Thursday 20 December 2012

To frack or not to frack

For those who remain unconvinced, despite the scientific consensus to the contrary, that the man-made contribution to climate change is significant enough to warrant action, the deposits of shale gas which apparently underlie these islands can only be a bonanza.  For those who are convinced about the climate change argument, but think that the solution is to use lower carbon fuels rather than renewables, having large reserves of gas on (or rather under) home territory makes it easier to argue the case for gas.  

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. 


Welsh not British said...

The truth is that we will not have any choice in the matter whilst we remain a colony of the English empire.

So I would oppose fracking because it wouldn't give us any benefits at all.

Glyndo said...

Spot on John. Your verification system is a nightmare!

Ioan said...

Da iawn - cytuno 100%

Os dwi'n deallt yn iawn, mae'r UDA wedi lleihau CO2 fwy nag oedd angen o dan y drefn Kyoto.

G Horton-Jones said...

In Canada roads were built using a system of extracting stone from roadside quarries. We did and still do the same thing here but on a smaller scale
In Canada the water table filled the resultant holes which were then widely used as swimming pools. From the 1960's township rubbish started to become a real problem as everyone had access to Hydro electic. ---before then woodfires solved much of the rubbish problem.
So the swimming holes started to fill up with anything and everthing but there was a cosequence in that water for everthing came from bore holes and people slowly latched onto the fact that water quality was dissapearing as waste products contaminated the water on an increasing scale
This I believe will be the long term legacy of fracking

John Dixon said...

A colourful picture, and it may well turn out that way. But I'm not supporting fracking - merely pointing out that some of those who claim to be opposing it have been tacit, or even active, supporters of building gas-fired power stations, and that, in the long term, one requires the other. That's dishonest.

Glyndo said...

G Horton-Jones
So in Canada they found that contaminating the ground water that was used for drinking was a bad idea. How is this is connected to the Fracking process? Especially in the UK where we don't use water in the same way.