Oil, gas and fracking Lincolnshire, part 5
Why the Campaign Against Fracking is Vital
The Elephant in the Landscape, as I wrote earlier, is global warming. The local environmental issues associated with fracking the gas-rich shales, important as they are, are not going to end life on Earth. They are manageable risks, like sailing oil tankers round the world or driving motor cars without the man walking in front with a red flag. We assess the risks, take precautions, and carry on, hoping that our precautions work.
Continuing to burn fossil fuel is not a manageable risk. In fact it's not a risk at all but a certainty that burning the 'unconventional' fossil fuels on top of the easy stuff will lead to catastrophic global warming. Anyone who cares about their grandchildren knows we're on the wrong road.
We have to keep this carbon underground. That's why the campaign against fracking is vital.
Individual efforts to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, our carbon footprint, don't actually cut the mustard. If we reduce our demand for fuel, the price drops, other people can then afford to buy the fuel and it all still gets burnt. This is a good excuse to use for taking a flight for a holiday - you say, "Well, if I don't burn the oil then somebody else will, so it doesn't make any difference to global warming". The logic is fine, though you may wish to question the ethics.
The point is that individual actions to reduce fossil fuel use will come to nought unless there are also limits to supply. Conventional oil, the easy stuff that comes out of the ground when you drill a hole, is limited by geology to such an extent there is a possibility that we might get away it. Add in the unconventionals, the tar sands, the deep off shore, the Arctic, the coal-bed methane, the underground coal gasification and the fracked shales, and we will certainly not get away with it.
We have to do whatever we can to make it difficult to exploit these resources, sending the price of oil and gas higher, forcing people to stop burning it because it is just not affordably available. The government could help of course by adopting Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) but until then we just have to make things difficult for those who wish to frack.
We have to keep this carbon underground. That's why the campaign against fracking is vital. I may have said that before. I will probably say it again.