Carbon capture, fracking and green-tinged Tories

The Guardian, 5 February 2014:

Chris Hope’s proposal to limit fugitive emissions from fracking by taxing methane at $1,200 per tonne is an excellent solution in an ideal world (Report, 27 January). In reality we have a government that is offering tax breaks to the fracking industry and sweeteners to local councils in the hope that exploration permits will be granted. Studies by Professor Tom Wigley have shown that fugitive emissions of methane from fracking have to be kept below 2% if shale gas is to have any advantage over coal from a climate change perspective. There is currently no UK legislation that limits the amount of methane released by fracking. The Environment Agency is relying on Alarp (as low as reasonably practicable), a poorly defined principle that has to include costs. And if there is any disagreement between industry and the regulatory authority over costs, there are no prizes for guessing which side the environment secretary, Owen Patterson, will support.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire