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« What New Scientist wouldn't print | Main | Still going slow »
Monday
May232016

Yorkshire goes unconventional

Well this was enough to lull me from my blogging stupor:

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

Protesters booed and jeered as councillors gave the go-ahead for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.

The problem the greens are going to have now is that when the sky doesn't actually fall in, they are going to be left looking pretty dishonest. 

Again.

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Reader Comments (487)

When asked whether they support or oppose extracting shale gas, just over four in ten of the public neither supported nor opposed it (44%). This is most likely a reflection of the lack of knowledge people have about fracking. Amongst those that were only aware of fracking (but knew nothing about it), or that hadn’t heard of it, over 60% selected the neutral option or ‘don’t know’ when asked if they support or oppose its use.

Amongst those that did offer an opinion, slightly more opposed (29%) fracking than supported it (23%). This is similar to the findings seen since wave 14, but still a reversal of the findings when these questions were first asked at wave 8, when 27% supported it against 21% that opposed. This shift towards opposition has happened gradually over the last two years.

Support for fracking appears to be inversely linked to awareness, as those who know more about fracking tend to be more likely to oppose it. There is more opposition than support amongst those who know a lot about it (53% vs. 33%), and know a little about it (40% vs. 26%). For those who are aware of it but don’t really know what it is, the stances are even (both 18%).

[…]

Support for renewable energy has been consistently high during the tracker at around 75-80%. This pattern has continued at wave 16, with 78% expressing support for the use of renewables. Opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 1% strongly opposed.

DECC Public Attitudes Survey Wave 16, Key Findings.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/496961/wave_16_Summary_of_key_findings.pdf

May 25, 2016 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

PC what do you think the public base their attitudes on?

May 25, 2016 at 10:40 AM | Registered CommenterDung

The reinstatement of fat this week after thirty years of denigration when sugar was the real culprit is seminal. In thirty years time, who will remember this debacle, as house owners protected the value of their own homes!

May 25, 2016 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Phil Clarke, the DECC is an Unreliable source of information, having selected Unreliable sources for it's own information. The future of the DECC is uncertain, as politicians realise how untrustworthy DECC statistics are. If only politicians had listened to the taxpayers sooner.

May 25, 2016 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil Clarke: Your link overflowed the comments box rendering the link useless. Now, I know you know how to put links into html so why not do it. That way, readers here would not have to go searching for the document you're quoting, as I have done.

It makes an interesting read. From a survey pov, this is interesting (Note: the blockquote has screwed the formatting):


The results shown here are based on 2,121 face-to-face in-home interviews conducted with a
representative sample of UK adults aged 16+. Fieldwork was conducted between 9 December
2015 and 13 December 2015 on the TNS UK Omnibus, which uses a random location quota
sampling method. The questionnaire was designed by DECC and TNS BMRB drawing on a
number of questions from previous surveys. Questions were refined through cognitive testing.
The representativeness of the data was controlled through sample design, fieldwork quotas and
post-fieldwork weighting. Data were weighted for the following characteristics: sex, age, social
grade, region and tenure. Results included here are based on weighted data.

My first thought was: 2k respondents??? Followed by, 'weighted'? Finally, I figured DECC would design the questions to get the answers it wanted. It would have been interesting to have asked people whether they felt the same way about fracking if they were told that without it, and relying more and more on windmills, their energy bills would rise considerably.

May 25, 2016 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

PS: To Phil Clarke. Before you jump in, yes, there was a question on the survey concerning energy bills and how the sampled respondents felt about them. However, the questions were not put in context; they were just asked about how they felt about energy costs.

"Worries over paying for energy bills have remained relatively stable since wave 14. At wave 16,
25% were either very or fairly worried about paying for their energy bills. At this point last year
when wave 12 was conducted, this percentage was higher at 31%. Similarly to wave 14 and 15,
worries about energy bills at wave 16 were at their highest amongst 25-34 year olds (31%),
social grade DE (35%), private renters (38%), social renters (33%), and those with household
incomes under £16,000 (37%)."

May 25, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

They asked 16 year old's about their energy bills?

May 25, 2016 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Regardless of the way the questions were phrased, what is the point of asking the public about Fracking? When did anyone ever give the public good information?

