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Diary dates, fracking edition

Some more dates for your diary.

On Wednesday at 8pm, BBC Radio 4 is going to look at fracking, in the first of a new series that looks at intractable differences and sees where common ground can be found:

Most discussion formats set out to define opposing points of view and offer the listener a choice between them - maximum disagreement, minimum consensus. Agree to Differ is Radio 4's new discussion programme where the aim is to give listeners a completely new way to understand a controversial issue and to decide where they stand. Often when it comes to debates in these contested areas the protagonists spend more time attacking and caricaturing each other than they do addressing the heart of the issue. Agree to Differ will use techniques from mediation and conflict resolution to discover what really divides them - and just as important - if there's anything they can agree on. The mediator is Matthew Taylor the chief executive of the RSA and subjects for this first series will be fracking, vivisection and the future of Jerusalem.

Matthew Taylor has deeply "right-on" views, and indeed had the RSA doing research into individual carbon allowances - what I call "carbon communism" - at one time. Nevertheless I have always had the impression that he favours open debate, so I hold out considerable hopes for this programme.

Then on Friday we have a debate on fracking at the Edinburgh Book Festival (tickets here). This will feature a geologist, Zoe Shipton of the University of Strathclyde, against Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth. Shipton seems to be thoroughly mainstream, both on global warming and on fracking (she also features in an edition of Life Scientific here). Friends of the Earth need little introduction of course, being one of the most disreputable of the green groups. I'm looking forward to the outrage from the sci-policy people about a scientist being given equal billing with a pressure group.

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Reader Comments (10)

Ha. I wonder how many mining engineers they will have on the programme? As opposed to smelly protesters and Greenpeace fanatics?

Aug 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

It would be nice if parliament considered this too.

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"I'm looking forward to the outrage from the sci-policy people about a scientist being given equal billing with a pressure group."

Hah, thanks, needed a good laugh.

Aug 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBill

It is rather perverse that a discussion of a science and engineering issue would have mostly political activists. But this perversion is pervasive in the West today.

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Guido has a nice picture of the anti frackers campsite at Blackpool - complete with many large cylinders of gas :)

Aug 19, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Since fracking is the raping and mutilation of Mother Earth, could not this episode be combined with the one on vivisection?

Aug 19, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

As long as fracking is considered by the BBC as something requiring a special radio program involving know-nothing greenies, you'll never have an intelligent debate.

It makes as much sense as a philosophical debate program , involving celebrities, on the best method of setting bridge piles.

Aug 19, 2014 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

I see the Moonbat is speaking against fracking on the Radio 4 programme (this evening).

Aug 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is not just a debate for scientists. The linked article ends with

Professor David Mackay, DECC’s Chief Scientific Advisor Professor and the report’s lead author was more reserved when summing up the conclusion of the report. He said at the briefing: “We think the effect on the UK’s own target is likely to be small because the footprint of the shale gas and the liquefied natural gas its likely to be displacing is so similar.

Not a mention of the economic difference between importing foreign LNG, and extracting our own gas, expanding our own economy and tax base, and reducing our import bills and increasing our energy security. He's meant to have advised DECC? He might as well have been hired by the Qataris, to whom we seem to be selling London to pay for their gas.

Aug 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

So far in the discussion it seems that we have one lukewarmer debating with an extreme warmist.

Aug 20, 2014 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

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