Robert Howarth

Cornell University

Guest

Robert Howarth on KCRW

In the past ten years, gas trapped in shale rock deep under Earth's surface has leaped from two percent to 30 percent of America's natural gas production.

Does 'Fracking' Have a Future?

In the past ten years, gas trapped in shale rock deep under Earth's surface has leaped from two percent to 30 percent of America's natural gas production.

from To the Point

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66 million years ago, an asteroid caused Earth’s Fifth Extinction, destroying the dinosaurs and most other life forms. Now Earth is facing another extinction, as fish, plants and animals vanish forever. But this time, it’s not the asteroid, it’s us. This week, hundreds of people, both young and old, took to the streets in cities all over the world to begin weeks of protest called the Extinction Rebellion. In the natural course of evolution, the decline and disappearance of a life form takes thousands of years. In the course of a human lifetime, not even one species might disappear. But now, some 28,000 species are vanishing all of a sudden. Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker magazine has written a book called “The Sixth Extinction.” She says, “Extinction rates are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times higher than what is known as the background extinction rate that has pertained over most of geological history.” In her words, “You should not be able to see all sorts of mammals -- to name just one group -- either going extinct or on the verge of extinction. And that is a tipoff that something very, very unusual, and I would add, very dangerous, is going on.” “We’re running geological history backwards. Fossil fuels that were created over the course of hundreds of millions of years buried a lot of carbon underground. We’re now combusting it, putting that carbon back into the atmosphere over a matter of centuries. So we’re taking a process that hundreds of millions of years to run in one direction and then, in a matter of centuries, running it in another direction.” We’ll hear what that means now and for the future of life as we know it.

from To the Point

Fire season now lasts all year long in Southern California, and residents of Topanga Canyon have set an example for how to get ready. Volunteers are on the alert to help their neighbors, save their homes and protect their animals, or to evacuate.

from To the Point

Facial recognition software is touted as making us safer. Is it worth the risk of misidentification -- and the violation of privacy?

from To the Point

Starting October 29, LAX won’t allow curbside pickup from companies like Uber and Lyft.

from Greater LA

More adults are living with their parents now than they have in more than a century. It’s a third of all adults under 34. But in Los Angeles, it’s more than 40% .

from Greater LA

Trump’s sometimes, maybe lawyer Rudy Giuliani clearly needs an attorney himself as the investigations involving the former New York City mayor mount.

from LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers

Experts worldwide are trying to tackle climate change with radical proposals, but one thinker is advocating for a more moderate approach.

from Scheer Intelligence

A gripping documentary documents the surprising role drug cartels and illegal traffickers are playing in the looming extinction of a rare whale.

from Scheer Intelligence

Testimony this week added a lot of detail.

from Left, Right & Center