May 25, 2016 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterDung

It would have been interesting to have asked people whether they felt the same way about fracking if they were told that without it, and relying more and more on windmills, their energy bills would rise considerably.

More disinformation. Fracking will have a negligible effect on gas prices.

May 25, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Public surveys on these sorts of topics are a complete waste of time. I give quite a few talks on renewable energy and usually to people who are well-educated and well-informed. I gave one a few weeks ago (which was well received, he said) and afterwards people came up to me to say how interesting it was and "I didn't know that" - basically the public are ill-informed about energy. By popular request I am giving the talk again to another interested group of intelligent folk this weekend.

May 25, 2016 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

My uni has done a survey on public opinion on fracking. The latest one, Sept 2015, has over 6000 participants.

They find that the public still support fracking though the level of support is lower than it was a few years ago, which is not surprising given the misleading spin from the like of Harrabin. About 45% say it should be allowed, 35% say no, the rest don't know. About 60% think shale gas will bring economic benefits.

May 25, 2016 at 12:11 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Capell

Thanks for the current wholesale gas price. It makes the economics of UK shale gas even worse than I thought.

You are correct that the current Rydale application is reconnaissance rather than commercial production, but it still looks like the first of many holes into which foolish investors might be persuaded to pour money, for no return.

There is great enthusiasm for fracking at BH, but no sign that anyone has put their money where their mouth is.. I wonder how many of you have invested in Cuadrilla, Thistle or Tamboran?

May 25, 2016 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Fracking may or may not have a negligible effect on UK gas prices because UK energy is a cartel however US fracking has obviously reduced gas and electricity prices there considerably.

However to frack or not to frack in the UK has always been more about security of supply, jobs and increased tax revenues. If the rest of the EU were to copy the UK in shutting down coal then everyone will switch to gas and what will happen then?

Remember the government trilemma is
1. keep energy costs down.
2. ensure security of supply.
3. reduce CO2 emissions.

Gas from wherever fulfils all 3 criteria, unlike renewables. For folk so fond of consensus science you'd imagine they'd stop promoting isolated & discredited studies and start promoting the academic consensus on fracking. But greens liked gas power when they thought it would be expensive. It is the sudden cheapness that made them change their tune. ie they outright reject items 1 & 2 of the trilemma. If the public realised that then they'd be a lot less supportive of greens.

May 25, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Fracking will have a negligible effect on gas prices.
Said with such confidence. Do you have some special contact or knowledge to get this information? Perhaps we should be turning to you for a list of the winners at this weekend’s race meetings. However, the only place that fracking has been embraced has seen quite a marked reduction in gas prices, so there is quite a high probability that you could be wrong. Even if there is no actual reduction in the price, it is highly likely that it will inhibit future rises.

May 25, 2016 at 12:45 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Did you know that the United States is the biggest supplier of oil and gas in the world, producing a great deal more than either Russia or Saudi Arabia?

" Most news about the state of American energy has been grim of late, and for good reason: the collapse in oil prices has pushed dozens of U.S. suppliers into bankruptcy as the fledgling shale industry—the driver behind this country’s remarkable energy renaissance over the past decade—has struggled to stay profitable when a barrel of oil is selling for less than half of what it was two years ago. On the natural gas side of things, a domestic glut has kept prices similarly depressed, and hopes that liquifying shale gas and shipping it abroad have been let down by an already well-supplied global LNG market and corresponding drops in prices.

But reports of America’s energy demise have been greatly exaggerated, because despite stiff competition elsewhere, there’s no denying that the United States is sitting on huge reserves of yet untapped tight oil and shale gas, and companies are hard at work innovating new ways to bring those hydrocarbons out of the ground, even at discount prices. In fact, the EIA expects the U.S. will soon become a net energy exporter........"

May 25, 2016 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

All PC illustrates with the survey is that lies told by climate obsessed people have not yet been exposed.

May 25, 2016 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

@RR This side go with Science and logic
The other side go with dirty PR tricks
I'm willing to accept people as sincere when then say they reasonably certain CAGW will occur

But when people play PR games
: like the "97%",
or 'planning permission is undemocratic, cos more there were more letters objecting'
or are just are willing to blurt out things as FACT like "Fracking will have a negligible effect on gas prices." when they can't possibly be certain
..Then we can say they are disingenuous debaters.

