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Extractives industries: Dirty and thirsty technologies

Nathalie Seguin, Freshwater Action Network-Mexico

The extractive model of economic growth is a huge burden on the planet, and one which Latin America has been a victim of for many years. Capitalist consumption patterns demand huge quantities of energy, forcing governments to race for more energy sources at whatever cost. Planetary “peak oil” has already been reached, and the cheap oil extraction era is declining. Non-conventional methods of hydrocarbon extraction have become more feasible and widely used, due to the high cost of conventional extraction. This has made countries that historically have not been large producers of oil to aspire to become rich through oil. This makes these countries the next target for large exploitative transnational oil companies.

On a global scale there has been a rush to develop non-conventional hydrocarbons – including natural gas shale by hydraulic fracture, better known as “fracking”. But this technique is a very water …

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