To cool the planet, fracking must be prohibited, organizations say

Fracking in New Mexico

Fracking in motion in northwestern New Mexico. | Credit: Mike Eisenfeld/WildEarth Guardians / Creative Commons.

December 10, 2015

In the framework of COP21, a coalition of Latin American civil society organizations is urging world leaders meeting in Paris to ban fracking in their countries. By emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases, the process itself goes against the central objective of the climate negotiations: stopping global warming. 

Paris, France. In a public statement directed at Member States of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, organizations and allies of the Latin American Alliance On Fracking asked that all fracking activities be banned due to the fact that, among other impacts, hydraulic fracturing emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

During the cycle of extracting, processing, storing, transferring, and distributing unconventional hydrocarbons using fracking, methane gas is released into the atmosphere. Methane is 87 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as an agent of global warming, the group explained in their statement.

The document will be presented this Friday December 11 at 10 a.m. (local time) at the Climate Action Zone by: Alianza Mexicana contra el Fracking; Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad; the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA); Food & Water Watch; Freshwater Action Network Mexico; the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; Instituto Brasileiro de Analises Socias e Economicas (IBASE); and Observatorio Petrolero Sur (OpSur). 

The organizations discuss the current state of hydraulic fracturing in Latin America. Although the use of the experimental technique is contrary to national and international commitments to reduce emissions, several countries in the region – among them Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia – have begun exploration or exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons through fracking. 

“Fracking is advancing blindly in Latin America, with no comprehensive long-term studies on the risks and serious damage that it could cause to the health of people and the environment,” said Ariel Pérez Castellón, attorney at AIDA.

“Operations of this kind in the region have failed to respect fundamental human rights, including the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent; the right to participation and social control; and the right to information,” added Milena Bernal, attorney with the Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad.

According to the organizations, fracking is advancing quickly into indigenous and rural communities, urban neighborhoods, and even Natural Protected Areas. It has caused the displacement both of people and of productive activities such as farming and agriculture, because their coexistence with this technique is impossible.

Rejection of fracking has grown in parallel with its spread in operations. “The proof of this resistance are the national and international networks opposing this technique, including more than 50 municipalities that have banned it in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay,” said Diego di Risio, researcher at Observatorio Petrolero Sur.

“As part of our statement, we urge the Member Parties of the Convention to: sign a binding agreement that quickly and effectively reduces greenhouse gases and incorporates human rights into the legal text; apply the precautionary principle to ban fracking; and promote renewable energies and disincentivize the extraction of fossil fuels,” stated Claudia Campero Arena, researcher at Food & Water Watch, and Moema Miranda, director of Ibase.  

Read the full statement from the Latin American Alliance on Fracking here.


“The fight against fracking in Latin America: experiences in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico”

Simultaneous translation in English and French

Friday December 11, 2015

Climate Action Zone

Centquatre, 5 rue Curial, Paris (Métro Riquet)