A neat little illustration of how the rules over fracking are, in fact, just a method of stopping fracking rather than a careful evaluation of the dangers of earthquakes. We’ve just had an earthquake in Somerset and there’s no fracking for gas within a thousand miles of the place. There’s not even been any past fracking for natural gas within 200 miles of the place either:
A 3.2-magnitude earthquake has struck Somerset with reports of houses rattling from the tremor. The quake struck Bridgwater, north-east of Taunton, at 10.49pm on Thursday, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).
“We are receiving some reports of seismic activity in the Somerset area. We are looking into this and will post an update shortly,” the BGS said on Twitter.
It said the quake struck at a depth of 5km.
The US Geological survey measured the earthquake to be slightly stronger at a magnitude of 3.4 and a depth of 10km. It also measured the epicentre to be 7km south of Taunton. The difference is accounted for by slightly different computing measurements but neither is wrong.
Earthquakes are simply things that happen sometimes and at this sort of level they’re not dangerous either.
So, the rules that insist that fracking must stop if there’s a 0.5 quake? Pure nonsense imposed to make sure that no one does begin to exploit a cheap and low-carbon fuel. Because to be able to power industrial civilisation just would be such a terrible thing, wouldn’t it?
More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.
But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.
Twattish rules so that, effectively, it is banned. At some point we’re going to have to rise up and deal with these people.