Frack and ruin

The Observer - - Comment & Analysis -

Why is it so dif­fi­cult for the Ob­server to make up its mind about frack­ing (“Frack­ing fis­sures ob­scure the need to em­brace green tech­nolo­gies”, leader, last week)? Shale gas is a cli­mate-chang­ing fos­sil fuel, yet you claim the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of frack­ing is “un­proved”.

It is true that gas pro­duces less car­bon diox­ide per unit of en­ergy than coal, but this is off­set by the rapid rise in at­mo­spheric meth­ane largely at­trib­ut­able to in­creased gas pro­duc­tion glob­ally and the cav­a­lier at­ti­tude to frack­ing in North Amer­ica.

The sec­ond prob­lem is tim­ing. It has taken seven years for Cuadrilla to re­sume drilling and it will prob­a­bly take an­other 10 to 15 be­fore gas is be­ing pro­duced in com­mer­cial quan­ti­ties and even that will de­pend on govern­ment sup­port. So shale gas will come on stream at the same time as the UK is sched­uled to de­car­bonise its elec­tric­ity sup­ply.

Dr Robin Rus­sell-Jones Chair, Help Res­cue the Planet Mar­low, Bucks

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