Author Topic: Shale gas extraction to provide us all with a warm future for hundreds of years  (Read 9585 times)

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Offline Alex

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Agreed ( of course) with Simon, Spunky etc.

 And factor in the potential  contamination of flood waters as they are becoming so much more prevalent - it isn't going away any time soon. Especially (as Monbiot says in the Guardian) that the UK  being paid to keep as grass areas which are creating flooding problems - if they were forested it would be so  much more effective at draining water away,  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/flooding-public-spending-britain-europe-policies-homes


 This planet doesn't need any more fossil fuels. Look at what Germany and the States have been doing with Solar power- it works even on grey days, Graphene is coming along, other renewables are available. Once we've contaminated this planet we don't get it back. This seriously feels much more sinister than nuclear power to me.


Offline Tobes

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This planet doesn't need any more fossil fuels.


I'd agree it would be ideal if we didn't need to use any more fossil fuels - buts that's from the perspective of a relatively wealthy (by world standards) middle class western European in a mild climate, sat in heated house in from of a computer connected to a reliable (for the next couple of years) electricity supply.  It makes it easy to agree, in principal.

But people need energy to maintain a modern lifestyle.

And for the earnest but confused types in knitted hats chaining themselves to jcbs to make a cogent case, they need to do a couple of things. For starters, they could demonstrate the practicality of their alternative world-view from an even vaguely scientific and non hypocritical perspective. How many of them make any real attempt to live by the creed which they would necessarily have to impose on everyone else? Lets put it baldly: hugely increased electricity prices, hugely decreased supply. How many protectors eagerly swapping links and quotes about the perceived dangers are willing to give up their cars, dishwashers, electric kettles, washing machines etc...? How many would forgo children, travel, holidays abroad? How would they feel about grannies annexed to one room in a house, buried under duvets and looking forwards to the half an hour a day they can turn the gas or leccy on?

Then they need to have a long hard think about the science and then at the social and historical reality of where we find ourselves.

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Look at what Germany and the States have been doing with Solar power- it works even on grey days,


Show me! What 'they've done' is create an industry which thrives only because of huge subsidy and despite which, only provides a tiny percentage of either country's enormous demand for electricity. And no solar cell, whether using graphene or fairy dust has yet been built which can produce electricity when the sun stops shining at night. The failure of solar to provide a viable alternative is writ indelibly in the raw stats:

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In the twelve months through October 2013, utility scale solar power generated 8.46 million megawatt-hours, 0.21% of total US electricity
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_the_United_States )

Graphene is exciting - and may well go on to produce all sorts of innovations and improvements in efficiency, but no one I'm aware of is suggesting its even remotely close to helping meet demand in the short or even medium term, let alone answering the energy crisis at a single stroke. It is no more a silver bullet to the situation than cold-fusion was 20 years ago. We have hope - but hope is not a solution.

Renewables can help eke out what we've got - but they remain massively extensive in scale of construction (effecting the environment accordingly), expensive, unreliable, usually located far from the point of consumption (leading to inefficiency) and produce a variable supply which either stops when the sun stops shining or the wind blowing. They cannot store energy (aside from a few pumped hyro-electric lagoons) and supply cannot be 'turned up' to meet peek demand. In terms of efficiency, they are quite clearly rubbish.

The point is, prices are going up, despite energy consumption in the UK having actually dropped back to the levels of 1960 even though though the population increased by 20% in the same period.

Fracking is going to happen: Its going to happen because people will die if electricity doubles or quadruples in price in the UK - and people simply won't accept the complete societal sea-change those prices would bring. It will happen because it would be grossly hypocritical as well as expensive to end up being classic NIMBYs, stopping it from happening on our doorstep but quietly and furtively buying it from countries less squeemish than us. It will also happen when people finally bother to look at a balanced and objective assessment of the balance of risk, rather than the end of unquestioningly accepted propaganda and scare-mongering. It will also, because of the incredible level of scrutiny its received, take place in what will probably turn out to be one of the most regulated and monitored forms of extraction the country has ever seen - and any realisation of the doomsday scenarios promulgated by the knitted hat brigade will be quickly, obviously and undeniably made evident. Wouldn't that at least be the sensible protesters position?

