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Monday 2 July 2012

Still Trying To Make A Shale Sale

Just in case his adoring readers (Sid and Doris Bonkers) had forgotten about the supposed wonders of extracting gas from hydraulically fracturing rocks several thousand feet below the earth’s surface, James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole has returned to the subject today at the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland in a post titled “David Cameron’s shale gas lifeline”.

Delingpole on Fox News Channel: ultimate circle of adoration

The general tenor of the piece is that shale gas is the only way in which Young Dave can save himself from political oblivion. Del Boy knows this is imminent as he has been told so by “Conservative insiders”, which could mean any disgruntled right leaning windbag (note also the missing word “Party”). So Cameron is on his way out and might even be replaced by Priti Patel.

No, don’t laugh: Del Boy is a man of sincerely held beliefs. The only problem is that his sincerity is wildly misplaced. And a look at his sources for this latest rantfest shows this in short order. Much of his “evidence” for pressing on with his case for shale gas comes from someone called Matt Ridley. Who he? Ah well. Ridley is yet another of the climate change denial lobby.

Ridley went to Eton, and from there went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read zoology. He spent 13 years on the board of Northern Rock, and was non executive chairman from 2004 to 2007, resigning after the memorable run on the bank happened on his watch. He managed not to see it coming. And he has clashed with the Guardian’s George Monbiot, so is therefore Del Boy’s friend.

As such, when Ridley pronounces shale gas to be A Very Good Thing, Delingpole quotes him with clear approval, especially when the downsides of the technology are talked down. What Del Boy does not address, though, is that the supposed “cheap gas miracle” in the USA may have been down more to overproduction and a glut of gas than to shale gas being the game changer some have claimed.

At every turn, the “experts” he cites are either amateur pundits, like Andrew Orlowski at The Register, or those with an interest in the industry, like Dallas Parker of law firm Mayer Brown. Delingpole, like his mentor Christopher Booker, is quick to dismiss anything coming from those whose qualifications do not meet with his approval, but is fine with IT people and lawyers.

And anyone disagreeing with his conclusions is simply considered part of “big corporations and vested interests (such as the noisome Shell), green activist organisations such as the Guardian and Friends of the Earth, and all those rent seeking toerags taking advantage of the great wind and solar scams”. One day, Delingpole might advance a proper business case for shale gas, but not yet.

Instead, there will be more abuse and sneering. No change there, then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geological bloggers, over the month past, have passed some comment on a need to review safety regulations if fracking is to occur more widely. It's annoying the hell out of me that I can't find the right entries just now.

However, the legal news highlighted at http://www.winston.com/index.cfm?contentID=19&itemID=168&itemType=25&postid=942
and http://www.cnbc.com/id/47966318
is quite happy-making in its own way.