Matt_TO83 said"The $2.3 million study was conducted by scientists at the University of Texas, with funding provided by nine energy companies, including Exxon Mobil, and one environmental group, the Environmental Defense Fund. A spokesman for the University of Texas said that while the companies contributed money to the study, they had no input on the research or results, which were subject to independent peer review before being published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, one the nation's most prestigious scientific journals.
A 2011 study by Cornell University researchers ignited opposition to fracking when it concluded that methane leaks from natural-gas wells actually made natural gas a more climate-unfriendly energy source than coal. Although Obama has championed natural gas as a low-carbon "bridge" fuel to the future, green groups cited the Cornell study as reason that natural gas could become a climate nightmare."
[sarcasm]I'm completely sure that businesses with trillions of dollars worth of money invested in a positive outcome on their behalf would have no affect on a study.[/sarcasm]
I'm not a left winger, in fact, I think the reality is that the more development we do the more damage we cause to the environment. It all started when we chopped down the first tree and burned it for fire. Where it ends, and how much of an impact it will have on our living conditions, only we will decide.
I do think any time you find studies, especially ones that affect business earnings and political decisions, you need to find out who wrote it, who funded it and who they're connected to personally and financially.
For instance, just googling one of Environmental Defense Fund partners finds that Frank E. Loy used to preside over an oil pipeline and oil refinery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_E._Loy.
While the group may have done good things for the environment in certain circumstance, when so much money is at stake I cannot sincerely trust business men to be the moral and ethical compass. I think there's been a whole new political angle on the rise (see Al Gore) of using the environment as a tool to control and manipulate government policies and public interest.
That's what peer review is for. I simply assume that there's going to be bias in most studies - the important thing is looking at the critiques of things like methodology or conclusions - otherwise the concerns come down to ad hominem attacks.
Yes, it is in fact possible and quite probable that industry funded research will bias industry - but when it comes to academic research and things like pharmaceutical research, industry tends to pull the research rather than attempt to influence results. On the other hand, regardless of how malicious a funder is, it doesn't mean the research is wrong. And most notably: “while the companies contributed money to the study, they had no input on the research or results, which were subject to independent peer review before being published in … one the nation’s most prestigious scientific journals.”
Finally no matter how you feel about fracking, the fact is that if your concerns are about Global Warming and have even the slightest concern about the middle east, then you should be pleased that it is because of these technologies that have made the US the world's leading oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and reducing its overall energy dependence on the despots and dictators in the middle east.