Over a million wells have been fracked since 1947. The conversion of this long-standing industrial practice into a present day environmental panic is little more than ridiculous. Of course there are meaningful risks - but there is with ANY drilling, mining or industrial operation - however the level associated with fracking appears to me to be out of all proportion with either the evidence, or the supposed alternatives. (I remind you all again of the Spiked piece, http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/ten_big_fat_lies_about_fracking/13944#.UnQ9N7wWik0 )

I'm no climate change denier, and if there really was some even vaguely viable alternative around the corner, I'd want to see it grabbed with both hands. But the simple, undeniable fact is that there isn't. The carbon genie is out of the bottle and our understanding of its impact has come too late and too far from any viable alternate solution for us to attempt to put it back in. Everything about our impossibly comfortable western lifestyle has been made possible through fossil fuel. The planet WILL suffer and I wish it were otherwise - and people will eventually suffer as a result, and I wish it was otherwise. But short of some kind of Draconian and deliberate world-depopulation (enforced by whom upon whom?) , it is impossible to imagine or propose any plausible route - unless people want to see the lights go out, mass starvation and a return to some kind of early agrarian lifestyle.

I still have hope for some kind of compromise in which renewables are used for as many applications as practicable - but I see fracking as the only short-term palliative before people finally accept the inevitable and ironically least carbon emitting technology of all in the form of modern nuclear power. Perhaps some new miracle technology will come along in the meantime - but we are merely sticking our heads in the sand if we expect it.

If fracking has to happen on my doorstep, then I want it as safe and regulated as possible as I too love the countryside (and probably have much more to do with it directly than many protesters) - and whilst I'm willing to plug in the kettle and hope my electricity prices don't go up, its a compromise I'm prepared to make with my eyes open.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Tobes Quote:  If fracking has to happen on my doorstep, then I want it as safe and regulated as possible as I too love the countryside (and probably have much more to do with it directly than many protesters) - and whilst I'm willing to plug in the kettle and hope my electricity prices don't go up, its a compromise I'm prepared to make with my eyes open.

But, but, but, Tobes, you KNOW it won't be safe and regulated. No matter what the promises.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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But, but, but, Tobes, you KNOW it won't be safe and regulated. No matter what the promises.

It will be as safe and as regulated as anything regulated can be.

Like MOTs on your car, CRBs, the nuclear industry in the UK or anything else. But more so, given the weight of knitted-hats waiting for the merest hint of pollution or 'lightable water!'

I really don't understand the corollary of what you're trying to say - that because nothing can be regulated to be entirely safe, it ought not to be allowed?

Bang goes the aviation industry. Or medicine....?

 :banana:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Answer to that is easy - I have a woolly hat - or two.   :santa_rolleyes:

And a gut instinct for things that are wrong.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Simon

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Cameron offering bribes for fracking, Swindon is in an area that could have shale gas, SBC in need of every penny they can get...  Do I detect the feint odour of burning rubber coming from the general direction of the civic offices? :coffee:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25705550


I have been informed (by an environmentalist who is just as passionate as me about reducing our use of fossil fuels) that Swindon is unlikely to be fracked. The government may well be prepared eager to sell a license to frack Swindon and/or the surrounding area, but apparently the geology around here isn't of the right sort to make the license worth buying.

I don't object to fracking here, I object to fracking anywhere, and having re-read this thread I think I've already outlined my reasons for objection. I don't object because it might be in Swindon, I object because it's a criminally stupid thing to do to this habitable space vessel that we call the planet Earth.
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline the gorgon

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Cameron offering bribes for fracking, Swindon is in an area that could have shale gas, SBC in need of every penny they can get...  Do I detect the feint odour of burning rubber coming from the general direction of the civic offices? :coffee:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25705550


Well my prediction seems to be coming true, Justin Tomlinson is suggesting that fracking could come to Swindon.  His idea or SBC using him to test the water?
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11371337.Swindon_could_be_site_for_fracking_search/

Either that or I'm just too familiar with the MO of SBC (must pick some lottery numbers tonight just in case it is psychic ability).

Offline Geoff Reid

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Tomlinson?. the man is a minor tit.

The word "Could", when used by any Parliamentarian (let alone JT), has less calorific value than wet lettuce.

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Offline Alligator

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Cameron offering bribes for fracking, Swindon is in an area that could have shale gas, SBC in need of every penny they can get...  Do I detect the feint odour of burning rubber coming from the general direction of the civic offices? :coffee:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25705550


Well my prediction seems to be coming true, Justin Tomlinson is suggesting that fracking could come to Swindon.  His idea or SBC using him to test the water?
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11371337.Swindon_could_be_site_for_fracking_search/

Either that or I'm just too familiar with the MO of SBC (must pick some lottery numbers tonight just in case it is psychic ability).


