Fracking noises off

In the face of turmoil in the gas markets, it’s not surprising that multiple articles and opinion pieces have been pouring forth on fracking for gas in the UK – and calling for a delay to the transition to low carbon – from the same nexus of right-wingers (GWPF, etc.) who have spent years denying global warming, and deny the impacts are anything to worry about (despite the latest stark warnings from the IPCC summarised by Carbon Brief)

Not happy with denying the causes and impacts, of man-made global warming, the next stop for these bad-faith actors has been to deny the solutions. Hence the stream of nonsense attacks on EVs and Heat Pumps recycled year after year, and month after month, with increasingly shrill voices as the adoption of these solutions begins to demonstrate traction. 

Market forces guys, you should love that!

No, they will never let the science – which shows the overwhelming logic of electrification of end-use technologies – get in the way of their ideologically based opinions.

It is of course a long-running multifaceted campaign by right-wing ‘think tanks’, such as GWPF in UK and Heartland Institute in the USA, that have hitherto been successful in slowing action on climate change. Now the tide has turned in recent years, and they know that public opinion is not on their side, but that won’t stop them finding opportunities to muddy the waters.

And we are in the midst of just such an opportunity, and you can imagine them thinking:

I know! Let’s exploit the Ukrainian tragedy and crisis in gas markets – and anxieties in UK society – to double down on anti-renewables, and demand more pro-fossil fuel exploration; especially fracking. 

So their latest stunt is to coordinate articles in the Telegraph etc. and a letter from the usual suspects in parliament; some affiliated or cosying up to those very same denialist right wing ‘think tanks’.  

For those of us that are genuinely concerned about UK energy security and resilience, and a greener future that will make us more resilient in every way – food security, conserving nature, and much more – the question is: what to do?

Keep calm and carry on is my main message.

The path to net zero will continue to be bumpy. Getting off our addiction to  fossil fuels has withdrawal symptoms. A serious fight back and disinformation war from vested interests was inevitable. They see action on climate change as a threat to their illusory vision of an unfettered ‘free market’; so regulations to address harms to the environment, nature and human health are an anathema to them. Hence Trump’s attempts to eviscerate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The good news is that only a dwindling segment of the population are ‘dismissives’ (to use the nomenclature of the Six Americas), making up just 9% of US population. 

Similarly in UK, there is a majority who want action on climate change.  The latest UK Public Attitudes Tracker (BEIS, Autumn 2021), shows that 85% of the UK adults were concerned about climate change, and 87% supported renewables. Whereas only 17% supported fracking.

It’s not just the public who are sceptical about fracking, energy experts question the potential role that fracking could play in the medium term to address soaring energy prices

You can understand why the likes of Steve Baker MP, Matt Ridley, et al are becoming increasingly desperate and alarmist. Expect more heat, and even less light, from the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, GWPF, etc., and their various enablers in the media.

Give the noises off a rest guys, it ain’t working.

© Richard W. Erskine, 2022

REFERENCES

In-depth Q&A: The IPCC’s sixth assessment on how climate change impacts the world, Carbon Brief, 28th February 2022, https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-qa-the-ipccs-sixth-assessment-on-how-climate-change-impacts-the-world

Why fracking is not the answer to soaring UK gas prices, Professor Michael Bradshaw and co-authors, The Conversation, 2nd March 2022 https://theconversation.com/why-fracking-is-not-the-answer-to-soaring-uk-gas-prices-177957 

BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: Autumn 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/beis-public-attitudes-tracker-autumn-2021 

Global Warming’s Six Americas, Yale Program on Climate Communications, September 2021 https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/projects/global-warmings-six-americas/ 

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