Fidel Castro Speaks: Opposes Shale Revolución

As you might recall, news reports over the past year have highlighted how once and future Russian president Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, is trying to undermine the development of oil and natural gas from shale, rightly regarding these massive new supplies of energy as a direct and growing threat to his hegemony in the region.

And now it appears that the revolutionary offspring of the Soviet Union — Fidel Castro’s Cuba — is also joining the ranks of opposition to shale development. Reuters reports that Castro, in a recent column that he penned over the holidays, suggests that shale development will lead to an “inexorable march toward the abyss.” The Cuban dictator arrived at this position after digesting what we here in the States refer to as “debunked talking points.” From the Reuters piece:

Shale gas production is criticized in some quarters because it requires extensive “fracking,” which uses water, sand and chemicals to fracture the rock where the gas is trapped to allow it to flow out of the well. Fracking, opponents say, contaminates groundwater sources and can cause other problems.

Castro sided with the critics, quoting reports on the negative effects of fracking and research that said shale gas emits more greenhouse gases than gas produced from conventional wells.

Statist regimes are known for their isolation and reluctance to accept facts and data from other parts of the world, especially information that would undermine the regime’s ideological, often plutocratic bent. In this case, though, it appears the Bearded One is involved in a little bit of cherry-picking — grabbing talking points off opposition websites without taking the time to research the issue the whole way through.

To wit: Castro makes reference in his column to the GHG profile of the development of energy from shale, a direct reference to a study issued last year by the Park Foundation-funded “scientists” at Cornell — a paper that has been debunked more thoroughly than geocentricity. Had Castro done his homework, he would’ve known that report rests on such shoddy ground that the authors’ own colleagues took issue with its findings, noting that Howarth and Ingraffea use “implausibly high leakage rates” and “dismiss the impact of existing technology” for reducing emissions.

Castro also expresses concern about water contamination from oil and natural exploration — perhaps forgetting that his country has leased thousands of onshore acres out to foreign companies over the past five years to help the regime develop its own resources domestically. But the facts clearly show that hydraulic fracturing is safe and does not present a credible risk for water contamination. Regulators from nearly a dozen states have affirmed the safety of hydraulic fracturing, as has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on numerous occasions.

For nearly forty years, Cuba and the Soviet Union joined hands across the Atlantic to oppose western civilization. The private sector became the bête noire for both countries, with Cuba and the USSR consistently looking for evidence that would undermine economic freedom (they failed). But with the fall of the Soviet Union, the legitimacy of communism also crumbled under the weight of a superior economic model: the market economy. The ideological link between Russia and communist Cuba was strained, if not completely severed.

But shale development represents a new bond between Cuba and Russia, a source of joint opposition that is, once again, premised on nothing more than flawed logic and a commitment to undermining a superior (and safer) economic system.

As they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.



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