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« A cartoon week - Josh 361 | Main | Hiding your light »
Friday
Feb052016

Now what were those arguments against shale gas again?

Next week, the long-awaited public inquiry into Cuadrilla's planned shale gas developments in Lancashire kicks off. Witnesses from Cuadrilla will face off with representatives of green groups and protestors. Weeks of fun will ensue.

Readers at BH will no doubt be looking forwards to Friends of the Earth trying to convince m'learned friends that builder's sand is a dangerous carcinogen.

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Reader Comments (105)

Is that the test well that caused the earthquakes?

Remind me not to employ you for any bricklaying work ;-)

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Those would be the microquakes that were roughly equivalent to a passing truck, presumably, and only magnified to 'earthquakes' for dramatic effect.

The precautionary principle would doubtless insist, by extension, that we stop all public transport and heavy goods traffic, although natural seismic activity would carry on regardless - a bit like CC really...

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

From "Frack-free Lancashire"


Book your seat on the BIG RED BUS from Preston Railway Station to the venue
There will be a red double decker bus leaving Preston Railway station at 8.15am on the 9th Feb to take people to the National Anti Fracking Demo at Blackpool Football Club.


At least the seem to have one eye on avoiding misleading advertising. They are calling this the:


" National anti-fracking demo! Lancashire"


No doubt we will still see media reports about "local protesters" nonetheless.

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

One of the best ways to mitigate earthquakes is to use a massive damper. I wonder, Phil, if you are free for the next couple of years

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

@ Phil Clarke at 1:04 PM

"Is that the test well that caused the earthquakes?"

Remind other readers who may be unaware, where on the base-10 logarithmic Richter Scale, were those 'earthquakes'; and their severity.

Here's the Earthquakes around the British Isles that have occurred in the last 50 days:

http://earthquakes.bgs.ac.uk/earthquakes/recent_uk_events.html

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

snip O/T

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

"Operations using sand products (such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting) can result in worker inhalation of small (respirable) crystalline silica particles from the air. These types of exposures can lead to the development of disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer." - United States Department of Labor.
https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/

TL;DR - There is ample proof that sand is a carcinogen.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete Austin

We need a "Friends of Human Progress" or similar, to be invited to give evidence at these things.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Fisher

The arguments against fracking are traffic problems (real issue) and political cowardice (real problem).

If the local Council gives the go ahead for investment then the investment will take place.
Game over. And all the blame goes to the Council,.

If the council denies permission for investment then the decision is shunted up to another authority that has to find another reason to ignore the technical experts.
The investment isn't necessarily lost. And all the blame is avoided by the Council.

What do you think the Council will choose to do?

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Pete Austin, ground up crystalline silica particles are not sand.

Size matters.

Sorry, mate.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:04 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

snip O/T

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Great point, Joe!

Phil does make me laugh, he clearly has no technical skills in engineering, geology, geotechnics, etc! There was actually NO evidence that fracking caused any Earth tremors (for that was indeed was what they were, nothing more) at all, merely presumption & assumption, no evidence whatsoever! I think he must be a fully paid up member of the "Scary Story Brigade", being easily scare & frightened as he seems to become alarmed at the slightest thing! Hey Phil,..................... BOO!

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"One tremor of magnitude 2.3 hit the Fylde coast on 1 April, followed by a second of magnitude 1.4 on 27 May" in 2011. The North Sea seems to get events this big, not so much on land. I have no idea why.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Fisher

By the way, I know people in Lancashire and it's not exactly economically booming. One town I know has lots of closed pubs and boarded up shops. What are the chances the locals might be in favour of Fracking once they realise they could get as rich as someone from Aberdeen? What are the chances we'll hear about it?

Then again, with low oil prices, how long before fracking is profitable?

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Fisher

Is that the test well that caused the earthquakes?

Remind me not to employ you for any bricklaying work ;-)

Feb 5, 2016 at 1:04 PM | Phil Clarke
==========================

Anyone brought up in that part of the North West knows the are has always suffered from small quakes. My father, brought up in Crumpsall in Manchester from c1929 to the war, recalled one such, bringing cups and saucers down off shelves.

