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Thursday 10 February 2011

Del Boy And The Shale Sale

Not satisfied with merely passing judgment on someone else whom he considers to be “less bright” than himself, Maily Telegraph blogger James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole yesterday demonstrated that he has miraculously solved the UK’s energy needs.

Actually, he hasn’t solved anything. Del Boy started his latest sneerfest by misrepresenting a speech by the Prince of Wales (in the style of his favourite media outlet Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse)), then moved on to sing the praises of shale gas, the benefits of which he has taken on trust without stopping to ponder the vested interest that is promoting them.

Delingpole and his pals at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (the latter being a repository of denialism that declines to disclose the source of its funding) have taken a publicity flier from an energy company and declared shale gas to be The Solution To Our Energy Needs. But – and with this kind of advocacy, there just has to be a but – shale gas is not without its downsides.

The gas is extracted by hydraulic fracturing of the shale: this process releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. It has been estimated that, over a 20 year timescale, shale gas is at best significantly dirtier than coal or oil, and at worst substantially dirtier. It is also possible that, over a 100 year timescale (methane is less harmful over longer time periods), shale gas is still dirtier than coal or oil.

And the author of the article that Del Boy is so enthusiastically referencing is not even a scientist: Dallas Parker of Mayer Brown is a lawyer: you can see his profile right HERE. What will his pal Christopher Booker say?

Yes, Del Boy is championing a flier written by a lawyer, at the same time as he is vigorously questioning the presence of the RSPB and WWF at meetings inside the Palace of Westminster.

And thus far, just one company has opted to explore the potential of shale gas in the UK. Any reserves may only be viable if energy prices continue to rise: as for Delingpole’s assertion that “Shale gas is little short of miraculous: cheap, abundant and available right on our doorstep”, forget it.

Just like the original Del Boy, James Delingpole may believe the tripe he is spouting, but anyone else would do well to treat this sneering, vain and preposterous charlatan with the contempt he so richly deserves.


john b said...

But shale gas is the future! It'll be too cheap to meter! etc.

(reminded of this)

roym said...

isnt there someone drilling for shale in blackpool. i do wonder if this is a new bubble being hyped. apparently capital costs are extremely high so i dont imagine too many hits as at the moment NG prices are depressed

letterslive said...

Not just a problem with costs, but also with contamination of the water table.