msnbc.com staff and news service reports
HAVANA — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Thursday the world was on an "inexorable march toward the abyss," which he blamed in part on the discovery and exploitation of vast reserves of so-called "shale gas" around the world.
Shale gas is natural gas locked in rock formations that in the past decade has been found in great abundance around the world and is now considered a top source of future energy.
Castro, 85, wrote in one of his occasional columns published in Cuban state media that "numerous dangers threaten us, but two of them — nuclear war and climate change — are decisive and both are ever further from approaching a solution."
He said he had only recently heard about the shale gas phenomenon, which has created a drilling boom in some parts of the United States, and when he asked several acquaintances both inside and outside of Cuba about the topic, "none of them had heard a word about it."
Shale gas production is criticized in some quarters because it requires extensive "fracking," which uses water, sand and chemicals to fracture the rock where the gas is trapped to allow it to flow out of the well. Fracking, opponents say, contaminates groundwater sources and can cause other problems.
Castro sided with ...