In all the smoke about fracking there are only one or two facts about the way things are that clearly decide the matter - questions about earthquakes, or visual intrusion of drilling rigs, or the possible pollution of ground water, or even the economic viability of extracting gas locked up in micro pores in rock are all just hot air.

 

The two important facts do depend on an understanding of the way things work in the physical world as it is - in particular the understanding that increasing the proportion of carbon dioxide in a mixture of gases like our atmosphere does increase the ability of that mixture to absorb and retain heat ("greenhouse effect"), and that the sort of increase in measured CO2 in the atmosphere seen over the last 200 years is responsible for a small rise in global average temperature seen so far, and that the rise lags the increase in CO2 so that even with no further increase the temperature would continue to rise, and that this increase in CO2 is largely due to human activity - mostly burning fossil fuels

If you don't understand that then you need to have a proper teacher help you.

So the two important facts about fracking are, in no particular order

  • We have already discovered and proved more than enough fossil fuel resources to create extreme changes in the stability of the atmosphere if we were to continue burning them at the same rate as today.
  • We have already, in the past 150 years, used more than half of the easily available sources of fossil fuels (with the possible exception of coal, which we could go on digging for many centuries), and are now digging into increasingly hard (and expensive) to get sources in smaller and smaller resevoirs.

The implication of the first point is that we simply do not need to go fracking for more gas. Even at a national level we still have more than enough North Sea oil and gas and indigenous coal reserves to be able to do our bit for destabilisation of the global climate. It is much more important that we attend to the need to reduce our (national - since we are debating fracking the uk for uk use) fossil fuel consumption to a level that is long term sustainable - probably less than one tenth of todays level of use; although this would not account for gloabl population growth or fair shares for all humans.

The implication of the second point is that even if climate change was not happening any gas that we did manage to extract by fracking the ground beneath our feet would do little more than buy us, at a national level, a year or two more of our current fossil fuel consumption (or at a global level a few days of global consumption). It is much more important that we attend to the need to reduce our (national - since we are debating fracking the uk for uk use) fossil fuel consumption to a level that is long term sustainable - probably less than one tenth of todays level of use; although even then there would be none left in a few generations' time.

In summary - Leave It In The Ground