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« Hearing rules against UK renewables programme | Main | Quote of the day »

Fracking concerns - Josh 233


Given the recent protests about Fracking, I thought some cartoons on the subject might be a good idea.

Suggestions for further Fract Sheets are very welcome!

Cartoons by Josh

Update: Andrew pointed out that the birds were missing in the Wind Turbine half of the cartoon. Now added.

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Reader Comments (38)

The picture that's worth a thousand words.

Lovely, thanks.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

Well done Josh. I'm enjoying the calendar - roll on next year's version.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Excellent, Josh, and thank you - it would be interesting to see how the protesters would respond to posters such as this!!

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Given the increasing use of wood chips in power stations, will we have any trees left in the UK to surround the diesel/gas,etc. back up power..
To save the planet green power will require all the trees to be chopped down.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

I'm surprised not to see more avian corpses under the wind towers ......

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Rick, you are right, an oversight on my part which Andrew also noticed. Now fixed.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterJosh

...Suggestions for further Fract Sheets are very welcome!...

You might think of addressing:

the earthquake stories
the 'gas in water' stories
the groundwater pollution stories
the motivations of the protesters
the novelty (or otherwise!) of the technology

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Suggest people read "The Wealden Iron Industry" by Jeremy Hodgkinson, History Press. p17 . Spread of use of blast furnaces lead to increase in charcoal consumption by up to 1000x and massive deforestation of the Weald in mid 16C. Many very attractive homes in The Weald are former iron master's properties. Hammer ponds were excavated for iron works. The Weald was the centre of Britain's iron industry until 1700; grew oak for ships and buildings and produced bricks and tiles : it was the first industrial area in the UK.

Any above ground works at Shale gas well could be hidden in Wealden Barns: peg construction would allow removal after use. Many affluent people have garages made of oak beams with clay tile roofs.

It was the development of making charcoal from coal by A Darby in 1709 which saved the trees of Britain-charcoal was also important for glass making.

The use of shale gas, shale oil and coal bed methane may be as important as making charcoal from coal.

As someone has said, using carbohydrate to work ( manual labour) uses more carbon than gas . Look at C to H ratio for carbohydrate to methane (1:4).

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

You left out the scaffolding, and large pumped up paddling pool at the rear for pumped storage. And of course the overhead cables (yes they do have to be overhead, not just because they are ten times cheaper, but also because they have to be cooled by the wind at the same time as the wind follies are producing at high wind speeds.) You left out the substation, and the solicitors office to deal with the residents complaints and claims.

You left out the oil terminal required to fuel the many large vehicle movements to put the follies in place and remove them, and the concrete factory for the bases and piles if built on the Fens.

You left out the vehicle depots and the rubber factory for their tyres, and the army barracks and airforce base required to keep free trade with countries that supply them.

You left out the job centre required for the workers made redundant in other industries affected by the wind follies, and the increase in energy prices to pay for the subsidies.

You left out the police station and riot control unit required to maintain the peace as the truth of all this hits home.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

And bats. Did you know that it is an offence to "set and use articles capable of catching, injuring or killing a bat,or knowingly cause or permit such an action"? (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)

I should think that would cover windmills.

And guess where I found the information..?

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I don't know how you could draw it - but the top half of the picture would be full of noise, the bottom half, blessed silence.

Aug 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm

It reminds me of strip mining. And they look shiny now but wait for such infrastructure to rust, underground high voltage cables and washed out dirt roads included! There is no central maintenance. They should just start with Napalm.

Aug 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

Sorry to be a pedant, but ....

The shale gas panel would still need a gas power station (apples with apples etc.). Also, as covered in a recent WUWT, the output of a gas or diesel power station would be white or colourless :\

I hold us to higher standards than the "others". :)

Aug 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersimoncm

There is a legal case on bats and windfarms summarised here.

Aug 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Another good one Josh,but can you stop calling them turbines, the correct name is aero-generator but I think we all prefer windmill.

Aug 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Lovely. I agree that dead bats should feature. Also (although it may not fit in the space) a school with a windmill and horrified kids looking at the shredded birds underneath, as actually happened somewhere in the UK a while back would be good. I'm sure someone here would know the exact reference.

Aug 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

jamesp - that 'information' you obtained from the RSPB website, includes the following:

'It is an offence for any person to....


Now - that surely includes wind turbines..?

Any lawyers present..?

Aug 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Great suggestions, many thanks - I am working on the next cartoon.

And, yes, I am sure I have left out a lot of things out (thanks, Fen!) hopefully to be included in some way in later Fracts.

One thing I should add for Simoncm is that the inclusion of the power station was to remind us that wind power is intermittent rather than explaining how energy supply all works. That might get a tad complicated ;-)

Aug 9, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

Thank you, Bish. I might have known they'd weasel their way out of it, but the judge's comment “On that footing, many agricultural activities might be exposed to criminal sanctions" is debatable. It would have been nice if he'd said what he had in mind, assuming he wasn't just bluffing.

(And since when was 'other people do it' a valid legal excuse, anyway?)

Aug 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


The school children might like to know that the bats die not through impact, which they are skilful enough to avoid, but because of the partial vacuum behind the moving blades - in other words, their little lungs explode. Then again, they might not...

