Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Del Boy And Another Shale Sale

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again: the old adage seems to have been taken on board by Maily Telegraph blogger James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole as he once more attempts to rubbish everything “green”, while advancing his thus far unfounded idea that shale gas is cheap, clean and available.

Del Boy’s latest missive on the subject demonstrates that he truly believes his audience to be stupid, or credulous, or both: only those utterly convinced or unable to do the odd Google search would believe him. So, armed with a search engine and a little determination, let’s look at some of the latest Delingpole dirge.

Del starts off by quoting a report saying that every “green” job in Scotland costs 3.7 other jobs. This has been taken up by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) which should put anyone on their guard: the GWPF is a convocation of denialism.

So what of that report? By a consultancy called Verso Economics, only the executive summary [.pdf] is available free, and it’s all you need to see. Co-author is one Tom Miers, who has also produced a report alleging that devolution has been a “disaster” for Scotland.

Miers is a stalwart of Policy Exchange, which was supposedly Young Dave’s favourite think tank until it produced “research” suggesting regeneration of the North had been a failure and everyone there might as well move to the South East. This was given short shrift by both Northerners, and Cameron himself, who disowned it.

And the shale gas latest? Del Boy’s second expert witness on the subject (his first one being a lawyer, as I noted previously) is called Andrew Orlowski. Who he? Well, he doesn’t have any scientific qualifications, and his experience extends to being a hack for online source The Register.

Orlowski, whose articles appear without the provision for comments, favours folks like Christopher Monckton over established scientists. His piece on shale gas does not address the potential problems of surface pollution, uncontrolled release of methane, subsidence subsequent to extraction, or the available reserves of the stuff.

Neither does he give a single cite for any of his claims that shale gas is “cheap and clean”. Had it been, we’d have tapped reserves years ago: Orlowski, like Delingpole, is offering a scandalously false prospectus.

For the denialists, it’s a case of no change there, then.

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