August 7, 2013
I WONDER IF THESE GREENS ARE GETTING MONEY FROM PUTIN OR THE SAUDIS? Britain’s Fracking Fracas.
Much of the backlash against fracking is divorced from fact and based on emotional responses to fossil fuel extraction that don’t account for shale’s proven green credentials. Cameron’s government is wary of being caught up in this backlash. While No. 10 released a statement yesterday praising the “exciting potential” of shale gas, it was careful to note that shale gas should only be extracted if there is “no risk” to the environment.
If that’s the standard, Britain’s 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas will continue to stay locked in its rock coffin indefinitely. Any kind of drilling entails risks. For that matter, every energy source carries risks, including renewables. Just ask Germany, which is finding out the hard way how risky its bet on nascent green technologies was. The idea is to minimize risks, not eliminate them. . . .
The stand-off in Balcombe could be a watershed moment for Britain’s shale gas industry. The British government shouldn’t ignore the wishes of the locals, who will have to live with the changes these wells will bring. But for the UK to sit on its hands, perhaps even indefinitely, as the FT seems to be calling for, might also be a mistake. There are strong incentives to get that gas out of the ground: cheaper energy for households and British industry, greater energy security, and half the carbon emissions that coal-burning produces. But it has to be done right. Find a more remote site, drill the wells properly, allow their cement casings to set, and find out how much gas really is down there.
I suppose we can always sell them some gas, unless the greens figure out a way to screw things up here, too.