As an ex-environmental campaigner myself a long time ago — and still a fervent believer in the importance of a natural environment — I still cannot understand why most of the present-day ‘green’ movements are so implacably opposed to deep shale fracking for methane gas.
When burned in power stations, it produces about half the waste carbon dioxide than oil or coal. Those who believe in man-made global warming ought to be supporting using fracked gas as soon as possible. Despite the Paris summit the world will still be dependent of fossil fuels for at lest 80% of its electricity for the next 30 to 80 years. The big emergent countries such as India, China, Brazil, Indonesia, have absolutely no intention of decreasing their use of electricity or in any way diminishing their hopes of catch up with our standard of living.
And, in our case, the amount of fossil fuel we have been able to replace by so-called renewable technologies has been pathetically small. In any case it has already been very costly on consumers and governments are already having to ease back.
In 30 years’ time the world population will almost certainly start stabilising and, with the exception of Africa, will already be showing signs of depopulating. In 80 years’ time world population as a whole will be dropping at quite pace. That, plus maximum use of shale gas could bring down waste carbon dioxide to at least a half of what is being produced now — and still further downwards from then on.
The green movement took a set against shale gas production some 5 to 10 years ago without thinking the matter through. No wonder therefore that the British government is going to classify potential fracking well sites as “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP)” which means that a shale production programme is going to be railroaded through whatever some local communities may try to resist. It’s a sad day that this will have to happen in a democracy but this is the only rational policy if you believe that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a danger.
We can be certain that other advanced countries in Europe — as well as China and India before too long — will follow with NSIPs of their own.