Tag Archives: fracking

UK Energy Research Centre: Fracking is “hype”, “lacking in evidence”.

The BBC reports that researchers from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) told the BBC promises of lower prices and greater energy security from UK shale gas were “hype” and “lacking in evidence”.

It is very frustrating to keep hearing that shale gas is going to solve our energy problems – there’s no evidence for that whatsoever… it’s hype”, Prof Jim Watson, UKERC research director, told BBC News.

It’s extraordinary that ministers keep making these statements. They clearly want to create a narrative. But we are researchers – we deal in facts, not narratives. And at the moment there is no evidence on how shale gas will develop in the UK.

Shale gas has been completely oversold. Where ministers got this rhetoric from I have absolutely no idea. It’s very misleading for the public.

One might wish that the BBC would provide links to original sources. FFT&W has not so far read the UKERC report, but certainly agrees with the gloss in the article.

The tipping point

A YouGov survey finds that UK public support for fracking has fallen below 50%. According to polls, support has been on a downward trend, from 58% in Jan 2012, to 54% Sept 2013 and 53% in January 2014. See report in the Guardian.

A comment below the Guardian story reads: “Falls below 50%? You kidding me? When was it ever above 10% (a completely unsupported statement I know but why not, the mainstream media does the same all the time, oh wait, that is another unsupported statement?).” A helpful reminder not to put so much faith in polls that we neglect the evidence of our eyes and ears. This blog has covered attitude surveys before, and it’s hard to reconcile this new Guardian/YouGov announcement with previous findings that only 27% were in favour…

1,000 times more methane than expected

Up To 1,000 Times More Methane Released At Gas Wells Than EPA Estimates, Study Finds.

“An analysis of a number of hydraulic fracturing sites in southwestern Pennsylvania has found that methane was being released into the atmosphere at 100 to 1,000 times the rate that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that drilling operations at seven well pads emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average, much higher than the EPA-estimated 0.04 grams to 0.30 grams of methane per second.”

Report in the Los Angeles Times.

Fracking and Birth Defects

A study published via the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences finds an increase in congenital heart defects and neural tube defects among babies born close to fracking wells.

Birth Outcomes and Maternal Residential Proximity to Natural Gas Development in Rural Colorado Opens as PDF

It’s interesting to note that the study took a year to get published after being submitted to the journal, and presumably took the scientists themselves several years to conduct. This long lag time for academic research — perfectly normal — is why fracking companies allow themselves to claim that there is “no evidence” for public health problems from fracking. They know they have a few years to entrench themselves before the studies start coming out to prove what residents already know

Fracking company gets tough on old lady

A story in the Guardian explains the extremely heavy-handed tactics fracking companies use to quash opposition. Vera Scroggins has been barred from 312.5 sq miles of Pennsylvania.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/vera-scroggins-fracking-activist-pennsylvania

[With apologies to Vera Scroggins for referring to her as an old lady. Sixty-three is not “old”. Pete Seeger maybe was “old”.]