..... Being "disingenuous" is the closest PC has ever been to being "a genius"

May 25, 2016 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"We are part of a well-connected European gas market and, unless it is a gigantic amount of gas, it is not going to have material impact on price"

Lord Brown, Chairman of Cuadrilla

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/29/browne-fracking-not-reduce-uk-gas-prices-shale-energy-bills

"North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices – so we can’t expect UK shale production alone to have any effect.”

Ed Davey.

https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/news/2013/09/10/fracking-will-not-have-any-effect-on-british-energy-prices

May 25, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

EM
The financial quality of an energy investment has done nothing to repeal investors in solar. By comparison, a dabble in fracking seems paved with gold.

And perhaps your source of information on shale extraction costs are wrong, or are US energy investors really stupid?

May 25, 2016 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

JamesG "Remember the government trilemma is

1. keep energy costs down.
2. ensure security of supply.
3. reduce CO2 emissions.

Gas from wherever fulfils all 3 criteria, unlike renewables "

No, 'fracked' gas has a negligible impact on prices and makes it virtually impossible to meet out emissions targets.

26. Any large scale extraction of shale gas in the UK is likely to be at least 10-15 years away. It is also unlikely to be able to compete against the extensive renewable energy sector we should have by 2025-30 unless developed at a significant scale. By that time, it is likely that unabated coal-fired power generation will have been phased out to meet EU emissions directives, so fracking will not substitute for (more carbon-intensive) coal. Continually tightening carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act will have significantly curtailed our scope for fossil fuel energy, and as a consequence only a very small fraction of the possible shale gas deposits will be burnable.

27. A moratorium on the extraction of unconventional gas through fracking is needed to avoid the UK's carbon budgets being breached in the 2020s and beyond, and the international credibility of the UK in tackling climate change being critically weakened — already a prospect if the provisions in the Infrastructure Bill aimed at maximising North Sea oil extraction are passed.

 Energy and Climate Change Committee - Environmental Audit

May 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke: You may think you know the future price of shale gas (crystal balls?) but no matter the price, the fact is that the exchequer will benefit from duty and tax receipts from the production of this fuel. What's not to like about that? Will windfarms and solarfarms produce as much revenue for the country? I think not.

May 25, 2016 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I wonder if any of these fine people managed to predict the recent drop in oil (and gas) prices. Why no they didn't! In fact they said the exact opposite! That gas and oil producers prefer high prices is no surprise to the economically literate and neither is the fact that Ed Davey just pulls his 'facts' straight from his arse.

May 25, 2016 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It really is scraping the barrel when someone cites Ed Davey as an expert on anything.

May 25, 2016 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

DECCs oil price projections October 2012..
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65698/6658-decc-fossil-fuel-price-projections.pdf

It's almost comical. We should be at $119/barrel about now.

May 25, 2016 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Phil Clarke (pace Ed Davey):

North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices
Yet the revenues from it seemed enough to pay for the country to be completely converted from town to natural gas. The engineering feat of running such a massive pipeline network and then converting millions of domestic cookers did not come cheap. And unlike the useless windmills which I help pay for, I don't recall being made to pay for that conversion (at least, not as blatantly).

Furthermore, if you want to believe all you read coming out of DECC/CCC you are a bigger fool than I thought.

May 25, 2016 at 1:43 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

PC's cited experts accurately predicted the fall in Oil/Gas prices did they ?

May 25, 2016 at 1:46 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

There's an article about it in the Conversation, which is more reasonable and balanced than most articles there.

"However, this is a relatively modest proposal to hydraulically fracture an existing well at a site that has been producing gas for many years, and which is already connected to a nearby power station by a pipeline. The development programme involves no new drilling and will be short lived."

May 25, 2016 at 1:52 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

@HP Technical note
May 25, 2016 at 11:11 AM | Harry Passfield
"the blockquote has screwed the formatting" ..em no that was in the copy and paste bit
Unlike html which strips out line spacing ..posting here keeps the ones you pasted over.
Here I pasted your text into the google box, hit enter , and then reselected the same text ..this time it has no line-spacing

The results shown here are based on 2,121 face-to-face in-home interviews conducted with a representative sample of UK adults aged 16+. Fieldwork was conducted between 9 December 2015 and 13 December 2015 on the TNS UK Omnibus, which uses a random location quota sampling method. The questionnaire was designed by DECC and TNS BMRB drawing on a number of questions from previous surveys. Questions were refined through cognitive testing. The representativeness of the data was controlled through sample design, fieldwork quotas and post-fieldwork weighting. Data were weighted for the following characteristics: sex, age, social grade, region and tenure.
Results included here are based on weighted data.
After repasting I usually put in linespacing to make it readable, using Enter on the keyboard at the end of a line.

