Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by someone holding two or more contradictory values at the same time.
Like Sir Michael Bloomberg, Her Majesty’s honorary knight and soon to be mayor of London, who, inside the same 24-hour news cycle, made headlines with the $30 Million he donated to the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign, while criticizing NY state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing, describing the rule as “misguided.”
In other words, when you dig underground to discover coal—that’s a bad thing, but when you dig and destabilize the ground, and flood the water table with contaminants—that’s a good thing?
Those two seemingly contradictory ideas seem to reside quite comfortably in the mind of billionaire Mike Bloomberg.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling process that unlocks enormous reserves of natural gas and oil across the U.S., but has had a serious environmental impact, in polluting our drinking-water.
We’ve all seen those clips where flames are shooting out of people’s kitchen faucets in areas near farcking sites.
Then there are those pesky earthquakes. According to USGS, within the central and eastern United States, the number of earthquakes has increased dramatically over the past few years, from 21 earthquakes of magnitude three and larger between the years 1973–2008, to an average of 99 M3+ earthquakes per year in 2009–2013.
This rate continues to rise. In 2014, alone, there were 659 M3 and larger earthquakes.
Are these earthquakes natural, or man-made? Well, USGS is not certain for now whether the dramatic increase in earthquake comes from the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells in several locations, including Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Ohio, or from fracking, or both. They don’t yet have the fracking smoking gun—but who wants to wait until they know for sure?
Bloomberg said the economic and health benefits of natural gas, especially compared with other fossil fuels like coal, outweigh the potential health impacts, which he says could be prevented with tough regulation. Which is true enough, but what if the ground sinks under our homes in the process?
The $30 million gift from Bloomberg to the Sierra Club, announced Wednesday, follows a $50 million gift in 2011 through 2014.
“It will help us continue to run the largest campaign in the Sierra Club’s history and we think one of the most important in our history, ” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told National Journal.
“Every time we retire a coal plant and replace it with clean energy, that means we are cutting carbon, cutting air and water pollution, increasing the amount of clean energy on the grid, and increasing the amount of jobs at the same time, ” Brune said.
That would be a good feeling, removing those nasty coal burning plants, replacing them with natural gas burning plants, and then watching them going down in an earthquake…