The Independent, 25 March 2014:
I find it extremely difficult to reconcile your newspaper’s stance on climate change with your support for fracking. (Editorial, “Fracking is right and necessary. So publish more evidence”, 21 March.)
The only environmental advantage offered by fracking is that burning gas emits considerably less CO2 per unit of energy than coal, but this only benefits climate change if fugitive emissions of methane released by fracking are kept below 2 per cent. In the US there has been no proper monitoring but releases as high as 9 per cent have been recorded. Furthermore there is no evidence that shale gas will replace coal. Instead the US is exporting cheap coal and power stations elsewhere in the world are now converting back from natural gas to coal with disastrous consequences for climate change.
Finally the Chancellor’s policy is to support shale gas at the expense of renewables which explains why UK investment in green technologies has halved over the past three years.
Opposition to fracking is therefore rational and scientifically based. It does The Independent no credit to pretend otherwise.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones MA FRCP FRCPath
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire