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We ♥ fracking

Ben Webster in the Times is having a lot of fun at the expense of Greenpeace, whose poll on public attitudes to unconventional oil and gas rather rebounded when it emerged that more people were in favour of developing a shale gas industry than were against.

Paywalled here.

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Reader Comments (32)

On the whole the public are growing up. They know we need power and that renewables aren't good enough. The choices are stark. Rely on somebody dodgy like Putin; get the stuff from some poor country that is an environmental and social nightmare; fight on the open market for ethical, safe, reliable fuel and pay the huge price; drill our own supply; or go dark like part of London is experiencing now.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"dark like part of London"

No mention on the BBC, yet!

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:30 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"renewables aren't good enough" - Indeed. Two nights ago, the howling wind kept me awake. Today, wind power (as shown by Gridwatch is barely 3%.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterjames millner

The public may be getting the message but unfortunately our politicians, civil servants and planning inspectors aren't. Only a couple of days ago there were reports that approval will be given to big new wind power projects in Mid Wales that will have a devastating effect on the landscape, but the official announcement of the approval will be delayed until after the General Election - just in case it influences voters!

Windfarms decision 'being kept secret' until after the General Election, report claims

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I can't be bothered paying to read anything in the Times, which, thanks to the infinitely credulous Charles Clover, has been prepared to print just about any climato-lunatic drivel, in recent years. All the same, quite why greenpeace assumed they were winning the argument over fracking (while entirely avoiding the real argument) escapes me.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

I think it's very significant that public support for fracking is higher in the Greenpeace survey than the DECC surveys. I have always thought that the DECC, run as it has been by the eco zealots led by Ed Davey, have been manipulating public opinion using false data.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Rather more detail of The Times story here. And the inconvenient survey result can be found in the footnote tucked away at the end of the Greenpeace press release here.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Behind the same paywall is a piece on the Eden projects heat from deep down below exercise falling foul of Fracking controls. Nice one !!!

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

All other things being equal we'll need gas for literally decades to come. Even Ed Davey et al accept that reality. So, do we:

A. Import gas from unfavourable nations like Qatar, in the process exporting £billions out of our economy? OR
B. INVESTIGATE the viability of recovering our own gas from under our own feet, in the process possibly creating thousands of UK jobs and retaining £billions within the UK economy?

Tough choice. Incredible how Greenpeace et al can't choose their battles with a little more rational thought.

Apr 2, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

DECC questionaire
1. Don't you think the wonderful, free, natural power is great ?
2. That fracking owned by those big nasty evil oil corps, it sounds a bit scary doesn't it ?

So it it surprising that when Greenpeace hired a proper survey company who used a survey question, which mentioned the process but didn't actually use the toxic word itself, it came out with fewer scared people ?

Apr 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@jamesp: They did mention that power had to be cut to stop the fire, but that is all. Let's hope the good people of "Lundin" ( I live in Devon) become more aware of their energy, sadly I dare say no politician will be affected by this!

Apr 2, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Much as it is delicious to see Greenpeace being embarrassed. In this early general election sparring, vox pop seems to be the order of the day. Without wanting to sound too arrogant, opinion on its own is irrelevant, facts are the only salient factors in whether shale sees light of day or not. I am constantly being bombarded by the news media on stories in which random members of the public are asked their opinion, which usually is fairly relevant if the respondent is over 50 and base and banal if the respondent is young (but probably with a First).

Apr 2, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

Survey results here: Fracking Survey

Apr 2, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Registered Commenterallchangenow

cheshirered said " Incredible how Greenpeace et al can't choose their battles with a little more rational thought."

That comes in the porcine aviation category.

Apr 2, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Who would have thought that people would prefer affordable and reliable power supplies, over expensive unreliables?

The public seem to be more resistant to brainwashing, than the most intelligent Green Luvvies.

Apr 2, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Thanks for the survey results, allchangenow. Quite odd results really:

In Question 1: Are you in favour of fracking? (I paraphrase) The majority in virtually all groups was in favour.
But, in Question 2: Would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported fracking? The majority in virtually all groups were LESS likely to support such a candidate.

Apr 2, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Harry Passfield

Not so odd perhaps. People support fracking - provided it's not where they live.

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Vote Green, for Unreliable Power, you will be forced to depend on.

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Full Questions : They contextualise the process fully, rather than leaving out the word fracking completely as I first wrongly suggested.