Phil. You are really are a chronic bore. There hundreds of thousands of fracked wells in the USA. Why not pop over there and survey local residents. Report back in say, fifty years?

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

TL;DR - There is ample proof that sand is a carcinogen.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Pete Austin
==========================================

And that you can die from drinking too much water. If very fine silica is a carcinogen, then operators will be required to ensure, as with so many many other things, that they are not a hazard.

Next?

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

fwiw - not that FoE / Phil will look

Frac proppants

and of course Wikipedia... unless spawn of Connolley has gotten at it.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:42 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The hazards of many rock and mineral-dust particles of a certain size or shape, regardless of origin, have been known for a long time. The general public are broadly aware of this and so will not be frightened by it. Many home decorators will have bought their own dust masks from B&Q or Homebase. Many of them will also have worked on a building site.

The greens are flogging a dead horse with this one.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Re: Pete Austin

They use silica sand as top dressing for football and hockey pitches. golf course tees, greens and, of course, bunkers.

As M Courtney said - size matters and so does moisture. Silica sand, of any size, in water is not a carcinogen.

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Pete Austin says:

"Operations using sand products (such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting) can result in worker inhalation of small (respirable) crystalline silica particles from the air.

Please explain how the use of sand in fracking is at all like the use in any of the quoted industries. The use of sand in fracking is no different to use by builders or a visit to a beach. Not aware of stringent restrictions or regulations on the use of sand by builders, nor HSE warnings about the dangers of visiting beaches.

Any attempt to link fracking to silicosis is unsubstantiated scaremongering.

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:02 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

If it's a public Inquiry, then the evidence presented by the experts on all sides (the council, the appellant and the opponents (FoE if they register as a Rule 6 Party)) will be tested by cross-examination. It should be fun. Of course an Inquiry is not carried out under oath, so it is not unknown for witnesses to lie (especially those working for wind farm developers).

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Jeremy Poynton says:

Phil. You are really are a chronic bore
- if only someone would frack him! He hates this country so much it shows. Like all greens, happy to tell you the problems, even when there aren't any, but incapable of seeing through the solutions, if any. Clarke gets off on teh wet dream of de-industrialising the UK and making it too costly to travel or heat. In another life he'd be knitting at the foot of the guillotine. A 24-carat donkey orifice.

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

If frack sand were a hazard (which I doubt), it would only be so to those doing the drilling. Even in the drilling, the action is down the borehole, not at the surface. Sand dust does not travel any distance. It is not smoke. The public at large would be in no more danger than if they are living near any factory with a dust problem (textile mill, sawmill, flour mill) and probably far less since a drill site is very small and open to the rain, which wipes dust away. Workers who work with dust take precautions. So the claims by Phil are bait and switch.

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Any attempt to link fracking to silicosis is unsubstantiated scaremongering.

https://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html#_blank

A survey by the US HSE equivalent found silica dust levels at 9% of fracking sites were high enough to require full face respirators. Not a walk in the park, or a lie on the beach.

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Harry

I hope you got a receipt from that charm school.

Have a lovely weekend.

Bye for now...

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Of course, you're right Phil: Spot the hazard; calculate the risk; and then mitigate it. What's so difficult about that?

Then again, I guess you're the same Phil Clarke who once said (when told that the output of models should not be treated as 'data'):

I think ‘processed data’ is the best description
(I do have the link to that).

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Phil Clarke, are you taking any responsibility for the people dying every day, due to a lack of clean water, food, medicine and reliable power, all denied to them, by the Green Blob that you worship with unquestionning faith in their selfrighteousness?

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

There has never been any evidence that silica sand is a carcinogen unless it is sufficiently small, <10 microns, to travel to the alveoli. Its action is first silicosis, generating scar tissue, then a small increase in the chance of lung cancer. However, that may be due to increased susceptibility to other carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke.

