Fracking – gas profit dash could wreck climate

Pete Mason

In his Autumn Statement, Con-Dem chancellor George Osborne announced a new ‘dash for gas’ including fracking, the technology used to obtain gas and oil trapped in shale rock.

Fracking in Britain was suspended after earthquakes were caused around Blackpool by fracking operations, but the moratorium soon ends.

In the US, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred in Oklahoma, while a Geological Survey report concludes that: most, “if not all of the earthquakes [in the USA] since August 2001 have been triggered by the deep injection of wastewater” in fracking.

60% of Britain’s countryside could potentially be exploited for shale gas as Osborne looks to Texas – which produces more CO2 emissions than all but the top six countries in the world. Texas has 48,000 jobs relying on fracking.

Osborne intends to water down Britain’s commitments to cutting emissions and threatens renewable energy programmes, which, if properly pursued, would create as many jobs as fracking does in the USA, while saving the environment rather than wrecking it.

Eight million gallons of water and carcinogenic chemicals are used to frack a well, then disposed of deep in the earth, where they contaminate groundwater and poison the surroundings.

Methane released into groundwater by fracking rises through fissures and water wells where it can be ignited at the tap.

US reports claim over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of “sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.”

David Kennedy, who heads the statutory body advising the government on meeting its carbon reduction goals, severely criticised Osborne’s announcement, saying the dash for gas through fracking, “would not be sensible, or compatible with meeting carbon budgets and the 2050 target” and would damage investment in renewables.

The UK target is to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, compared with 1990 levels. David Cameron consequently vetoed Kennedy’s appointment to a post heading the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Osborne’s government puts energy company profits before the welfare of the planet. This is the cheapest way for gas companies to find energy.

Remove the Con-Dems and bring the energy companies into public ownership, so we can plan a future without global warming.