Friday, 23 September 2011

Del Boy Swallows The Shale PR

Today has brought a superb example of Billion Dollar Brain syndrome – hearing news you want to hear from those who want you to swallow it – from the undisputed leader of the gang at the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole. Del Boy has heard that there are shale gas reserves underneath someone else’s house, and he is ecstatic.

What Delingpole seems not to have noticed while interpreting Cuadrilla Resources’ interpretation of reality in their press release – which is what yesterday’s Telegraph article was churning over – is the hedging (“believes there are [reserves]” ... “more testing is needed”) and the caution (“it is currently banned from drilling”). He has seen only what he wants to see.

Del Boy has also not seen “Its 200 trillion cubic feet figure has not been independently verified and often only a small percentage of a probable reserve can be extracted”. He also has not stopped to think why Cuadrilla has decided to make its frankly extravagant claims now, preferring instead to trowel on as much sneering abuse over anyone opposed to him as he can muster.

Cuadrilla began drilling at the end of March, and on April 1 there was an earth tremor in the area. After the drilling continued and there was a further tremor, with what the British Geological Survey called the same mechanism, the drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was stopped. Cuadrilla wants to restart drilling and fracking, and coincidentally, the decision is due soon.

So what has been announced this week is no more than a prospective beneficiary of shale gas extraction lobbying for permission to keep on fracking. That there is no verification of the claim does not concern Delingpole. Nor do the earth tremors. Nor does the lack of candour over the mix of chemicals that goes into the millions of gallons of water that is used for each and every frack.

But, as Del Boy observes, all that fracking, along with the earth tremors and potential pollution of groundwater, is going on “Oop North”. So he and the rest of his right leaning metropolitan elite pals will not worry too much about it, providing they get cheaper energy. After all, climate change won’t happen if they keep sneering at all those rotten lefties loudly enough.

That is the level at which the denial lobby is pitching its argument. It doesn’t listen to any news it doesn’t want to hear, the damage to other folks’ environment and lives doesn’t matter as it’s “Oop North”, any objection from those of differing political opinion can be dismissed, and above all ... it’s not good enough.

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