The Observer, 14 October 2018:
Why is it so difficult for the Observer to make up its mind about fracking (“Fracking fissures obscure the need to embrace green technologies”, leader)? Shale gas is a climate-changing fossil fuel, yet you claim the environmental impact of fracking is “unproved”.
It is true that gas produces less carbon dioxide per unit of energy than coal, but this is offset by the rapid rise in atmospheric methane largely attributable to increased gas production globally and the cavalier attitude to fracking in North America.
The second problem is timing. It has taken seven years for Cuadrilla to resume drilling and it will probably take another 10 to 15 before gas is being produced in commercial quantities and even that will depend on government support. So shale gas will come on stream at the same time as the UK is scheduled to decarbonise its electricity supply; in other words it will be displacing renewables, not replacing coal.
Fracking is being foisted on local communities by a business-friendly, environmentally illiterate government.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet