Fallon, energy minister tries calling fracked gas a renewable energy source!!!!!

The UK is seen as the place where the old energy incumbency will hang on and fight to the last.  That’s why Total, a French company who are unable to frack in France because it is illegal, are moving into the UK.  But surely the government has the nation’s best interests to heart, and is making its decisions based on an impartial weighing up of the options?  Well, no, as the diagram below, which shows the links between senior members of government and the fossil fuel industry illustrates:
Shale gas web
A report last week showed how shale gas executives and government officials worked together to manage the public reaction to last week’s news about fracking, and the cosy relationship between the two, critics arguing that the government was “acting as an arm of the gas industry”. 

The clinging to fossil fuels in spite of the clear dangers to the climate is leading now, in the US, to activists against fossil fuel companies being charged under terrorism legislation for hanging a banner and dropping glitter in an oil and gas company’s lobby.  That’s not a path that a push for renewable energy would bring about, and one we must do everything possible to avoid.  Fracking and nuclear power centralise power into fewer and fewer powerful hands when we need to be doing exactly the opposite.  
Is fracking the best way to decarbonise communities? 

David MacKay and Timothy Stone, in a report for Cameron’s own Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), recently concluded that fracking will do little to reduce gas prices or to reduce carbon emissions, and that:
“The production of shale gas could increase global cumulative GHG emissions if the fossil fuels displaced by shale gas are used elsewhere”.  
Climate scientist Kevin Anderson has recently expanded on MacKay and Stone’s point, challenging three of the key arguments used to justify a shale gas revolution, namely that it:
  • has lower emissions than coal. This is true only if the coal displaced by shale gas remains in the ground and is not combusted elsewhere
  • offers the prospect of low-carbon energy. Gas is a high carbon energy source, emitting half the quantity of carbon dioxide per unit of electricity generated as the worst and dirtiest energy source we know, coal. Half the worst is still very high emissions.

TAP – Carbon capture from coal at the point of combustion actually makes coal cleaner than gas.  The carbon so captured can then be used to produce methanol.  This is something the government and the oil companies definitely don’t want you to know.

  • is a transition fuel to a low-carbon future. Even the shale gas industry acknowledges that it will not produce significant quantities of shale gas before around 2025, by which time our international commitments on climate change would not permit it to be combusted in any significant quantities.
The best way to decarbonise communities is through a concerted programme of energy efficiency measures, through enabling the widespread roll out of community energy projects, peer-to-peer learning between them, grant aid to get them started, consistent messaging on the need to reduce energy use and through support for community-led initiatives such as Transition Streets.  As Peter Capener told me, “energy efficiency wins every time”.  Yet support for the kind of accelerated programme of energy efficiency measures so desperately needed has dwindled, leading to a situation where, according to The Guardian:
According to DECC figures,1.61m lofts were fully insulated in 2012, but in the year to the end of October 2013, the most recent data released, just 110,000 had been treated, a pro-rata fall of 93%.  For cavity wall insulation, measures fell from 640,000 in 2012 to 125,000 in the year to October 2013, a pro-rata fall of 77%.
Fracking well
Looks lovely – when you photoshop beautiful country scenes to disguise the contamination and destruction of soil, air and especially water.  

Given the absurdity, the unbelievable cheek of the whole thing and the deeply shady way in which this is being forced upon a disbelieving nation, it should come as no surprise that some aspects of this defy belief.   

I’ll leave you with the most remarkable, which was when energy minister Michael Fallon, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme last Monday, talked about shale gas in the context of “other renewable technologies”.  It’s a smart strategy, especially when representing a government that has so effectively done so little to support renewable energy and energy efficiency – simply redefine “renewable”!  

It’s genius really, merely stretch the time frame and hey presto, drag it out to about 90 million years, and shale gas is a renewable energy source.  Now, doesn’t that make life a lot easier? 

TAP The purpose of fracking, drilling through the aquifer to release methane and a myriad of toxic chemicals is to destroy the water resources that people have access to, before water is made into an expensive commodity that has to be shipped in from around the world. 

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

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