Where do you get the impression that it is JT who's suggesting that fracking could come to Swindon?

While it's clear from his comments that he's supportive of the principle of fracking, I can't see anywhere where he has suggested that it could happen in Swindon.

I'd say that it's the green party who are saying fracking could come to Swindon whereas JT's comments appear to suggest that the likelihood of that happening are quite slim at the moment as no licences have been applied for in this area.

This article strikes me as being based on a green party statement, presumably timed to follow the government's announcement that new applications can be made for fracking licences.  The quotes from JT may be an attempt by the Advertiser to put the green party concerns into context. 

If you look at what JT is quoted as saying they read as follows:

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exploring the principle of onshore oil and gas extraction is necessary if the Government is to ensure the lights stay on.


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There are no applications for licence for Swindon and the rules which will govern them are very strong. The UK though is right to explore fracking and it has the potential to secure our long-term energy security and crucially drive our energy bills down.


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We simply cannot afford to bury our heads if we want to avoid future power-outs.





Offline Geoff Reid

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He 'could' still be a tit though...... :)

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Offline Alligator

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He 'could' still be a tit though...... :)

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 ;D

Offline the gorgon

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@Alligator, my mistake, it looked exactly like his weekly propaganda piece (because of his fracking mugshot) and I couldn't bare reading much further than the first sentence or so.

Offline Simon

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I'd say that it's the green party who are saying fracking could come to Swindon whereas JT's comments appear to suggest that the likelihood of that happening are quite slim at the moment as no licences have been applied for in this area.

This article strikes me as being based on a green party statement, presumably timed to follow the government's announcement that new applications can be made for fracking licences.  The quotes from JT may be an attempt by the Advertiser to put the green party concerns into context. 


I think it's likely that this story was prompted by a Green Party press release which in turn was prompted by the government announcement, and the Adver went to Justin for a response on behalf of the government.

I don't think either of them are saying that Swindon is about to be fracked, the nearest either of them got to it is "could", which is still true, albeit unlikely if my environmentalist friend (see reply #25) is correct about the local geology.

The best quote from Talis (the Green Party spokesperson) is this one

Quote from: Talis Kimberly as quoted in the Adver
All this for a few decades’ worth of fuel whose burning tips us further into climate change? And what do we burn then?


I think either the Greens missed a trick in their press release, or (more likely) the Adver were a bit selective in which bits they published and/or understood, because the Adver appear to have misunderstood the relative importance of the different reasons to object to fracking.

Quote from: Adver
Fracking involves using pressurised liquid to fracture rock and free the gas or oil from the ground, but it has been associated with causing earthquakes and other environmental issues.


(anyone reading this thread for the first time, please go back to the top and read all of it, potential earthquakes are not the most important reason to oppose fracking)

Are there any Greens (with a big G - i.e. party members, which I'm not) who could share that press release with us, so that we can compare it with what was reported?

At the risk of repeating myself...

One point which that spiked article doesn't address.

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/ipcc_report_2013.pdf (page 10)

Quote from: Friends of the Earth briefing on the latest IPCC report
Current reserves of proven fossil fuels, if burnt would release 760 GtC. This compares with 270 GtC IPCC global carbon budget which is consistent with a 50% chance of avoiding warming higher than the 2 degrees target.


Or in other words, we can only burn less than half of the fossil fuels we already know about if we want a reasonable chance of not pushing the climate over the edge. In that situation, hunting for yet more fossil fuels of whatever nature or method of extraction is just plain stupid.

Oh, and did I mention that it's a finite resource? It's not a solution to anything, just a way of kicking one problem a bit further down the road whilst exaccerbating another one.

Asking how we can source enough energy to maintain our current lifestyles with an ever growing population is to ask the wrong question. We should instead be asking how we can live within our energy budget. I don't have any easy answers to that question, but until people start seriously asking it, we're never going to get the answers.

Although the Zero Carbon Britain people have made a good start.


I'll get back in my box now  :)
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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Or in other words, we can only burn less than half of the fossil fuels we already know about if we want a reasonable chance of not pushing the climate over the edge.

Even less if our recycling facilities containing 1000's tonnes of waste continue to spontaneously combust.