Britain can’t afford to surrender to the greens on shale gas

If we give in to the green lobby, Britain will drift into an energy crisis

11 May 2013

9:00 AM

11 May 2013

9:00 AM

The scandal of official reluctance to develop Britain’s shale gas potential is at last beginning to surface. It may prove to be the dress rehearsal for the ultimate drama — the inexorable collapse of our whole energy strategy.

Most of us have by now heard about the US shale gas revolution. In little more than six years, shale gas has reduced America’s gas prices to a third of what they are in Europe, increased huge tax revenues, rebalanced the economy, created tens of thousands of jobs, brought industry and manufacturing back to the country’s heartlands, and given rise to a real prospect of American energy self-sufficiency by 2030.

Britain may well have comparable shale resources. Indeed, the Bowman shale in Lancashire is a mile thick, whereas most US shale plays are just 300 to 500 feet thick — a strangely unpublicised piece of good news. If shale gas proves abundant it could help the government meet three key objectives: rebalancing the public finances by generating large tax revenues, rebalancing the economy by boosting manufacturing, and rebalancing the north/south divide by creating jobs and a whole new industry in the north.

We will only know for sure how much is there, and can be economically extracted, by drilling. So you might assume governments would be forcing the pace. Far from it. In 2011, the government imposed an 18-month moratorium. Since that ended, Cuadrilla — the only company which has drilled in the UK — has suffered further delays because of bizarre environmental obstacles. Department of Energy and Climate Change ministers have consistently talked down the industry’s prospects. When the British Geological Survey recently dramatically revised up their estimates of Britain’s shale potential, the department’s chiefs allegedly told them to redo the figures — further delaying the publication of their findings until the summer. There is still no date for the next licensing round to open up more acreage for drilling.

Why is Britain dragging its feet? It is all the more puzzling because there is a widespread belief that governments are putty in the hands of Big Oil. The surefire way to win a burst of applause on Question Time is to assert, when anyone mentions the Iraq and Afghan wars, that ‘the real reason we went to war was oil’. Yet the petroleum industry has been singularly unsuccessful in galvanising the British government to open up its own shale resources.

Whatever the power of Big Oil in the past, it has been eclipsed by ‘Big Green’. The green lobby is in control of the Department for Energy (to the Treasury’s dismay), its objectives are enshrined in law, it dominates the EU, and it is institutionalised in Whitehall via the Climate Change Committee. These state bodies are egged on by powerful environmental NGOs, which are heavily financed by the EU (WWF receives €600,000 and Friends of the Earth Europe €1.2 million) and our government (we pay WWF £4.1 million) to create the semblance of popular support. These NGOs can deploy any uncorroborated scare story in their war against fossil fuels.

There is a legitimate argument that the world should phase out fossil fuels to minimise global warming. The power of that argument has weakened recently. Global temperatures have failed to rise for 16 years. Recent measures of how much global temperature rises as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases are far lower than is built into climate models. The case for unilateral action to decarbonise the EU economy has weakened because China, India, USA et al won’t do likewise. Even EU solidarity is crumbling now that Germany is shutting its nuclear plants and building 20 new coal ones. So the idea of Britain going it alone is risible.


The green lobby has changed tack and adopted three separate arguments to put us off exploiting our shale gas potential. First it asserts that there isn’t much there anyway, and what may be there will be impossible to extract technically, economically and socially. When the PM received a briefing on shale, Cuadrilla was excluded. The select committee instead had to listen to an array of bodies from the Committee on Climate Change to the WWF — none best known for their geological expertise. We would not ask British Gas how to protect pandas, so why we are consulting WWF about shale beats me.

Without evidence from drilling, all estimates of shale gas reserves are merely educated guesses. The answer, then, is to get on and drill, not listen to these Cassandras. If they believed their own downbeat assessments about the potential of shale, they would have nothing to worry about. They argue instead that we should not drill because we might find so much that we would be tempted away from the path of righteousness, which is to abandon fossil fuels.

They have a second, more plausible argument: that even if we find enough shale gas to meet UK needs it would not bring down the gas price here as it has in the US. We are linked into the EU gas grid, so prices are set by the cost of supplies to Europe. But if gas prices don’t fall as much here, the tax revenues will be far higher than in the US — allowing Britain to reduce other costs correspondingly. (Incidentally, this makes tax breaks for shale proposed in the budget look unnecessary: why give concessions to Big Oil as well as Big Green?)

