I disagree with them, but those are honest arguments; it’s just the premise on which they are based which is in question. Equally honest are the arguments of those who think that what is required is a wholesale shift from carbon fuels to renewables, and that extending the large scale use of gas is deferring, rather than solving the problem. From that viewpoint, opposition to fracking is a natural consequence.
Rather less honest, though, are those who seem to be arguing that we should continue to use gas ‘but not that gas’. Any politicians who have supported – or merely failed to oppose – the construction of new gas-fired power stations are being more than a little disingenuous in trying to ride a wave of public opinion concerned about fracking. Effectively they’re saying that using gas is fine as long as it comes from somewhere else.
Now it might be argued that fracking has an environmental cost associated with it; but then so does all extraction of fossil fuel from the earth. It’s just that, when we see the gas being delivered to the Haven in large tankers, we’re not seeing that environmental cost. It doesn’t mean that nobody else is. A determination to protect the environment at home whilst depending on products produced by environmental damage done elsewhere isn’t being green; it’s just nimbyism writ large.
We can make choices about policy on energy as on anything else; but when we’ve made a choice, we have to be willing to accept the consequences, not just load them on someone else. For me, the choice is a simple one; either plan to phase out the use of gas, or else accept that, sooner or later, it has to come from fracking. It’s not honest to support the continued use of gas whilst opposing the exploitation of reserves.