May 25, 2016 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It seems obvious that EM and PC could, if they worked together, fill a postage stamp with all they know about Shale.

May 25, 2016 at 2:12 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thanks, Stew. It was a cut 'n' paste from a PDF - so I shall remember your tip for the future. (ordinary html pastes just fine)

May 25, 2016 at 2:14 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Too much pontificating here for me. Lets forget about silly pointless "emissions" targets & scarp the CCA! Then we can all get back to worrying about real issues instead of naturally changing climate in an interglacial, since the previous four interglacials were warmer than today by between 3-5 degrees Celcius! Frack & frack now!

May 25, 2016 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alan

If only it were possible to impeach a UK Prime Minister who acted against the interests of our country; we would have him over a barrel!
It would be easy to show that reducing UK emissions of CO2 has zero effect on global warming even if AGW was a fact.

May 25, 2016 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterDung

PC quotes from the Energy & Climate Change Committee and manages to keep a straight face:

"the extensive renewable energy sector we should have by 2025-30"

Go on then, Phil Boy, so that's extensive how (onshore wind? offshore wind? solar? hydro? Severn bore? Other?) and reliably, predictably and & consistently producing how much exactly? You did notice that weasel word 'should', right?

It's not your cash, so what is it about proving the viability (or otherwise) of fracking that makes you & your clique so fundamentally opposed?

May 25, 2016 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

EM's concern about the profitability of the natural gas industry would almost be touching if it were not so transparently cynical and ignorant.

May 25, 2016 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

As DECC have been indoctrinated in the Greenpeace logical fallacy that £10bn of useless wind turbines produce ten times more electricity than a mere £1bn of useless wind turbines, because it is always windy somewhere, and this is good value for taxpayers money, provided there is reliable electricity to back it all up, I am not blown away by either Greenpeace, or Phil Clarke or DECC economics, assuming there is a difference.

Shale gas is going to blow up in the face of DECC, which is what they and Greenpeace are frightened of. It will expose their lies and false economics.

May 25, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's not your cash, so what is it about proving the viability (or otherwise) of fracking that makes you & your clique so fundamentally opposed?

The answer is right before you. Every religion has a strain who believe that if people are forbidden from sinning they will fill their lives with godly works and find salvation. The CAGW cult has made that principle a central tenet of their religion. They will save us from Gaia's wrath, even if they have to drag our ungrateful carcasses away from our sinfully sumptuous lives against our will.

Fracking and other forms of inexpensive energy production permit people to live prosperous and comfortable lives. They see this as enabling gluttony. They wish us to live ascetic lives "in harmony with nature". They loved natural gas when it was expensive, and now that it is cheap, they oppose it.

They won't admit that they oppose cheap energy; they just come up with rationalizations that cite environmental damage, threats to health, or economic instability to con people to go along with their ideas. And they don't care that their rationalizations are easily shown to be utterly ungrounded in reality, to be based on falsehoods or the product of a risible bunch of unrealistic fantasies, since those rationalizations aren't the real reason they want to force people into poverty.

And it's useless to argue against these rationalizations with them since their opposition to your sinful prosperity is in no way rebutted by your arguments.

May 25, 2016 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered Commentertarran

BBC? Yes BBC!

Fracking: Yorkshire 'has chance to be centre of European industry'

"The first fracking operation in England since a ban was lifted in 2012 has been approved at a site close to the North York Moors National Park.

When any fracking application is discussed attention focuses on the environmental arguments, but what could fracking in North Yorkshire mean for the regional economy?

"Our region has the chance to be at the centre of Europe's new fracking industry," according to Paul Glover, the chair of Petrophysics at the University of Leeds.

"Its all about first mover advantage. Look at what happened in Scotland. When they found oil under the North Sea they had a choice to base the new industry in either Aberdeen and Dundee. Aberdeen was chosen and history shows us that it's done very well"............"

