A few days ago I posted a link to an old video on YouTube that once again asked some difficult questions about fracking.
It contained interviews with a few scientists who don’t wholeheartedly support the rush to ‘cheap, bountiful energy’ and who have studied the data coming out of the USA which could make us more than a little concerned.
One of the responses I got back on Twitter was
‘Try reading reports by qualified people & avoid hard left propaganda.’
Which I take to mean, go with scientific fact rather than an emotional response based on a biased gut reaction that neatly fits in with your world view.
Fair enough, I had to stop and think for a moment.
Suddenly, such a suggestion pinged a couple of little memory bells
Ping, ping, ping they went.
I was confident I’d heard this argument before.
Could exactly the same be said about the small but noisy and extremely well funded lobby groups suggesting 95% of scientists concerned that burning fossil fuels at unprecedented levels is having a direct, negative effect on our climate?
Surely one could legitimately suggest to such ranters;
‘Try reading reports by qualified people & avoid hard right propaganda.’
Here, of course, is the big difference.
The massive majority of scientists and well informed people of the world accept, albeit reluctantly, the ever growing body of evidence suggesting it really is human activity that is having an adverse effect on our climate.
The nay-sayers are uniformly funded directly or indirectly by the big fossil extraction companies.
So no one with any political leverage to gain is funding the former, and the most powerful, most short sighted, most profit focused group of people ever to have existed in history are telling us everything’s fine and we should keep burning their products.
Fracking is no different.
There is growing discomfort with this last ditch desperate attempt to ‘stave off the end of fossils’ and it’s coming from all parts of the political spectrum.
No one stands to financially gain from holding back fracking, but the Cuadrilla’s of the world stand to loose billions in potential profits if they don’t drill and burn like a madman on a bender.
The pro fracking lobby has some of the world’s biggest, wealthiest corporations and individuals pumping billions into the debate, bribing politicians, ‘entertaining’ journalists and opinion formers, belittling what could be perfectly legitimate concerns that fracking could have some serious long term side effects.
Surely history has shown us fairly unequivocally, fossil fuel extraction and the uses we put it to has a bit of a down side.
I’m not opposed to fracking because it’s ‘despoiling the countryside’ or the drill rigs and 24 hour flare pipes have an impact in a once beautiful field in Sussex.
I’m not even that concerned about the process and possible earthquakes, the poisoning of the water table. Sure, if you live in the local area this can be fairly devastating, but on a global level, it’s no big shakes.
What is a big shake is it’s still fossil fuel. It’s extracting an inert and inactive substance from deep underground, releasing it, treating it and burning it.
Okay, ‘natural gas’ may burn slightly ‘cleaner than coal’ but that’s like saying burning old socks is cleaner than burning tyres.
You’re still burning stuff, the resultant gases are still going into the atmosphere.
It’s desperate, it’s utterly profit oriented but most importantly it’s lazy.
Continuing to find more and more barking mad ways to extract hydrocarbons stops people innovating, stops investment in methods of large scale renewable energy generation, keeps people locked in the mind set of there ‘being no alternative.’
Fracking is a disaster, there are alternatives, we don’t need to do it.
Only Haliburton, Cuadrilla, Exxon, BP and their buddies in government really need to frack things up as their very existence depends on constant ‘growth,’ ever increasing profits, and massive, gut churning bonuses for the handful of white men who control these behemoths.
For the rest of us, it is without doubt, lose-lose.