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“Get behind fracking” demands David Cameron in The Telegraph today. Think of the benefits to the economy, he lays on.
Ignore the environmental impact, he infers. As anti-fracking protests continue strong in Balcombe, Sussex, the Tory Prime Minister adds yet another controversy to his premiership’s legacy, so what substance lies behind his words?
The pro-fracking alliance of Caudrilla and The Conservative Party announce the godsends of the new energy initiative at any hint of disapproval: cheap energy, self-sufficiency and enough jobs to provide for the unemployed and the millions of illegal immigrants popping out of the sewage system. Meant to be a bit of good news, the Nasty Party must be in disarray that their distraction from their widespread attacks has only added fuel to the fire. Rather than prompting street parties and celebrations akin to those on New Year’s Day, simply the possibility of fracking has resulted in angry gatherings.
The potential of fracking is vastly outweighed by its potential to wreck the environment. Carving up the countryside, destroying habitats and contaminating water, it’s hardly going to be Beautiful Britain. 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas doesn’t exactly suggest a short-scale and isolated project; if David Cameron’s partners manage to find shale gas, which is a certainty, there’s no doubt that they’ll continue to exploring elsewhere in the country. It really should come as no surprise that fracking is being favoured over other options when one of Cameron’s advisors, Lord Browne, is the chief executive of Caudrilla. The big black bags of money that the Government are saying will drop into the Treasury or the local public’s back pockets are empty promises. If anything is reinvested into the economy, it will be minimal. We only have to look at the ‘Big Six’ to recognise this; despite their massive profits this year, they still have the cheek to demand more money from their customers. Here is where Cameron’s promise of cheaper energy can be called into question.
The latter two promises, self-sufficiency and jobs, also raise eyebrows. Although it may be the case that fracking can provide them both, they are not the sole approaches that can offer, and they are far more the cleanest. Fracking is a dirty process, and presents the highly likely chance of water contamination in the local area. Add the certainty of increased traffic from unclean lorries through the local area, and the noise created during the process, and it the pollution is an abysmal thought. Furthermore, climate change is a real concern in the present day and as we continue to rely on finite and dirty resources to power society, we are forgetting the long-term problems and solely thinking of the short-term benefits. It has been predicted that 60-80% of resources in the ground must not be extracted if we are to avoid any of the catastrophic results of climate change. In contrast, there are various green energies that can be invested in for all the same benefits. Additional money placed towards procuring energy-efficient homes and building technologies to catch renewable energies is far more sustainable and financially viable. The jobs created by implementing a shale-gas service are equally required for a large-scale investment project in sustainable and clean resources, that will not just benefit us, but generations to come and have far more public support than dirty fracking.
The language used by the pro-fracking alliance is misleading and ignorant of alternatives and public opinion. Despite widespread opposition, the technology, which is in its infancy, is being favoured over far more sustainable technologies, which can provide the very same benefits. There is enough shale gas to keep us powered for decades, they say. But there is enough sun, water, wind and heat to keep us powered indefinitely.