We’re excited to welcome renowned scientist Robert Howarth as the newest member of Food & Water Watch’s board of directors. Howarth is an Earth systems scientist and ecosystem biologist at Cornell University, and he’s been influential and vocal in debunking claims about the climate benefits of fracking.
Fracking is a massive source of pollution – not only of toxins in our air and water, but of greenhouse gases that worsen climate change. Howarth is among the first scientists to recognize this fact, authoring several studies linking fracking to climate change. As the fracking industry continues to claim that fracked gas could serve as a climate-friendly “bridge fuel,” the voices of independent scientists like Howarth are critical in providing a counterpoint in the form of studies unbiased by industry funding. His work shows that the release of methane, a greenhouse gas far worse than carbon dioxide over the short-term, makes fracking damaging to our climate.
Howarth’s influence on the knowledge of how fracking impacts our climate has been huge. In 2011, he published the first comprehensive analysis of the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas in Climatic Change Letters and an invited commentary on shale gas in Nature. This work was cited in over 1,500 newspapers globally, winning him an honorable mention as one of “50 People Who Matter” in the annual Time Magazine Person of the Year issue for 2011.
As we welcomed him at our recent board meeting, the excitement was mutual. “I’m pleased to join the board of an organization that is uncompromising in its work highlighting the risks that fracking holds for our climate,” Howarth said. “As the first national organization to join the grassroots in a call to ban fracking, it has helped bolster the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground—and the science shows this needs to happen if we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate chaos.”
The science is on our side when it comes to banning fracking, and we’re so pleased to have a scientific powerhouse like him on our board. Please join us in welcoming Robert Howarth to Food & Water Watch!