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« No Arctic thaw this year? | Main | Outgassing »

After the shale rush

The story about the mind-boggling extent of the Bowland Shale rumbles on. BBC Newsnight headlined on the subject, also looking at the news that an assessment of the risk of the lights going out has concluded that things are worse than we thought. I'm not entirely convinced by the words of reassurance on the latter subject, although others beg to differ.

MPs who had read the newspapers yesterday were pressing the government to hold a debate on the subject, with Caroline Lucas of the Greens and MPs from the Bowland area leading the way. Reading between the lines of the government responses, they are not going to get it.


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Reader Comments (25)

This government is so unbelievably stupid that I just despair at their incompetence. Where are the voices of those with some influence who know that the policies are both suicidal and completely pointless?

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Great/tragic story in the Times today about the rare bird minced by a wind turbine, watched by dozens of twitchers....

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

This government must drop its ridiculous love affair with the green movement. There are scientifically sceptical MPs and they really need to make the case for common sense. Clearly Cameron, Haigh and all but one in cabinet are convinced warmists. Go for shale gas, big time. But prolong the lives oh coal fired stations for a few more years. Remind the EU that Germany is building more of them.

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Sorry, Charlie, but I posted that from the Telegraph at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
(Just showing off that I can occasionally be awake!)

On "reading between the lines", I think the Leader of the House is doing what he normally does on a Thursday afternoon and stonewalling. Members use this Business to air personal and constituency concerns, a bit like adjournment debates and putting down Early Day Motions. Lansley is simply stroking their feathers.
If Davey's Little Helpers can put enough pressure on him or Barking Mad then they may well get their debate and in the light of the idiocy of the current Energy Bill who knows what may happen. It could even be that Lucas gets her way and the stuff is kept in the ground.
Yet again I rejoice with some regret (if such a stance is feasible) that I no longer love in the UK.

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike, that sounds very threnodic... "I no longer love in the UK"...

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered Commentera pedant

Caroline Lucas - an English graduate, just the perfect expert to contribute to the debate. Yes the English degree expert - a common factor amongst the Green believers.

We can expect more attacks by the Green religion. They are saving us from our sinning. Better being pure and dead rather than evil and entering Hell.

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Mike Jackson said:

If Davey's Little Helpers can put enough pressure on him or Barking Mad then they may well get their debate and in the light of the idiocy of the current Energy Bill who knows what may happen. It could even be that Lucas gets her way and the stuff is kept in the ground.

If sitting MPs think that voters are going to hold them responsible for any power cuts it might help to concentrate their minds. Even if the worst comes to the worst, there would be one beneficial side effect. If MPs are forced to take sides on these issues then we will, at least, know who not to vote for at the next general election.

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Aye Andrew, I share your angst and frustration.

I reckon the lights will go out sooner, rather than as Fallon thinks - not at all and if and when they do, a big outage will mean a long period without electricity. Outages, this will be in winter - which will cause considerable civil disturbance, probably food riots and most definitely fatalities through hypothermia, disease and very overcrowded hospitals and consequently: thousands of deaths, worst case scenario - avian flu makes the jump and causes a pandemic.

Civil unrest, Is that really - what those numpties in the house of commons want - because that is what they are going to get.

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Athelstan on Jun 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM 'the lights will go out sooner'

Or Climate Change could be bringing us Global Cooling, and Greece would become a more attractive destination.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

One of the most pressing domestic issues of our time, which carries with it very serious ramifications (even if the lights can be kept on by getting industry to cut back demand when enery demands are particularly high carries significant adverse consequences relating to compensation payment, possibly reduced/part time working/employment, loss of tax revenues etc), and exactly the type of issue that the government is intended to deal with, and yet time cannot be made for a debate.

Tells you everything you need to know about Politics and the seriousness and integrity of those that govern us.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

"Better being pure and dead rather than evil and entering Hell."

At least the lights will be on there!

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Surely no-one in their right mind would take notice of anything Caroline Lucas has to say about science. How can there be a science-led debate in the House when there are only about four scientists in the House? The rest are ex-social workers, ex-NGO troughers, ex-lawyers and professional politicians. I don't think there is even a single engineer in the House. I'd be interested to find out if there was.

How peculiar that the work of scientists and engineers raised this country from a poor peasant society into a wealthy industrial society and now non-scientists and non-engineers are driving the country back into a peasant society.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

a pedant
Nothing like a good bit of threnody on a Friday morning!
Rule One for the Confounding of Pedants: Always proof-read even (or especially) when in a hurry.

richard verney
It's not that time cannot be made for a debate; it's simply that next week's business is already planned and, barring some major emergency (or the opportunity to emote on some matter which has no immediate effect on the welfare of the citizens of the UK — watch what happens to the schedule if/when Mandela snuffs it) there is not going to be a debate next week.
Thereafter,Lansley has no authority to do anything other than promise to pass on members' concerns and wishes.
My view is that there is no need for a debate. If everyone — and I mean the MPs and the sceptics like us and everybody in business and impoverished householders and every other individual person in the UK — took a step back and a deep breath and gave it a nano-second's thought, this is a no-brainer.
There is (perhaps) enough gas under Lancashire to fill the UK's needs for a century. Why do we need a debate?
Answer: because a select band of eco-idiots, anti-human campaigners, and other assorted nutters who (let me remind you) never have and never will command more than about 5% of the vote in the UK have as their raison d'être the impoverishment of the UK.
And up to now they're getting away with it — using non-existent global warming as their rationale.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The political caste, mostly privately-educated and PPE so ignorant of the real world, are finally smelling the coffee. They can't use the threat of the Sky Dragon anymore to impose the Marxist Totalitarian State and the stupid amongst them, Davey, Clegg, Cameron was stupid but has learnt a bit by experience, now know that the windmills are a dead loss, saving no significant fossil fuel use in our grid.

