Knocking sense into the Green Party

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.

3 thoughts on “Knocking sense into the Green Party

  1. Keith, there are at least a couple of reasons that people in the US are against fracking:
    1. It injects toxic brews into the aquifers, and these toxic materials are already showing up in people’s wells and drinking water. That the fracking companies refuse to disclose just what they are injecting (they claim that the recipes are proprietary) contributes greatly to this concern.

    2. Fracking to many represents only the latest variation on our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. Fracking is opposed as is any further exploitation of these fuels; the argument is that rather than increasing fossil fuel supply we should be pushing–and yes, paying for–non carbon alternatives plus energy conservation.


    1. Lawry, 1. Fracking takes place at far deeper levels than aquifer water. I understand there have been a three or four few accidents where process water has back-flushed upwards and contaminated an aquifer, but these are a small proportion of the 2,000 fracking rigs.

      2. I appreciate what you say about fossil fuels but the fact of the matter is that no government has any intention of using less energy than previously — particularly China and India — but most of that energy will have to be supplied from fossil fuels for decades to come. In this country we’ve gone the furthest in using wind power and solar cells, but our government daren’t go any further because our consumer energy bills are already more than twice as much as any other country. Getting away from predominant dependence on fossil fuels is politically impossible. Keith

  2. Yes Keith, the greens are crazy cats in so many ways.

    As various examples of countries becoming more prosperous show, when there is industrial progression there begins an increase in pollution and environmental degradation until after a point it levels out, and then subsequently increased ability to be more environmentally mindful plays out. This is called environmental Kuznets curve. To put it another way, when countries become more prosperous they pollute more, but then increased scientific and technological potential enables them to cut down on their environmental externalities. As well as markets making us greener anyway, when you look at relatively smog-free places like London, New York, Seoul, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and Paris, and compare them to comparably worse cities in places like China and India, there is no reason not to believe that the richer countries’ major cities are simply on are on a more environmentally friendly side of the Kuznets curve at present, and that the poorer major countries are not there yet (point of note: despite huge growth, overall China and India are still poor countries).

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