The Guardian, 23 July 2015:
You describe the UK task force on shale gas as “independent but industry-funded”. This would seem to be a contradiction in terms. Time and again bodies that are industry-funded come up with reports that are supportive of the corporate position. It is impossible to know whether people are recruited because they already hold views that support the industrial position, or whether the funding censors them from holding different views. In practice it doesn’t matter, because their reports are almost always supportive of industry. This has become abundantly clear over the years with tobacco company-sponsored research so biased that leading medical journals, including the Lancet and BMJ, have announced they will no longer accept papers from this source.
Similar strictures should be applied to the fossil fuel industry, particularly to an area as controversial as fracking. A truly independent view is provided by the report from the chief scientific adviser to the cabinet, or the environmental audit committee in the House of Commons, both of whom are opposed to fracking in the UK.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire