi

Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Booming production of North American shale gas – through the controversial drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is overtaking our energy conversation, overturning our old assumptions.



If you need to understand what has happened to U.S. natural gas production, just look at this chart:


Among other predictions, proponents of the technology are suggesting natural gas can move us away from a high-carbon era of coal-based electricity, and towards a zero-carbon renewable future. In other words, transition from coal to natural gas to renewables. Meaning that coal is beginning and renewables are the end point. Natural gas as bridge fuel.

In our podcast we asked energy and climate senior fellow Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, who has a new paper out on the topic, to truth squad that idea.

Also in the Petro-State podcast: the week's Energy Numbers. And we play BS Detector with Levi, asking him to expose myths on either side of the natural gas/fracking debate.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

Michael Levi

Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


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