Practical local action to tackle climate change and build a sustainable community
Transition Malvern Hills organised an evening about Fracking on Monday 10th of February 2014. We presented a few films and were given information from a member of the local Greenpeace group about their national campaign. Take a look at their wrongmove site.
There was an original plan for the evening which was to show a series of shorter films (see below) and have more discussion but at the last minute we discovered the film ‘The Truth Behind the Dash For Gas‘ from Frack Free Somerset who are a coalition of concerned groups in Somerset who are taking action on hydraulic fracking. We decided that this portrayed our concerns about Fracking in a much better way and more focused on the UK than the shorter films.
We started off the presentation by showing this 5 minute film that describes the process:
You may remember we have shown the film Gasland a couple of times since it was released here and over in Colwall. It really brought the process to the attention of the public and the media. In July last year, the follow up ‘Gasland Part 2’ was released so I’d like to show you a couple of 7 minute clips related to that. The first one is from MSNBC:
This is an interesting debate from the HBO show’ Real Time with Bill Mayer’:
Now what is Transition’s position? The fact is there is no ‘position’ as we are a network of individuals and linked groups. This evening was designed to get a discussion going locally. Greenpeace have expressed their view as a campaigning organisation but Transition is not really a campaigning organisation although a lot of us do campaign!
There is further reading from the Transition Network on Rob Hopkins‘ blog: ‘The Big Debate: Is there a ‘Transition position’ on fracking?’
My personal opinion that I wrote recently for the Observer (although they didn’t include it all) – I can’t speak for others in Transition Malvern Hills but my personal opinion regarding Fracking is that it should have no place in the energy economy we should be building in the UK.
I initially became aware of the process of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ due to the film ‘Gasland’ which was released 4 years ago and we have shown it a number of times in that period.
Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the government, has warned that fracking “won’t be a game-changer in the UK” and “there would be enormous environmental consequences”.
The process has already been banned in France and a number of US states.
My opinion is that we need to make a rapid transition to a zero carbon Britain and an example of how we could achieve this is outlined in the CAT (Centre of Alternative Technology’s) reports available for free download at zerocarbonbritain.org. We need to ‘Power down’ from using energy created from fossil fuels. We could all be so much more energy efficient and Transition Malvern Hills’ projects are all about reducing the energy used for transport, in buildings and food production. In buildings for example, so many are being build to a sub-standard. Our Energy Tracers project where we surveyed local homes with a thermal imaging camera revealed severe problems with the way construction is carried out, checked and regulated in this country.
Once this Powerdown is achieved we can then use renewable energy to ‘Power up’ and meet those lower requirements.
David Cameron stated that 74K jobs will be created by Fracking although it has since been demonstrated that it would be fewer than that, some 32-64K. CAT predict that over a Million jobs could be created in a Zero Carbon Britain so I know what option I would choose for our future.
The following information was submitted by our past Chairman, Robin Coates:
A recent Guardian article quotes a study from Oxford University by King, Oliver Inderwildi and Zoheir Ebrahim called ‘Macroeconomic Impacts of Oil Price Volatility: mitigation and resilience’ (published by Frontiers of Energy).
In addition to lots of stuff on curbing speculation and derivatives markets it calls for more far reaching policies to manage demand in an attempt to reduce dependence on oil. The authors note that additional unconventional fossil fuels obtained through processes including Fracking will come online over the next decade, suggesting that this is highly likely to keep oil prices relatively low and it describes this development as “terrible news for the environment” but “excellent news for the economy”.
It is clear the Government is going to bend over backwards to provide tax breaks (subsides by any other name), change planning and trespass law, official bribe home owners, communities and council to get this short term “excellent news for the economy” but all the time diverting investment from where it is needed in Energy Conservation and Renewable Generation and massive increases in energy storage. The environment risks of water table pollution and methane escape as well as the definite local disruption caused by large numbers of lorry movements are really serious but in the long run it is the lost opportunity of massively reducing green house gasses that will haunt future generations.