|Today’s Independent newspaper contains all the proof you could ever ask for of the UK Government’s single-minded commitment to supporting the fossil fuel behemoths.The whole of page 1 & 2 is devoted to the news that Cuadrilla have decided to stop fracking near Blackpool as a consequence of the tiny 1.5 scale earthquake nearby.
Page 1 – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/small-earthquake-in-blackpool-major-shock-for-uks-energy-policy-2291597.html
Page 2 – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/second-tremor-in-two-months-shakes-local-confidence-2291599.html
Why have they stopped fracking? After all, it is supposed to be safe according to the Government’s own Shale Gas Inquiry, chaired by Tim ‘Hot Air’ Yeo.
There are suspicions, from the British Geological Survey that the fracking may have induced the earthquake. But Yeo’s committee knew the Blackpool site was prone to earthquakes after the bigger 2.3 quake on April 1st, before they published their conclusions, was dismissed as inconsequential. They must similar know that all shale gas and coal bed methane areas (potential fracking areas) are similarly prone to minor tremors too. So is Yeo on the phone to Cuadrilla to re-assure them that there is nothing worry about and ‘crack on’ with the fracking? I would not not be surprised.
Credit to Cuadrilla for being a little more circumspect. But then they know the truth of the risks they are taking. They know that their concrete lined bore holes are of dubious integrity at best, and cannot be guaranteed to not be damaged by even tiny tremors. We have all seen concrete crack from imperceptible movements, have we not?
Unfortunately, the front page headline, MAJOR SHOCK FOR UK’S ENERGY POLICY, is well wide of the mark. Yeo’s committee knew all this and more. They knew that France, Germany, South Africa and many US states have fracking moratoria or bans in place. But they are so beholden to the fossil fuel lobby that despite the mountains of evidence and numerous unanswered questions, Yeo’s committee decided that the modest step of a temporary moratoria had no merit and the opposition amounted to mere ‘hot air’.
To be honest, I disappointed, but not surprised by this stance. There is form – some old and some new – reported elsewhere in the Independent today.
“Britain is one of just two major European nations opposing efforts to prohibit sales of petrol and diesel obtained from the Canadian tar sands. Canada’s tar sands contain the world’s largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, but extracting the oil can release up to three times more greenhouse gases.”
“To date, the UK and the Netherlands, two nations with the strongest connections to oil giants BP and Shell, are the only two states wishing to remove reference to tar sands from the draft proposal, according to the coalition of green groups working on the directive.”
“Charlie Kronick, a climate adviser at Greenpeace, said the power of large companies like BP should not be “underestimated” when it comes to the Government’s decision-making. “The UK is measuring up environmental interests and business interests and, as ever, when a nation is struggling to come out of a recession, the business case gets a strong push,” he said.”
(For evidence, check out what BP have been up to in terms of political lobbying in the USA: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/05/how-bp-money-spends-on-lobbying-and-campaign-contributions-pays-off/ ; and here in the UK : (Resolution 21 – announced last month) http://www.investegate.co.uk/article.aspx?id=201104151800560553F )
So at least this coalition government is being consistent – fossil fuels are the future whatever any body else tells them. Despite having the greatest potential for renewable energies in the entire world, we are not likely to see this government follow Germany’s lead and ditch nuclear either.
And just for good measure, the Business pages serve up a reminder that going to extraordinary lengths to secure even the long term possibility of a bit more oils or gas is not at all new policy. (see pg 34: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/desire-petroleum-back-on-the-trail-of-falklands-oil-2291481.html )
Did anyone really fall for Thatcher’s spin on the Falkland’s War (nearly thirty years ago) being about the self-determination of British subjects? The thin tissue of lies back then got me into politics in order to fight for truth and the protection of things of true value. Similar deceits were spun by Blair over the Iraq War.
The only thing we trust UK Governments to do is to remain true to the path they have been on for decades – both Tory and Labour administrations. A new direction will require radically different leadership, with radically different values. So far, only Brighton seems to have grasped this fact.