The increase in earthquakes has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a process of injecting wastewater at high pressure into the Earth to force open existing fissures enabling workers to extract gas or oil. It enables producers to more efficiently and economically increase oil and natural gas production.
Oil and natural gas rich
No injuries were reported, and no buildings were toppled. But the sizable earthquake should be another signal for people to reduce their fossil fuel consumption.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil produces energy needed to power industries, homes and transportation. But it also produces greenhouse gases, which blanket the Earth preventing heat from escaping.
Global warming is causing the average temperature of the atmosphere to increase, melting polar ice, causing sea levels to rise and swamping coastal areas. Parts of the planet affected by droughts are increasing and with them more wildfires.
Storms also are more violent, causing more property damage, injuries and loss of life. Scientists with the
"Up to now, the oceans have shielded us from the worst impacts of climate change by absorbing most of the heat caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions, and capturing around a quarter of the carbon dioxide released," the report titled "In Hot Water" said. "The resulting ocean warming and acidification have added to other pressures on marine life, such as pollution and over-fishing, and the populations of many species are shrinking or shifting in response."
The comprehensive study found that the vast oceans on the planet since the 1970s had absorbed 93 percent of the heat from climate change, pulling down the heat that otherwise would have been felt on land. But in the process, it has changed the ecosystem of the oceans and the life it sustains.
Corral bleaching has increased threefold, and kelp forests in some areas have been wiped out. "Some fish are moving tens to hundreds of kilometers per decade," the report said.
Life in the sea is quickly shifting to cooler environments. "Ocean-based fisheries, tourism, aquaculture, coastal risk management and food security are all threatened by ocean warming combined with over-fishing and population growth," the report said. That directly affects people's ability to survive.
The warming of the waters also is increasing the production of pathogens worldwide, which also threatens humans.
This report, the earthquakes linked to fracking and the mounting evidence of climate change's devastating effects should spur more action by nations of the world to reduce their carbon footprint and shift to renewable energy sources before the world reaches the point of no return -- if it already isn't too late.
(c)2016 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.