Fracking does not solve our problems

The Independent, 14 November 2014:

Oliver Wright clearly thinks that he has steered a reasonable course between the proponents of fracking and the protestors (Inside Whitehall, 13 November) but ignores the fact that shale gas is just another fossil fuel. The question he needs to ask is not whether Greenpeace is more or less persuasive than Cuadrilla, but how he reconciles the exploitation of unconventional gas and oil with the future survival of the planet.

We already have three times more fossil fuels in proven reserves than we can safely use, so why does the UK Government insist on fracking when renewables offer the only sane solution to our current predicament? He should also recognise that fracking companies in the US have not been prosecuted for air and water pollution because the Bush administration granted them exemptions from the relevant legislation.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

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Climate Change

The Independent on Sunday, 2 November 2014:

I fear that your editorial is premature (“Era of climate fatalism is over”, 26 Oct). The European Union has done all it can to stitch together an agreement on carbon emissions, but the climate does not respond to non-binding political compromise, only to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It may be encouraging that businesses now recognise that our current path is unsustainable, but so long as international agreements are non-binding, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones

Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

The letter was edited for publication.  This is the original text:

I fear that you editorial is premature (Era of climate fatalism is over Oct 26) The European Union have done all they can to stitch together a non-binding agreement on carbon emissions, but the climate does not respond to political compromise, only to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Since 1990, the base-line year for Kyoto, annual emissions of carbon dioxide have risen by 60% globally. One could argue that Kyoto was a success politically, but in environmental terms it has been a disaster. A similair disconnect exists in relation to the UK government which likes to claim that it is “leading the world” on climate change. In reality it has reduced subsidies for renewable technologies, blocked onshore wind, promoted fracking, and earlier this month announced that coal-fired power stations in the UK could apply for government subsidies designed to promote green energy ! It may be encouraging that businesses now recognise that our current path is unsustainable, but as long as international agreements are non-binding, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise, almost certainly at  an increasing rate.