Shale gas is the ideal cop out because the big fossil fuel corporations apart from Shell are piling into shale gas and there's lots of it. They have of course known about this for many decades - just speak to any hard rock geologist who is or was employed by these corporations, and have controlled the market to maximise profit.

This is why they set up CRU, to create the fake CO2 scare.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

If sitting MPs think that voters are going to hold them responsible for any power cuts it might help to concentrate their minds.

My MP has over the last few years sent me anodyne answers about climate change, balance of payments improved by windmills, guff he's fed by the Treasury etc. I told him that the party in power when the lights go out will be out for a generation.

I hope I'm right.

So who to vote for? Hmmm... Lib Dems, welded at the hip to green philosophy? Ed Miliband's lot, _the_ Ed Miliband who fell for the sweet talk of an intern drafted in from one of the Green Troika, wrote the disastrous Climate Change Act and made her a baroness? The Cons who have been busy closing our power stations while the margin for error decreases?

Hmm... Must be some party that has said from the beginning that AGW was poor science, relying on windfarms was bad business and trusting the Greens on this subject was suicidal. Hmmm...

Go on. Membership costs on £30, £15 for pensioners. We need help, we can't do it alone.

Jun 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

If the lights go out our political elite hahaha must know that their claims to being an elite will, even in the eyes of the great mass who don't care much about politics and politicians, be compromised. You cannot at one and the same time put yourself forward as competent to run the country while letting an event of that kind occur, especially when the possibility of it happening, in the absence of action, has been known about for years. And just because the great mass don't much care about politics and politicians, the defence, quite correct, that the previous government should have started doing something about it years ago, will cut no ice. Nor will trying to shift the blame onto the EU wash either because the people will simply interpret that as another baleful consequence of being part of an organisation that virtually all our political elite hahaha are besotted with.

Jun 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

The sooner the lights go out the better. It's possibly the shock the UK needs.

I think the argument with the warmists is far from won. They can point to the leader of the free world spouting of his ecobable this week. The BBC continue to skew the debate with their own green agenda. Parliament voted through the Climate bill a few weeks ago.

The end to this whole sham might be in sight, but it's a long way away.

Jun 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMD

"Or Climate Change could be bringing us Global Cooling, and Greece would become a more attractive destination."

Hmm, a nice island just by Kefalonia but then, what about and beware the migrant hordes from the south.

Jun 28, 2013 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

@ bill

You cannot at one and the same time put yourself forward as competent to run the country while letting an event of that kind occur

Why can't you?

As long as there is no alternative, of course you can.

Jun 28, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

As an ex (very long time ago) nuclear power station engineer, I find it totally incomprehensible that an allegedly sophisticated western government can allow its country to descend to the level where it even has to CONSIDER asking big industrial electricity users to cut their consumption at peak times.
Sixty (or more) years we have had totally reliable electricity supplies in this country at a reasonable price. This government has not only allowed masive hikes in the cost to consumers, but due to their touching faith in fairy breath and peek-a-boo sunbeams, we are at a point where the relevant ministers are having to stand up and state that 'the lights won't go out', when clearly they haven't a clue as to just how reliant this country is on mains electricity. Not only that, but ALONE amongst Western governments have they tied their own shoelaces together, in the form of 'legally binding' targets to reduce CO2 emissions by EIGHTY PERCENT by 2050. Germany, the so-called 'poster child' of green movements, is quietly building over twenty coal (lignite..?) fired power stations, because they know perfectly well that wind power won't keep the Mercs and BMWs churning out of their factories.
We have this amazing potential bonanza in the shape of shale gas - which at last and at least the Chancellor recognises it for what it is - but the DECC still seems to be extremely reticent on the matter - maybe because ED Davey's avowed intention is that this good fortune should not result in reduced bills for the likes of you and me.
History is not going to be kind to those in 'power' at present.
I hope, belatedly, that they realise it.

Jun 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

@Phillip Bratby

Margaret Beckett MP, a Metallurgist by training (to degree level I think) is a true believer who thinks "it may already be too late".

Jun 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It's the Sun stupid. And indeed the Sun (the voice of the people) is supporting shale gas so that's ok then.

they even take a swipe at Friends of the Earth/Enemies of Mankind

Jun 28, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

Double page pull out in The Sun

Read it in the van at work this morning

..........."ALL HAIL SHALE"...........

Brilliant. Great news

Even had comment from Nigel Lawson and Benny Phieser
Who they describe as Climate Change Skeptic

Four million readers Britain's biggest selling tabloid newspaper

The Guardian cant say that

Next Tabloid headline, Keep Calm and Get Fracking

Jun 28, 2013 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Phillip B; according to this website there are about 70 MPs with some sort of technical or scientific background and/or an ongoing interest in such matters.
That's just over 10% of the total - no surprise there.

Jun 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Sherlock; there is something missing in these stories about cutting power demand from industry. I suspect those commenting - and the reporters - may not have all the facts and/or do not understand the subject.
For years large users have had various options for the cost of their power against possible demand reduction. The last time I came across one such scheme it was called "Triad" and it obliged the consumer (one of the water companies) to cut their demand to a very low minimum for a certain period of time and at quite short notice. If they failed to do so they incurred a very heavy penalty. Accepting this deal gave them significantly cheaper power.
It was my understanding - you may know better - that such arrangements were available to large consumers across the country. If so, the power companies already have the mechanisms to reduce demand.

Jun 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

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