Aug 9, 2013 at 3:04 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Love the cartoon and how correct. Just got back from travels abroad which included AMTRAK across North Dakota - the heart of shale gas extraction in the country. The visual impact, even in a State where you can see for miles in any direction is minimal. Small pumps connected to a few collector tanks - no visible pipelines or any kind of in concrete monstrosity. Farming carrying on as normal all around. However the impact upon the wealth of the inhabitants is quite staggering, from various discussions with locals and out of State workers returning on the train the level of wages and direct payments to the local farmers/landowners has really turned this area into boomtown. Their only regret that I heard is that the local infrastructure has not yet improved to match the increase in population - but it is on its way. Passing through Williston (the main town) you could see plenty of evidence of new gas plants and miles of new gas tankers for the rail road - so so different from when I drove through the State 10 years ago and it was little more a declining unemployment black spot with the population deserting it for the cities. If this is Fracking then Frack now.

Aug 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commentersteve


How about a cartoon which debunks this image put out by the fractavists using some facts from this source

Aug 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Blofeld

I don't like the visible smoke from the power station, which is too reminiscent of the greenie portrayal of such things with photoshopped smoke or steam photographed against the light to look like black smoke, because in reality they do not smoke if working properly.

I know smoke <> emissions, but the green line is to conflate them because its harder to persuade people that there is a problem from something they cannot see. (The "things you can't see are harming you" line is a separate tactic.)

Aug 9, 2013 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

On top form as usual Josh.

How about two panels one with a glowing lightbulb and the words FRACK ON. The second is black with the hint of a dead bulb and FRACK OFF.

Aug 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2


"visible smoke"

But plentiful from diesel generators, which are part of the wind back-up scenario. Amazingly.

Aug 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@simoncm much of the frack gas would be going straight to be used as heating or even vehicle fuel.
... "The shale gas panel would still need a gas power station"
Yep except we can say this "The wind turbines would ALSO still need a gas power station" for the 70+ percent of the time that the turbines are not turning
- "the output of a gas or diesel power station would be white or colourless", except would the particulate filters work that well on small diesels which are starting from cold all that time really be that efficient
- BUT actually our local heavily subsidised STOR diesel plants are hidden by bushes
- Also the wind power needs magnitudes more transmission lines cos of the much further distances from typical users.
- in our area they've built special new roads for the wind turbines

- Also missing the huge holes in the UK to account for the magnitudes more concrete needed per KWh & another heavily polluted one in occupied Tibet to account for the metals for the special magnets
- To reflect UK accuracy : at least one of the turbines should be shown fallen down, and half the turbines should be shown not spinning even on a windy day.
- and in the first picture the bloke might well have abandoned living in that cottage due to noise, whereas in the second he would be OK
And Josh missed the bank trucks :
- in the first pic delivering the SUBSIDIES they take OUT (to Lord Wind Cat Cat)
- in the second trucking away the TAXES they pay IN

... a tombtone to represent the granny who turned down the heating made TOO expensive by the green subsidy demand
.. the unemployment queue to represent ..the promised green jobs which always seem to evaporate
- the closed down factories which have moved offshore due to energy made too expensive by the green subsidy demand
and a pair of BLINKERS to represent the narrow simplistic viewpoint of the greens; one side labelled "magic solution" the other "disaster". ...rather than the wide viewpoint of reality

Aug 9, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

A lot of good comments here.

Aug 9, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

Ha!.... You have a challenge Josh!

Aug 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

It should be: "Back up Diesel, gas or coal"

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

I think its quite amusing that the residents of Balcombe, all the while, have been sitting on a shallow sand bed just 136 feet down full of naturally trapped gas-cut water. Conoco found it back in 1986, and Cuadrilla have told the parish council all about it. Almost certainly of no commercial consequence- too shallow and low pressure- testing it would almost be a bubble hose in a bucket job controlled with your thumb. Anyway, Cuadrilla sent them a summary and a section of the Conoco composite log, here

Aug 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

Anyone read the shale gas article in this week's New Scientist?

Aug 10, 2013 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

Anyone read the shale gas article in this week's New Scientist?

Not me. It seems to be paywalled.

I did read this though...

Aug 10, 2013 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

Josh or Bish: How many wind turbines (lifetime 25? years) does it take to generate as much electricity as one can get from burning all the natural gas from one well in a combined cycle electricity plant (which is missing from your picture)?

You are also missing the roads and power lines needed to reach the wind turbines, the roads needed to reach the gas wells and presumably build the pipeline to collect and distribute the natural gas. How close can wind turbines be placed? Full exploitation of shale puts one well on about every 4 sq miles.

Aug 10, 2013 at 7:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Great cartoon. There aren't enough bats or small aircraft in the top photo for me.

Aug 10, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

"in the top photo"

I've always admired Josh's penwork, but even I hadn't realised it was that good!

Aug 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


In the lower picture you forgot the power station to burn the shale gas.

Aug 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

As I am very anti fracking I really can not 'like', look at the pictures of fracking areas they are not green or pleasant, but thats by-the-by, we will have to differ on that issue

There is however an alternative to both of these and that is industrial HEMP (not cannabis) hemp can produce 4 crops per annum and from each of these crops 3-4 different products can be produced from different parts of the plant, including biofuel, methane gas, plastics, paper, clothing, building products food, CLEAN air, all biodiversible, all non toxic, all recyclable, all not a threat to humans, ecosystems or wildlife, here's a link to some of the 50,000+ products, this surely is the way forwards? :)

This is just one link, look it up I am sure you will be surprised by this repressed product of the natural earth and how much land do we have sitting by being non productive? how many jobs would producing from this product create, we could infact GROW our way out of recession without destroying the planet in the process after all we do not have another one to go to do we?

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterPentrich1817

Fracking has a substantial footprint, if, for no other reason than the flowback ponds which are needed. The drilling towers are also quite noticeable. Images

Aug 14, 2013 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

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