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

No sane person uses sand for blast cleaning because of the silica. It's grit blasting of course and even then with a proper air-fed helmet. Sawdust is carcinogenic, anyone for biomass boilers?

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterNigel S

Of course, you're right Phil: Spot the hazard; calculate the risk; and then mitigate it. What's so difficult about that?

No bother at all, I am sure the the silicosis hazard to workers can be managed effectively, indeed the employer has a duty to do so, even if it seems to happen more in theory than practice in the US.

Glad we have disposed of the canard that the environmental concern is over carcinogenic building sand. Sheesh.

Now, how will the frackers prevent the CO2 released when the shale gas is burnt and the methane from the inevitable leaks making it impossible to meet our legally binding emissions reduction targets?

That is my main objection, not noxious odours.

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

PS The link above is correct but gets redirected for some reason; here's the URL

http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/11/21/silica-exposures-in-fracking-over-60-percent-of-workers-may-be-excessively-exposed/

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The lung cancer risk is small but it is not zero. The frac sand has a grain size >0.4mm but I guess it gets ground into dust...

These findings confirm silica as a human carcinogen and suggest that current exposure limits in many countries might be insufficient to protect workers from lung cancer.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/813584

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil,

As you've become one of this site's most regular contributors, I'd be interested to hear a bit about you. Care to introduce yourself? Who are you? What do you do for a living?

I'm a National Trust gardener BTW. Live in the Cotswolds. I don't get out much. A carbon footprint the size of a water vole. A cottage the size of a water vole.

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

@ Phil Clarke Feb 5, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Considering your response at 3:40 pm, I suspect you're blissfully unaware of the irony of your remark of 1:04pm.

To remind other readers, you posted "Remind me not to employ you for any bricklaying work ;-)"; and you you have a penchant for quoting inap[plicable foreign sources.

You must know that in the UK it is H&SE & COSSH legislation which applies. The COSSH datasheet "Control of exposure to silica dust" lists concrete, mortar & brick as having crystalline silica content of between 25% & 70%.

Surely, no one as apparently risk-averse as yourself would have any bricklaying done?

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg463.pdf

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

@Phil Clarke: That's on the faux supposition that CO2 is an issue in the first place, & the only place that it is an issue is in unverifiable computer modles that are programmed to show a particular amount of warming for a given amount of atmospheric CO2, based on a "presumed" climate sensitivity to CO2, which, by the Wet Office's own admission is falling! It doesn't matter how powerful the computer is, if the theory is wrong, one just arrives at the wrong answer that much more quickly! Every report fabricated by the UNIPCC since its inception, has reduced its range of temperatures it thinks its crystal balls tell it in 100 years time!

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

@PC
"Now, how will the frackers prevent the CO2 released when the shale gas is burnt and the methane from the inevitable leaks making it impossible to meet our legally binding emissions reduction targets?"

Phil, repeat after me:
CO2 is not a problem. It's plant food. We need more of it, not less. Those emissions targets are economically crippling idiocy of the highest order.

Bish,
Thanks for snipping the Dork!

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

@ Phil Clarke at 4:18 PM

"Now, how will the frackers prevent the CO2 released when the shale gas is burnt and the methane from the inevitable leaks making it impossible to meet our legally binding emissions reduction targets?

That is my main objection...."

Do you exhale CO2 at 40,000 ppm, or are you a hypocrite?

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

A survey by the US HSE equivalent found silica dust levels at 9% of fracking sites were high enough to require full face respirators. Not a walk in the park, or a lie on the beach.

Feb 5, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Phil Clarke
=================================================

My God! As pointed out above by myself and at least one other person, some industries use dangerous procedures, and are required to make them non-dangerous. So, in this case, respirators are worn. As they are in many other industries. Should they all be closed down as well because Phil Clarke thinks any industrial activity that might require such as a respirator should be banned. FFS. Witless stupidity. Phil, throw your spade away.

Feb 5, 2016 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

For those enquiring about Phil Clarke, he's a temp computer programmer with a Uni of Salford degree in Physics and supporter of Greenpeace. He spends most of his time trying to control the debate over CC on Contractor UK. Like you've all seen with his behaviour here, he posts large number of graphs and links from various sources whether they be tabloid or the usual suspects such as SkS.

