In the first half, Peak Oil educator and fossil fuel critic, Richard Heinberg, discussed the problematic aspects of fracking as an energy resource. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a technique of drilling or injecting fluid into the ground (particularly shale) at high pressure, creating fissures in which oil and gas flow out of the formation. There are a number of environmental issues associated with the procedure, including contamination of drinking water, he reported, though industry proponents claim that fracking is safe. Where there are environmental and human health problems, the first thing the fracking industry tries to do is settle out of court with the people involved, stipulating non-disclosure agreements, Heinberg detailed. "That's why it's been difficult to document some of these instances," he added.
Over the past few years, enormous claims have been made regarding fracking-- that it could lead the US to become energy independent with an abundance of oil. Heinberg and his associates who studied the actual data of the wells, disputed these assertions, and found that most of the production will peak by 2020, and start to decline after that. All across fracking lands in such states as Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, hundreds of anti-fracking groups have formed. Many small landowners who are dismayed by the noise, fumes, and tainted well water near their property are banding together to push for regulation or the halting of the procedure, Heinberg shared. He also spoke about the consequences of Peak Oil, and how the economy will shrink as cheap energy becomes less available.
In the latter half, Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D discussed how coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the Sun unleashed discharges upon Earth which triggered massive earth and climate changes, and decimated civilizations which predated Egypt. It's a misconception that the lull in current solar activity protects us from the possibility of major flares or large CMEs, he commented. The sun has shown some relatively unstable patterns, and the Carrington Event of 1859 (which damaged telegraph wires) happened during a fairly quiet cycle, he noted. Schoch speculated that solar outbursts are what brought the last Ice Age to an end around 9700 BC.
He reported on his recent visit to Easter Island, where he learned that the natives of the island were said to retreat to underground caves during periods of harsh conditions which may have been related to solar outbursts. He also discussed his research at the mysterious Gobekli Tepe site in Turkey, as well as a yet unexplored underground chamber found in front of the Sphinx's paw in Egypt. He expressed concern that this chamber, which might house the legendary Hall of Records, could be flooded due to changes in the climate and the water table. Among Schoch's upcoming events is the Ancient Alien Cruise in January (also featuring David Hatcher Childress and Hugh Newman) that will explore Mayan ruins in the Yucatan.