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In the past year, there have been repeated and rather clichéd arguments against the new process of fracking. It has been hijacked by left-wing, anti-capitalist, green lobbies. It is, however, simply a scaremongering, ultimately anti-change agenda, with the protesters generally being unable to admit that they and their views, I think, are being proved wrong.
The arguments used range from contributing to climate change and water contamination, to causing earthquakes, spoiling the landscape and diverging from investing in renewables. All these arguments, I think, are easy to put down. Firstly, shale gas, the main source used, causes less than half the amount of CO2 emissions that coal does. It will, therefore, reduce emissions by displacing coal in electricity generators.
Secondly, although there is potential for the process to cause water contamination, the risk can be significantly reduced if the process is regulated properly. As Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP for South East England, observed: “There has been a great deal of fracking in the U.S but not a single instance of water being contaminated.” The process has also been pronounced safe by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Again, it is true that there will be general disruption to the landscape at the start of the process. However, like all the infrastructure that is built, it will only be temporary, people will get used to the sight and as Prime Minister David Cameron has stated, not only will no work be done in areas of natural beauty but as he pointed out: “Shale gas reserves are usually only the size of a cricket pitch and similar types of drilling have been taking place for decades without any real protest.”
True, they will replace renewables as the most important form of energy for future needs. Yet that is not a bad thing as not only will renewables still be used and needed but unlike renewables – and indeed nuclear power – shale gas does not need public subsidies, which cause household bills to rise and put many hard working families into fuel poverty.
As North Sea oil and gas reserves run out, shale gas will replace both as our home grown energy which means we will no longer be reliant on the Middle East or Russia. It will provide thousands of useful jobs, especially up here in the North West where unemployment is rife. Britain could potentially become a gas exporter and the cheap gas, which is currently unused, will lower gas bills for thousands of householders ensuring a better standard of living. This will generate a great deal of tax revenue for the exchequer, as well as helping the economy to recover from the post-world recession and ensure our generation’s futures are not compromised. Anyone who has any doubts over this only needs to look to the United States where shale gas has done wonders for the economy getting it out of recession, lowering unemployment and ensuring that the United States may be energy independent by 2030.
Fracking is not without its shortcomings, of course. There are still carbon emissions being produced by shale gas and it will run its course eventually, so there needs to be renewables backing it up. Legitimate safety concerns will also require regulation. I cannot see, however, how something which cuts emissions can be negative. The arguments, as stated above, are merely an attempt to preventing change. Pro-interventionists and exponents of useless renewable energies will not solve the energy crisis. Only shale gas will help this, which is why it is essential that we get fracking.