Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”, has stirred political debate in recent years as communities and organizations have expressed concern over its environmental impact. Fracking is the process of pumping a mixture, comprised mostly of water, sand, and acid, into geological formations to break apart the rock and allow oil and gas to flow to surface more easily. The fracking of natural gas, mostly shale, wells has led to a surge in gas production in the United States, raising alarms concerning the contamination of the surrounding air and water sources. During this uproar, the major oil companies have shied away from answering questions regarding natural gas carbon emissions. The US’s second largest oil and gas company, Chevron, has continually resisted discussing how regulations such as carbon taxes would affect fossil fuel production and climate change.  What most people don’t know is that, “gas, clean and highly efficient, is far better for the environment than coal, its main competitor” , and Chevron needs to vocalize this.
Shale’s (Undeserved) Bad Reputation
Unfortunately for the majors, some smaller, independent exploration and production (E&P) companies stained the reputation of the shale business in its early days when methane leaked from poorly designed fracked wells. The large E&P companies, including Chevron, are much more stringent in their safety and environmental standards, but have failed to call out this source of negativity toward fracking. Instead, Chevron has been “reflexively fighting any regulation, even reasonable ones,” to “create the impression of having something to hide” . Chevron needs to start working with regulators in support of carbon taxes to shift energy production away from coal, which emits twice as much carbon dioxide emissions as natural gas . Table 1 shows the relative greenhouse gas emissions for various fuels.
What About Renewables?
The technology isn’t available to make them economical at a large scale. There “needs to be a wave of technological advances in the renewable energy sector for the industry to get back on track.”  But at this time, “the hard truth is that if the country were to move away from natural gas, the big winner would be coal, not solar or wind” . Furthermore, as shown in Figure 1, increasing global demand in energy will force oil and gas to remain in demand for decades to come.
Chevron needs to follow the other majors (Shell, BP, etc.) in collaborating with regulators to save the reputation of the shale business. The public’s skewed view of the negative environmental effects of fracking and shale gas production needs to be put into perspective, so that the shale business can be seen as a temporary solution to more environmentally harmful energy sources.
In addition to cooperating with regulators, Chevron and other majors need to contribute to the technological advances required to further decrease the environment effect of natural gas. Specifically, “Demonstrating carbon capture on gas-fired power would undercut the argument that shale gas is incompatible with long-term action on climate change.” 
The majors also have the ability to invest a large amount of capital in renewable research. Chevron is currently investing in geothermal energy, advanced biofuels, wind power and solar energy to create more renewable energy sources for future generations. 
Energy demand is going to increase globally, and we will need to leverage multiple technologies and energy resources to meet that demand. Energy producers and consumers need to stop pointing fingers and work together to determine the optimal way meet demands with the least possible effect on climate change.
 Bradley Olson, “Chevron Boss: Climate Change Could Help Business,” Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/chevron-boss-climate-change-could-help-business-1464132869, accessed November 3, 2016.
 Robin Mills, “Gas Industry has a Great Story to Tell but Doesn’t,” The National, October 9, 2016, http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/robin-mills-gas-industry-has-a-great-story-to-tell–but-doesnt, accessed November 3, 2016.
 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “International Energy Outlook,” May 11, 2016, https://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/
 Joe Nocera, “Shale Gas and Climate Change,” The New York Times, July 14, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/14/opinion/joe-nocera-shale-gas-and-climate-change.html, accessed November 3, 2016.
 “Technological advances in renewable energy,” http://reports.worldfinance.com/technological-advances-in-renewable-energy/
 Chevron, “renewable energy and emerging technology,” https://www.chevron.com/corporate-responsibility/climate-change/renewable-energy