"Fracking" is coming to the UK! Will we be able to set light to our tap water as has happened in the US? Will we see contamination of groundwater, exploding basements and all the rest? Is this the time for the UK to be developing a new source of fossil fuel anyway? What will the exploitation of shale gas mean for the UK and the world? What should we do about it? What can we do to stop it?
Public Meeting, Tuesday 19th July 2001, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London.
Supported by Artists Project Earth
Professor Kevin Anderson is Director of the Tyndall° Centre for Climate Change Research which has recently produced a report “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts” which recommends a moratorium on drilling shale gas in the UK. Kevin Anderson has been outspoken on the need for scientists not to pull any punches in communicating the gravity of the climate crisis to policy makers.
Caroline Lucas is the UK’s first Green MP (Brighton Pavilion) and leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. She has supported the call for a moratorium on shale gas and condemned a report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee which concluded there was no need for a moratorium.
Michael Meacher, LabourMP for Oldham West and Royton, was Minister of State for the Environment May 1997 to June 2003. He has long represented the environmental conscience of the Labour Party and has outlined in his blog the case against shale gas.
Phil Mitchell is chair of the Blackpool Greens and has headed the local campaign against the exploratory drilling for shale gas, that has already started in the area. Cuadrilla Resources is already at work with two drilling rigs in the area – the first in the UK.
“Hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking” for shale gas is taking off in the UK. This newly developed technology allows the exploitation of previously untappable reserves of natural gas. Its already big in the US but it has caused a storm of protest there, which has even inspired an Oscar-nominated film.
We are just seeing the start – up in the Blackpool area – of something that could get much, much bigger in the UK Will we see the many cases of contamination of drinking water and other pollution incidents that we have seen in the US, here in the UK? Will we, too, be able to set fire to our tap water because it contains so much methane?
But more worrying still, will we see a diversion of resources and investment away from renewable energy to the development of another source of fossil fuel? Will we be investing in infrastructure that will lock us into a fossil fuel economy for yet longer into the future? On a world wide scale are we going to see the development of more and more unconventional fossil fuels increasing the total amount of carbon we can spew into the atmosphere and delaying until far too late the clean break we need to make away from the fossil fuel economy and into the green renewably-powered economy? Is shale gas, in other words, just another part of our recipe for global climate suicide?