Home 2020 Election Fact Check: Jake Tapper Correctly Explains Fracking Reduces U.S. Emissions

Fact Check: Jake Tapper Correctly Explains Fracking Reduces U.S. Emissions


CLAIM: Fracking actually reduces U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, helping fight climate change.


Credit goes to CNN anchor Jake Tapper for one of the most honest statements made in any of the eleven Democrat debates in the 2019-20 election cycle: he explained, correctly, that hydraulic fracturing (“fracturing”), which has helped move the U.S. toward natural gas as an energy source, has reduced carbon dioxide emissions as a result.

Fracking involves injecting drilling fluids deep into rock formations holding oil and natural gas, which helps extract them from deposits that were not previously thought to be commercially or even physically viable for development. It has helped the U.S. tap into massive natural gas reserves, allowing utilities and transportation systems to move away from coal and petroleum-based fossil fuels and toward cleaner-burning, more efficient natural gas.

That, in theory, helps fight climate change by reducing the release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

U.S. emissions fell 2.1% in 2019, according to recent figures. That fact has been absent from much of the debate around climate change in the Democratic Party presidential primary, which has revolved around radical policies such as the “Green New Deal.”

Though only Sanders has embraced that policy, both Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have committed to eliminating fossil fuels and fracking.

Tapper asked Sanders at the Democrat debate on Sunday evening on CNN/Univision: “I want to talk to you about fracking. Because you want to ban fracking, which a method of extracting natural gas. The shift away from coal has resulted in reduced carbon emissions. So how can the U.S. transition to your targeted goal of zero emissions with fracking completely out of the picture?”

Sanders responded that the threat of climate change was so urgent that it needed “dramatic” solutions, such as “massive unprecedented investment” in wind and solar power.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.