Q1. Fracking is a process by which natural gas is extracted for energy production from underground by drilling a hole, creating a tiny explosion to fracture the rock and then injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to allow gas to be released. To what extent would you support or oppose energy companies fracking for natural gas in Britain?
result : about 45% support, about 32% oppose, about 23% don't know

( emotional words : energyx2, tiny, chemicals, frackingx2 shale natural, Britain )

Q2. If a local candidate in the General Election backed the prospect of drilling for shale gas, known as "fracking", in your local area, would it make you more or less likely to vote for them? Or would it make no difference?
result : about 15% NET answer "less" (30%"less" - 15%"more"), about 45% no difference, about 10% don't know

( emotional words : LOCAL x2 , General Election , energy x2, tiny, shale, fracking x1, "more or less" chemicals, natural, Britain , "make no difference" )

Difference could be that you can plant ideas in peoples minds by using emotional trigger words
- but more likely is that a candidates pro-fracking stance only makes a big difference to anti-frackers, and a small difference to those that support it.

- Note how you can spin the result by adding the "don't knows" to one side
e.g. 67% of people have no strong opposition to fracking
or If a candidate came out pro maybe she'd only lose 5% overall, or if "don't knows" swing opposite way she could lose 25%

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

John B:

I have always thought that the DECC, run as it has been by the eco zealots

DECC has a strong group of oil industry professionals who deal with technical work, handle oil and gas licensing rounds etc. They deal with drilling applications, have to review license bids and all the geoscience and engineering technical work associated with them etc. They also commission studies such as the shale gas potential by the BGS. Again, the BGS offers a lot of advice and they are also professionals (albeit more academic) who love to get their hands on new data and cores from the oil industry.

Many of these people have had proper jobs in the oil industry, they are very experienced and know their stuff. They will be an important touch of sanity and realism and if they were infected with green zealotry the UK licensing system would pretty quickly get shunned by all major oil companies looking to invest.

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Robin Guenier:

Not so odd perhaps. People support fracking - provided it's not where they live.

I would support fracking even where I live. I might object if the installation were very unsightly or the noise levels were very high for a long time, but I know that once the initial frack is over, its largely a gravel pad, probably screened by trees, with a Christmas tree (well head) and some pipework, plus an access gate.

Ie a lot less long term environmental impact than a typical farm. And it doesn't smell.

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

@thinkingscientist good thinking, I agree
.seems "local" is a strong trigger word (damm I should have kept quiet about that)

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

james millner - 3%..? Nay, nay and thrice nay...

Wind now producing 0.75% of current (modest) demand...

Which is as close to sweet FA as makes no difference...

Apr 2, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

stewgreen on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Even agreed conclusions can be presented in startlingly different ways.

I do remember the results of a survey that asked about our nuclear deterrent, where one third was against it, one third approved an upgrade and one third was for keeping what we had for a few more years.

We were presented two views of the data:
1. Two thirds don't want the upgrade, and half of those don't want a nuclear deterrent at all.
2. Two thirds want a nuclear deterrent, and half of those want an upgrade.

Apr 2, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

John B on Apr 2, 2015 at 9:51 AM
'using false data'

The words you were searching for are 'adjusted, [to agree with our theory]', 'the valid data points were selected' or just 'improved' or 'corrected'. There is also 'the results', meaning the output from computer modeling.

And 'massaged' would be a step too far, even though it is nearer the truth.

Apr 2, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Andrew, the point you made recently is telling. Residents want to secede from New York state and join Pennsylvania so that they can enjoy the benefits of drilling and fracking.

Apr 2, 2015 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Can't see behind the Paywall but I note from the GWPF that the survey covers only 2,035 people.

If they announced that it was a Greenpeace survey it's quite possible that some of those people who were ambivalent would choose to give the inconvenient answer.

People are awkward like that.

Apr 2, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Update on my previous post...

Wind now producing 0.28% of demand...

Which IS sweet FA..!

Apr 2, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1


I wonder if it will achieve actual zero this evening..?

Apr 2, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1


I wonder if it will achieve actual zero this evening..?

Apr 2, 2015 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Sorree - got confused with my (fractional) gigawatts and (fractional) percentages...

Apr 2, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

sherlock1, the figures confuse me too.

On the other hand, Green Luvvie maths proves that:

(Beggar All) × (Fresh Air) = 97%

Apr 2, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

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