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Page added on November 26, 2016

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“No Fracking Anywhere” Doesn’t Help the Earth; It Hurts It!

“No Fracking Anywhere” Doesn’t Help the Earth; It Hurts It! thumbnail
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Ill-informed fractivists shouting “No Fracking Anywhere” or “Keep It in the Ground” do nothing to help the Earth; rather, their stupid slogans only hurt it.

Today, Ryedale Against Fracking and others are protesting in London to support the Friends of the Earth case against North Yorkshire County Council’s approval of the Third Energy project to use fracking on a 20-year old current “conventional” gas well pad.

They started with a demonstration outside chanting “No Fracking in North Yorkshire. No Fracking Anywhere.” Some of these protestors are evidently merely selfish, content to displace gas production to others while happy to ignore their own consumption. Others mistakenly see more natural gas production as part of a wider issue that makes it harmful for climate change.

Some of those individuals opposed to gas on climate change grounds suppose that, as the UK is removing coal from electricity generation anyway, the arguments over gas a bridge fuel are somehow irrelevant.  Apart from ignoring how gas is over 50% of the UK power mix and 90% of heat demand, protestors don’t understand the global implications of even a UK ban on fracking.  Slogans like “No Fracking Anywhere” sound simple but, in practice, deliver little else except a brief frisson of good feelings. The reality is that it’s complicated.

no fracking anywhere

What is simple is that global warming has a global cause, and the number one cause is coal.

China has by far the highest CO2 emissions in the world, with more than one quarter of global emissions. Most of it comes from coal. China both produces and burns more coal than the rest of the world combined.

China coal consumption has at least reached a plateau, if not a peak.  It’s done this via an “all of the above” solution of efficiency, increasing urbanisation, nuclear, renewables and increased gas use.  Increased gas use depends on increased LNG imports from the world market.

As the UK North Sea declines, we may see 70% or more of UK gas imported by the 2020’s.  Whether or not the UK then decarbonizes the power market, the UK will continue to import the third of gas used for heating and the third used in industry.  Both of these sectors have already made, and will continue to make, great efficiency gains.  Nevertheless, the UK will still need gas.  Clearly  if we do use gas and don’t produce (or even explore for) any UK onshore resources, the country will have to compete in global markets.

That will inevitably put up the price of gas, which may be of little consequence to the well-off retired people of North Yorkshire. It wouldn’t be unwelcome among gas producers as far away as the US, Russia, or Qatar either. The UK is such a small consumer that it won’t have a huge impact, but since the EU is one of the three key areas of gas demand along with Asia and the USA and doesn’t have much onshore production, a UK ban would have an impact greater than it might ordinarily have.  The UK gas consumer, we might say, punches above their weight.

no fracking anywhere china pollution_1582097f

Air pollution in Tiananmen Square

Leaving gas in the ground in Europe, or anywhere, puts up the price of gas for would be energy consumers anywhere.  The price of gas is of declining importance in China as pollution concerns become more pressing.  But, there are plenty of places where emerging electricity demand has two simple choices: coal or no energy at all.  One example is Sri Lanka.

“In our energy sector, LNG-generated power plants are going to be the next futuristic power generation option. In order to bridge the gap of our energy supplies, we want to move away from coal to LNG. There is a high priority being given to that”

“We have already identified two 300MW LNG-generated power plants that we plan to rollout. We are now projecting our power requirements for the next 20 to 30 years; we need to quickly move on to some energy options, which have less impact on the environment and LNG is one of those options,” Hakeem told Gulf Times on the sidelines of an investment forum hosted by Doha Bank yesterday. As a matter of policy, Hakeem said, government is now moving away from thermal power to LNG, adding that Sri Lanka’s coal-fired power plants “have created a lot of environmental issues” for the local community.

Sri Lanka has the gas option because of the low price of LNG on world markets. This, in turn, is thanks to the abundance of gas production engendered by fracking, currently 70% of US production. That gas is produced in places such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

No Fracking Anywhere

Proposed LNG Terminal for Sri Lanka

This is just one example. Another could be thinking differently about our backyards to help the global backyard. My London Local Energy project has spoken about a possible swap of UK gas production that will enable any actual UK  production to be virtually priced on Asian LNG hubs. This will allow one South East Asian mega city to be able to afford a new power plant using natural gas instead of the coal alternative they are also studying.  I won’t say more except to say that many natives of the city already help and work for Londoners via our National Health Service.

