If you are reading this, yopu are using energy which has been provided, in th emain, by burning fossilised fuels. Ask yourself, does it make sense to use our shale gas or impost oil and gas from half way round the world and export the cash and jobs?
Anyone who says that hydraulic fracturing is without risks is quite certainly wrong. Similarly, anyone who says that banning fracturing in the UK has less risk is quite certainly wrong.
What can be said is that in the UK, shale gas rocks are around twice as deep as is the case generally in the USA and the rocks are harder. We also have dramatically better technology and policing by the Environment Agency.
Currently, we ship shale gas from the USA and Middle East in specially constructed ships. If you heat your home with gas, ask yourself if it make environmental sense to ship gas half way round the world, from places that really do use much less safe production than we will do, and export the jobs.
Cut the discussion and get down to the raw facts. The NHS certainly has its faults and can be improved without the addition of cash BUT the NHS and the social services which can take people out of hospital beds for care after treatment ARE short of cash. The NHS really is a national gem and needs significant and on-going extra cash. If we want it to care for us, we have to care or it.
It does not have to be supported by extra taxes. We are sitting on enormous energy reserves of shale gas. We are importing shale gas in specially made ships from the USA and Arab countries. We are importing natural gas from Russia which owns part of Centrica which, of course, owns British Gas. THIS IS INSANE. The UK has the best shale gas technology in the world and, yes, we can do it safely. In terms of environmental balance, it is better to do shale gas here in the UK and use the revenues to build the NHS and develop renewable energy sources.
Bill Butterworth, Member of the British Society of Soil Science
Dolly Parton, a woman of great wisdom, said “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. Look again at the picture and the electricity pole. Our lives depend, at least to some degree, on power supply. Without it , we die. Energy and food supplies don’t just happen; there are risks and the worst risk is to do nothing. The real question is whether we can do things with professional standards.
In the 24th June issue of New Scientist, a comment column observed “In this post-truth world …….. the power of facts is in retreat from public discourse”.
This is a potentially shattering observation in terms of not just the drowning of common sense but, quite likely, of the survival of the human race. Now, more than ever, science has to sell itself against attack by vested interests using social media. Let us look as some examples.
“Agricultural spay chemicals are dangerous and should never be used.” It is true that they are dangerous and so is starvation. Could we have a balanced, fact-based discussion?
“Shale gas exploration is dangerous and will damage the environment and threaten our children’s health.” It is certainly true that shale gas exploration has risks and when we run out of energy to heat people’s homes, people will die. Could we have a balanced, fact-based discussion?
Why is it that we as a society vote into power politicians who distort the truth? Why is it that we do not educate the next generation to NOT allow social media to distort the truth about events of every day? Science is, or should be, fact-based common sense. So, all scientists, do not distort the truth; tell it how it is.
It will take several human generations to move from internal combustion engines to electric drive. However, we could change maybe 90% of such engines to clean-burn shale gas in, say, 20 years.
All this fuss about diesel fumes if stretching the truth a bit too far. Firstly, smoking and obesity are far greater evils, in terms of human health and death. Secondly, modern, Euro 6 diesels do have more particulates in their emissions than latest design petrol engines but not much more and they produce around half the Carbon dioxide per mile. Thirdly, never mind cars, what about trucks? Go electric? How long would it take to change 13 million cars over to electric drive? In any case, where do you think the electricity comes from?
There is a fast, clean alternative. It creates UK jobs and dramatically reduces imports. Shale gas is a clean burn.
Land Research Ltd 23 April 17
P.S. “Survival – Sustainable Energy, Wastes, Shale Gas and The Land” by Bill Butterworth, published by Land Research, is available in paperback from good bookshops or Amazon on the web as paperback (at around £10) or electronic version (at only £2.46) for computer or Kindle. For the next couple of Sundays, it can be downloaded free at Kindle.
Adding “Bentonite” to a drilling fluid. Bentonite is a natural clay which, if you ate much, would make you constipated but it is not toxic.
The ASA, the Advertising Standards Authority, ruled in Sept 16 that the Friends of the Earth (FOE) misled the public in a leaflet which claimed fracking can cause cancer. Despite this judgement, it is certainly true that there needs to be a watchdog on everything the shale gas industry does. Fortunately we have one – it is called the Environment Agency (EA). Now, it is clear that in this instance, and I have no doubt in many other of their campaigns, the FOE acted to promote their own interests in a way which was not based on evidence, in short, they actively fell short of honesty. It is also true that while there are some failings in the EA as a watchdog, it is one of the most precautionary regulators in the world.
There is another point to this and that is that the UK is not the USA and the British do have the best and safest technology in the world. Just to demonstrate, one of the British-designed drilling fluids is not toxic and you or I (I have offered) could drink it. I would not advise drinking too much because the clay in it would cause constipation – but it would not poison the drinker.
For those who are concerned about shale, look at the facts and try to make an honest, evidence-based view. Will you conclude that shale gas is without fault or difficulties? You would be foolish. However, you might conclude that UK-produced shale gas is a lot better for the environment and ourselves than any and all of the alternatives currently available. And we really do need more energy and we need it now. Quite often in life, the choice is as with the politicians we vote for – maybe one might not wish to vote for shale gas but actually vote against the alternatives.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 14 January 2017