THE GLOBAL ANTI-FRACKING MOVEMENT – What it wants, how it operates and what’s next?

The attached PDF document (see end of post) constitutes the most thorough attempt at analysing the fractivist movement across the whole world, and makes very interesting reading.

It is published by London-based company ‘Control Risks’. They describe themselves thus:“Control Risks is an independent, global risk consultancy specialising in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments. We support clients by providing strategic consultancy, expert analysis and in-depth investigations, handling sensitive political issues and providing practical on-the-ground protection and support.
Our unique combination of services, geographical reach and the trust our clients place in us ensure we can help them to effectively solve their problems and realise new opportunities across the world.”

As such they are clearly not our friends, but allies of the industry. I am not sure that it is always true that friends of our enemies are necessarily our enemies; and in this case their comprehensive global review can possibly be more useful to us than the industry.

The review starts with this introduction:

Unconventional natural gas is often described as game-changing and transformative, a revolution heralding a golden age of cheap, plentiful energy for a resource-constrained world. But only if it makes it out of the ground.

As shown by local bans in the US and Canada, national moratoriums in France and Bulgaria, and tighter regulation in Australia and the UK, the global anti-fracking movement has mounted an effective campaign against the extraction of unconventional gas through hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has largely failed to appreciate social and political risks, and has repeatedly been caught off guard by the sophistication, speed and influence of anti-fracking activists.

As unconventional gas development spreads worldwide, and becomes more central to government energy policy and corporate investment strategy, a better understanding of the anti-fracking movement its goals, structure, methods and trajectory is essential for companies, policymakers and other observers of the emergent energy boom.”

Its perception of what ‘fractivists’ want is fair enough, as they would appear to have been infiltrating social media (at the very least) with shills, as well as comprehensively reviewing online postings. (I will be disappointed if they do not read this at some point – so )

They categorise us as follows:

The specific agendas of anti-fracking groups vary according to local priorities and group composition. Public consultation is critical in France, for example, while rural conservation issues dominate in Australia. However, the movement as a whole falls into four broad camps: those desiring a better deal from the gas industry; those advocating further study into the environmental and economic impacts of unconventional gas development; those demanding a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing; and in the majority those demanding tighter regulation of gas development.” I can recognise that elements of the fractivist camp fall into all four categories – but my feeling is that the longer people stay involved, and the more they learn about what is at stake, there is a gradual drift towards demands for an outright ban. And I firmly believe they are seriously under-estimating us when they say:

2012 is likely to set the high-water mark for the anti-fracking movement.”

We are only just getting into our stride and, as they themselves point out, there are various ways that the movement is likely to develop – into broader issues (the whole range of extreme energy threats for a start); into wider territories (as more an more places become targets of the frackers); and into greater radicalism (in the form of much greater direct action). I wouldn’t argue with any of that!

There then follows a section that offers suggestions to the industry on how they could respond and counter our threat; very worthy of our attention.

Finally, there is a global Anti-Fracking Risk Register that we certainly need to respond to. It acknowledges that Anti-Fracking Activism in the UK is “Significant“, but rates the UK as merely LOW in terms of Political Risk and Security Risk.

I would suggest that we are going to have to force them to re-assess this if their overall predicted outcome, that ultimately the industry will prevail in most parts of the world, is to be confirmed to be the sop to the industry that sells their services to the industry, that I think it is, rather than a complete misreading of our determination to achieve Vanessa’s ultimate clarion call:


Not On My Planet!

Review of global fractivism.pdf

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