Despite those who want to protect their backyard, we are in a global community. North Yorkshire may feel that they can take back control and stop that trend. “No fracking anywhere” doesn’t help the earth. It hurts it.

natural gas now



12 Comments on "“No Fracking Anywhere” Doesn’t Help the Earth; It Hurts It!"

  1. onlooker on Sat, 26th Nov 2016 3:27 pm 

    One of those damned if we do damned if do not questions. Author is right, but fracking shale is bad for the water supplies. So what do you wish to pollute water or air. Such are the choices we are now left with. Oh and both options are still climate change instigators.

  2. peakyeast on Sat, 26th Nov 2016 3:43 pm 

    The major driver of our troubles is as always population.

    Fracking is a tiny blip constrained in both space and time in comparison.

    But its good they have something to waste their life on. However, they would do much more good for “earth” if they started shooting themselves or others. I do doubt their idealism goes that far.

  3. Dredd on Sat, 26th Nov 2016 4:09 pm 

    “No Fracking Anywhere” Doesn’t Help the Earth; It Hurts It!

    You’re doin’ a heckuva job bullshitter.

    (Smoke & Fumes)

  4. Sissyfuss on Sat, 26th Nov 2016 8:31 pm 

    Fracking pollutes water.
    Without FFs we will starve.
    Fracking pollutes water.
    Without FFs we will starve.
    Fracking pollutes water.
    Without FFs we will starve.
    Time to flip a coin.

  5. makati1 on Sat, 26th Nov 2016 8:43 pm 

    Sissy, we would NOT starve. We would just lose weight and live a different life. The U$ wastes enough food in a year to feed all of the 100 million people of the Philippines for that year. Most Americans have no concept of ‘doing without’. Example; Growing obesity.

  6. Sissyfuss on Sun, 27th Nov 2016 1:39 pm 

    Makattack, with out FFs starvation will be as common as obesity is today.

  7. peakyeast on Sun, 27th Nov 2016 2:30 pm 

    Both mak and sissyfuss is right in their own way IMO.

    Far from everybody will be able to adapt to “opportunistic” eating of anything available. Especially western people is my guess.

    That we can see even today with starving people.

    Changing diet to stinging nettle spiced with ants when coming from McMeal for a lifetime is a big step.

  8. peakyeast on Sun, 27th Nov 2016 2:32 pm 

    But it could be done at least for a while. This is truly survival – not of the fittest, but the most adaptable.

    However, I expect some will be so unhappy, selfimportant and violent that they will create civil war – and then things will not be easy even for the adaptable.

  9. drwater on Sun, 27th Nov 2016 5:23 pm 

    “One of those damned if we do damned if do not questions. Author is right, but fracking shale is bad for the water supplies.”…. “Fracking pollutes water.”

    NO IT DOESN’T! This is a myth propagated by those stupid Gasland movies. I am in the water supply business. There are maybe half a dozen wells out of the 10,000 fracked in the country that were incorrectly completed and had localized problems. The other 99.95% did not cause water quality problems.

  10. makati1 on Sun, 27th Nov 2016 6:04 pm 

    drwater… I supply urine to the sewer system, does that make me an expert on used liquids?

    When you put fraking liquids into the ground anywhere, you pollute whatever is already there. Maybe your water experience does not include soil strata or rock formations? Hmm?

    You are OBVIOUSLY deeply involved with the oily business. Investments of money or career? Too bad! Fraking should NEVER have been allowed anywhere. And it needs to fail totally and soon.

    Me, I don’t have to worry. No fraking in the Ps. Not much of anything underground except geothermal electric plant piping at some locations and some water wells. Nothing within 50+ miles of the farm to pollute anything. Air comes in off of 8,000 miles of the Pacific most of the year. Nice place to live.

  11. aidan on Mon, 28th Nov 2016 3:49 am 

    By far the biggest danger from fracking is the fugitive methane leakage to the atmosphere during the endless dtilling is required. This isn’t so much a problem in conventional gas production because it is drilled and that is the end of it. The difference with fracking is that new wells are endlessly being drilled. Various studies have shown that the total greenhouse gas emissions from exploration to power station are just as bad from fracking as they are from coal. It is therefore no less dangerous to our future than coal. Oh, and by the way, solar and onshore wind are now cheaper than fracked gas – so why bother?

  12. drwater on Mon, 28th Nov 2016 10:42 am 

    “drwater… I supply urine to the sewer system, does that make me an expert on used liquids? ”

    Mak,

    One of my main areas is working on groundwater supplies and planning (for cities and districts, not for oil companies). Fracking is normally in zones far removed from drinking water supply zones. Oil and gas companies would face huge liability risks if they really were contaminating drinking water wells.

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