I’m not a climate scientist, but their can be little doubt that the planet is getting warmer. The big issue is whether or not it is being accelerated by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks so. Indeed, an an overwhelming majority of the worlds climate scientists thinks so. Even the Energy and Climate Change Committee of MPs thinks so. But a number of sceptics remain. Indeed, sceptics with enough influence it seems, to persuade the Australian government recently to repeal laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
But even if, just for the sake of argument…even if the sceptics were right and the majority wrong, surely we should still be moving as quickly as possible towards renewable energy sources? I say this because even setting aside climate change, the world has finite resources and surely in this century we must devote the extent of our world’s knowledge, research and skills to making renewable energy the future for all of humanity.
It therefore both saddens and angers me that the UK government, rather than putting more investment into renewables, is prepared to make fracking easier. For that is what they are doing with the proposed new land access rules and allowing fracking in areas of natural beauty where it is the public interest.
The government (wrongly in my opinion) seems to believe that fracking is the solution to our future energy needs, but why give the industry greater powers to frack where they wish?
Could it be that despite estimates of massive shale oil and gas reserves there is uncertainty about the viability of its extraction? Or is it because there is going to be serious opposition across the UK to these companies disrupting and quite possibly polluting our environment? Clearly it will be a whole lot easier, and I guess cheaper, for the drilling companies if opposition to fracking was made to go away. More worryingly, is it because the government believes that business is more deserving than the environment?
According to the government, Shale could meet our energy needs for the next 25 years. But what about our needs beyond that? No modern economy can run on fossil fuels indefinitely, even if you do manage to offset or cut carbon emissions. Fossil fuels will run out one day, and then renewable energy sources will be all that is left.