May 25, 2016 at 3:16 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

PC
You still haven't grasped the fact that when someone says that shale won't affect gas prices, what they really mean is that it won't decrease them. And that's true. We all agree. But it does mean that for a long, long while gas is going to be cheap.

All the UK needs to do is confirm the size of its own reserves (for strategic good sense), and then decide whether to extract, or import, then fully aware of the cost implications of both alternatives.

May 25, 2016 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

@Dung: Oh if only we had a law whereby we could impeech the PM for misleading the public at large, let's get a written constitution asap!

May 25, 2016 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

@GreenSand you get excited reading that BBC article on the benefits of starting a fracking industry and then you get right to the and
..... and find they have followed their policiy of alloing Greenpeace the final say

And when it comes to arguments about the longer-term economic impact of fracking, opponents point out there is a risk of causing irreversible damage to the county's most important industry of tourism.
Of course well are quickly set up and then operate inobtrusively. Current oil wells don't harm tourism.

May 25, 2016 at 3:31 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The results shown here are based on 2,121 face-to-face in-home interviews ...

Ah, the face-to-face interview; the most reliable survey method for getting the answers you want:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

May 25, 2016 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

stewgreen

In a BBC News article that points to the potential benefits of shale, I can cope with the sop at the end.

May 25, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

As a tourist to the British Isles and Ireland I found the frequent presence of large wind turbines, cluttering the environment and visible miles and miles away a real turn off. They are highly visible signs of industrialization ruining the natural views. Driving through South Texas it is possible to drive past developed gas fields and notice nothing at all, except the occasional pipe manifold sticking up less than two meters above ground. Cattle and wildlife graze or meander nearby without care.The wind turbine farms, on the other hand, are visible from miles away and industrialize the landscape, with no cattle or wildlife in sight.

May 25, 2016 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Billy Liar 3:34 an absolute classic! Thank you, I had forgotten the mastery of Yes Prime Minister in exposing manipulation techniques.

May 25, 2016 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

hunter, 5:13 The embarrassing search for evidence of WMD, continues to cause embarrassment, and the costs of this epic failure continue to rise.

Many people would happily provide evidence in the UK of Windturbine Mass Destruction.

May 25, 2016 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil Clarke said: Germany Just Got Almost All of Its Power From Renewable Energy

The Agorameter for the relevant period shows a chart quite unlike the chart included in the bloomberg piece. That would be the second news story this month claiming Germany almost or entirely run on renewable power which can be shown to be incorrect.

The Agorameter. Set the start date for 15.05.2016 and the end date for 15.05.2016 and you'll see the data has been revised.

As for fracking changing gas prices, the Poyry report for the Government said that significant amounts of fracking in the UK would hold gas prices static for the next couple of decades - which means in real terms it gets cheaper.

May 25, 2016 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

According to Dieter Helm (no less) Germany doesn't stand a cat in hell's chance of meeting its emission targets because for every MW of renewables its installed, its closed the same in nuclear power.

May 25, 2016 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Capell

Is US shale gas profitable?

The FT thinks not.

May 25, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I wonder how many of you have invested in Cuadrilla, Thistle or Tamboran?

May 25, 2016 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM, given your record of arrogant lecturing over the years, I think it's a bit late to start asking for investment advice from BH readers.

However, I'll say this much [*]: If you plan on dying in the next five years then I think you should look at other investments than UK shale-fracking companies. They may well be extremely profitable in the long run, but in the short run, the green blob will leave no person or company unslimed in an attempt to prevent this happening. Small oil/gas companies are high-risk, high-reward.

[* This should not be construed as professional investment advice. I am not a legally qualified financial advisor, even if you are making me feel smarter with every post you make in an attempt to undermine the industry. You and Phil Clarke consistently fail to realise that, having failed to get people to vote to enforce your grand desires, you also cannot get people to change where they voluntarily put their money. Jeez, EM. Listen up. It generally doesn't work out well when a political party promises to put up taxation. Why do you think investors will give you the time of day when you transparently try to persuade them by another route? As a general group, they are harsher judges than the general electorate.]

May 25, 2016 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

EM, you link to an article behing the Financial Times Paywall. Good to know that as a retired teacher you can afford such luxuries, but for those that can't, what does the article say?

I am assuming you have read the article and not just copied a link supplied to you.

May 25, 2016 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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