He cedes nothing, never debates, always has to have the last comment with plenty of sarcastic jibes and ghost edits. His MO appears to be to shut down any debate about his pet hobby.

Ironically, most of the posters were non-plussed about CC, but his behaviour has swung most to the more skeptical side.

You can see him in action here.

Feb 5, 2016 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeware of Geeks Bearing GIFs

DNFTT

Feb 5, 2016 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Jeremy: @4:55pm. Seconded.(FFS. Witless stupidity - by PC) :-)

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Someone, whose name escapes me, said: "The lung cancer risk is small but it is not zero." I bet there's a great shortage of cotton wool around his neck of the woods. Imagine, never going out in case the risk of doing so it above zero.What we, in my neck of the woods, call a 'wus'.

PS: Oh, and Phil C: you complain of a link being redirected. Hah! You're a clever-clogs. You know how to do embedded links yet you mostly use cut 'n' paste links - I guess in the hope that commenters will not bother. But your history of providing links is that once they are checked you not only fail to support them you divert to another link and claim that is what supports your argument. You claim that - actually, you pray in aid - news releases by Greenpeace have the power and weight of peer-reviewed papers and when you're rumbled try to ignore that call and submit a second link. And when you are caught on these links you dissemble and/or ignore the argument and move on. Very Alinsky-like; very Greenpeace; very cowardly. You even think that models deliver data.

You're an intelligent man, Phil, so I guess you just want to rule the world.

Not.a.chance.

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:24 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Our climate obsessed friends are highly resistant to new information.
I provided links showing lists of compounds used in fracking. dusty silica is not on the list.
The FoE and their pals are giving us yet another climate/enviro bit of hype and deception.

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Surely, no one as apparently risk-averse as yourself would have any bricklaying done?

I would use building sand which <> frac sand.

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Hunter: I know what you mean, for some, the PC (politically correct - who else?) it's called confirmation bias.

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:55 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Phil Clarke thinks any industrial activity that might require such as a respirator should be banned

I never said that. Which part of 'I am sure the the silicosis hazard to workers can be managed effectively' do you need help with?

Take away the straw men, and the missed points, wilful or unwitting, and this thread is a lot shorter.

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Hunter, the fracking process produces silica dust from the sand. Not difficult, surely?

Feb 5, 2016 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Pete Austin
'"Operations using sand products (such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting) can result in worker inhalation of small (respirable) crystalline silica particles from the air. These types of exposures can lead to the development of disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer."'

Note careful use of subjunctive 'can' further diluted by 'including'.
Cotton can also cause these effects, as can wood... indeed pretty well anything can if inappropriately handled.

So selling any garment with cotton in it is selling a carcinogen?
Selling any wood product ditto?
Clearly going anywhere near a beach is suicidal.

The material used in fracking seldom gets near any human - unless they live a mile underground.. Perhaps the fracking well itself might contract cancer?

Crying 'cancer!' like this is like crying 'Fire!' in a theatre or cinema. Likewise it should be a criminal offence to do so.

Feb 5, 2016 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

When arguing the toss with Phil Clarke, it helps if we remember that a few years ago he thought "distinguished Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge, Peter Wadhams" was the go-to scientist for claims of Arctic ice loss. (I have the link)

I suppose that Arctic ice has its hazards, but predicting ice loss has risks - to reputation.

Oh dear.

Feb 5, 2016 at 8:10 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

@Phil Clarke: how can the fracking process, pressurising a liquid suspension ~3,000 m underground cause ~1 mm diameter, near spherical sand particles to fracture to 1/100th the diameter, then miraculously travel 3,000 m to ground level to cause a serious health risk to workers?

It is quite clear that you are a pathetic troll whose Modus Operands is to pluck imaginary scary stories from the aether. Take your snake-oil somewhere else where there are no qualified opponents of your mindless drivel.

Feb 5, 2016 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

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