Fracking is an issue hotly contested in the UK. Since its introduction in the US, many environmental concerns have been raised about its use.
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It involves great quantities of water being forced at high pressure into shale-rock, causing the rock to fracture, split open and release natural gases which can then be used as fuel.
One of the major concerns is that the underground water supply will become contaminated by carcinogenic chemicals which escape the site of fracturing and leak into underground wells. Industry experts claim that this is due to mal-practice rather than a fundamentally flawed system.
Another issue is the huge quantity of water required for the process. When drinking water is already in such short supply around the globe (and only likely to become scarcer due to climate change) is seems wasteful to be using it in such a bashful way. The water does of course need to be taken great distances, and this will have its environmental impact in the form of transport emissions.
But above all the practical issues, it seems fundamentally wrong to be finding new ways to violate and exploit our natural environment when we know and we have known for such a very long time that renewables must be developed soon. To me, this is a step in completely the wrong direction that only climate change deniers could give any credence to.
It not simply oil & coal vs gas. We need to talk about our consumption levels. If every human being consumed as much as the average US citizen, we would need five earths. We needn’t even look at this as a constraint, rather as an oppurtunity for a different, more equal and less wasteful society.
If we don’t invest heavily in renewable sources of energy production, we will only have ourselves to blame when fossil fuels run out and anarchy reigns. According to some, that will not be so very long:
Proponents of the introduction of Fracking to the UK tend to rely on the argument that it will drive prices down, and that it will give the UK energy security for the forseeable future.
They are frightened of renewables. They think of them as the pet project of hippies, vastly inefficient, costly and against market principles. They think that introducing fracking will drop prices due to market mechanisms, creating a better country for all.
To them I say this: energy production and consumption will always be problems until the government nationalises the industry, and when it does, it should spend its time investing in our future, and not wasting valuable years on fracking.
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