What has Scot­land to lose by ex­ploratory drilling to learn if frack­ing is vi­able?

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

At a con­fer­ence in Aberdeen this week, se­nior fig­ures in the oil in­dus­try at last made the blind­ingly ob­vi­ous point that all the de­bate about frack­ing in Scot­land is be­ing car­ried out in the ab­sence of any real data on re­cov­er­able re­serves and eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity. Co­lette Cohen, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Oil and Gas tech­nol­ogy cen­tre, said “I’m frus­trated be­cause we’ve al­lowed emo­tion to elim­i­nate an in­tel­lec­tual de­bate on what’s right for UK en­ergy se­cu­rity.”

I re­cently at­tended a sem­i­nar on how un­em­ployed oil work­ers could trans­late or re­use their skills. When I asked the speaker from Skills Devel­op­ment Scot­land, a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment-funded quango with a bud­get of £220 mil­lion and 1,400 em­ploy­ees, if they thought frack­ing was an op­por­tu­nity I was told “we don’t want to talk about that”. I asked “why not?” and they then moved on to the next ques­tion.

The SNP’S ban on frack­ing in­cludes ex­ploratory drilling, an ob­vi­ous ap­proach if you don’t want your virtue sig­nalling anti-frack­ing stance to be clouded by the pos­si­bil­ity that the eco­nomic ben­e­fits might out­weigh the en­vi­ron­men­tal and safety ar­gu­ments. Even their own Ex­pert Re­port in 2014 said this could be over­come. This has a lot to do with keep­ing six Greens MSPS onside, a party that only got 13,172 first pref­er­ence votes – out of four mil­lion – in last year’s Holy­rood elec­tion.

Our in­dus­try lead­ers, and sen­si­ble politi­cians, need to speak out. We have the skills, we have the pro­cess­ing and trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Grange­mouth, all we need to do is es­tab­lish if the op­por­tu­nity is vi­able. What is there to lose by in­ves­ti­gat­ing? Why isn’t Skills Devel­op­ment Scot­land lob­by­ing for change? AL­LAN SUTHER­LAND Wil­low Row, Stone­haven

Al Gore’s just re­leased film An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel con­tin­ues mis­lead­ing peo­ple with du­bi­ous claims. His ear­lier film, An In­con­ve­nient Truth in 2006, warned that “Sea lev­els may rise 20 feet” and in this 2017 se­quel Gore tries to jus­tify this state­ment by show­ing lower Man­hat­tan un­der­wa­ter while in­ton­ing: “This is global warm­ing.”

But the pic­tures were taken dur­ing Su­per­storm Sandy – wa­ter is al­ways pushed ashore dur­ing such storms.

Av­er­age sea lev­els over the past decade have risen by about 1 inch so when will the other 19 feet, 11 inches hit us?

In An In­con­ve­nient Truth Gore pre­dicted that tor­na­does and hur­ri­canes would get worse. They haven’t. The UN In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) con­firms there is lit­tle or no link be­tween cli­mate change and ex­treme weather events. No doubt, how­ever, the usual sus­pects will jump at the chance to blame mankind for Storm Har­vey and the cur­rent flood­ing in Texas.

In An In­con­ve­nient Truth Gore used the po­lar bear as a tear­jerk­ing icon, say­ing they would drown due to their in­abil­ity to find Arc­tic sea ice. Peo­ple fell for his spin.will Gore please ex­plain how since 2005 their pop­u­la­tion has in­creased by 30 per cent to about 30,000?

CLARK CROSS Spring­field Road, Lin­lith­gow

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