The low price of oil will affect Middle East environmental efforts

Times of Oman, 7 March 2016:

There is a creeping, devastating problem that flows from the low price of oil and is potentially catastrophic for the Middle East: the effect on plans to mitigate climate change.

In 1989 a then young medical doctor, Dr Robin Russell-Jones, wrote an editorial for the Lancet entitled “Health in the Greenhouse” It concluded as follows :

“Any strategy to combat global warming must be conducted on a global scale and is bound to involve enormous investment in energy conservation, re-afforestation, renewable sources of energy and changing patterns of agriculture and transportation This approach will require a new agenda for world leaders, a new role for the United Nations Environmental Programme, and a new awareness of man’s fundamental reliance on the integrity of world ecosystems. The expense may be considerable, but the cost of doing nothing is incalculable.”

Twenty seven years later nothing much has changed except that annual emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, have risen by 60 per cent. Continue reading

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Fracking : An English duck that will never fly

Times of Oman, 11 March 2016:

After reading the article by ‘The low price of oil will affect Middle East environmental efforts’ (March 7) by Richard Galustian last week on the impact on the environment of low oil prices, I felt compelled to raise another very important subject.

Fracking has aroused huge controversy in the UK, mainly in England, as there is a moratorium on fracking in Scotland and Wales. There is very little public support for fracking and virtually no local support with anti-fracking groups springing up wherever fracking companies apply for permission to drill.

Indeed to get the programme off the ground the UK government has taken away responsibility for permission to drill from the local councils and has had to offer generous tax incentives to fracking companies to make the industry financially viable. That was before the price of gas fell to one third of its peak value last year.  Continue reading