When pessimism about reserves and prices fail, the green lobby deploys scare stories with a reckless disregard for the truth comparable to the MMR scare. They claim fracking will harm the water table and trigger earthquakes. The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering has dismissed fears about water contamination. It concluded that any ‘health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing… can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced’. The British Geological Survey debunked the earthquake scare by pointing out that Britain annually experiences 150 natural or mining-related shocks of similar or greater strength without complaint, campaigns or moratoria on mining. But green campaigners — who denigrate anyone who queries the ‘scientific consensus’ on climate change — reject out of hand the evidence of our official scientific and geological bodies when it refutes their position.

Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds several kilometres underground; tiny fissures open up which are then kept open by grains of sand so that the gas can flow out. Fracking itself lasts a few days — thereafter the field pumps gas much like any conventional field. Fracking is a tried and tested technology, used since 1947. More than 100,000 wells have been fracked in recent years. Before being ousted from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, John Hayes acknowledged that not a single person had been poisoned by fracking contaminating the water table. Nor has a single building been damaged by the almost imperceptible seismic tremors. Moreover, where UK shales are a mile thick, a single rig may be able to access shales that would require up to 20 drilling sites in the USA.


Ignoring facts, greens have preferred to pay heed to the propaganda film Gaslands, which shows tapwater bursting into flame. Yet its producer, Josh Fox, has been completely discredited. The documentary Fracknation filmed Fox admitting that he knew (but chose not to mention) that gas flowed from taps decades before fracking reached that area.

Sadly, Energy Secretary Ed Davey gave credence to these scare stories by ordering an unnecessary moratorium on drilling, when a fortnight’s visit to the US would have confirmed that they were nonsense. Environmentalists don’t want safer shale gas. They want no shale gas. Professor Kevin Anderson, former head of the Tyndall Centre and ayatollah of the green movement, frankly states that ‘from a climate-change perspective, this stuff simply has to stay in the ground’.

In this respect, the battle over shale gas is only the prelude to the impending energy crisis if we continue to pursue the government decarbonisation agenda. Greens in and out of government imagine that if shale gas can be kept in the ground or little is recoverable, decarbonising the British economy will be plain sailing. As imported gas becomes ever more expensive, the alternatives will grow cheaper by comparison.

Even if UK shales prove unproductive, it is inconceivable that fracking technology will only work in the US and be incapable of extracting huge quantities in other provinces — unless, as the pessimists clearly believe, God is an American. A worldwide shale revolution will dramatically change the supply and price balance in favour of gas.

In any case, a new report by Liberum Capital warns that ‘moving from a largely fossil-fuel-based power system to one dominated by renewables and nuclear in just a decade and a half, whilst keeping the lights on and consumer bills affordable, may simply be impossible’. It continues: ‘EU policy makers have grossly underestimated the difficulties and risks of their drive to decarbonise the power sector… A crisis in UK energy policy looks increasingly likely.’ As a result, investors may refuse to fund Britain’s £430 billion programme of decarbonisation.

Other than nuclear power, which is painfully slow and increasingly expensive, there are simply no affordable renewable technologies available to replace fossil fuels. Wind, solar, tidal — all need fossil fuel back-up for the substantial periods when wind, sun and tide are not available. And the lowest-carbon fossil fuel is gas. That is why DECC’s central projection actually shows Britain using more gas in 2030 than it does now.

Maybe it is the realisation that Britain is rapidly approaching a crisis of our own making that explains the sudden resignation of Jonathan Brearley, the civil servant who masterminded the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament, followed by the DECC’s director of strategy, Ravi Gurumurthy. The Department for Energy and Climate Change is in disarray. With luck this will prompt ministers to question the direction in which they have been heading.

Some day, viable alternatives to fossil fuels will become available. But any policy based on the assumption that this is imminent is doomed to fail. The sooner we wake up to that fact and throw off the thrall of Big Green, the better.

Peter Lilley is MP for Hitchin and Harpenden and is a member of the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Advisory Board

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Show comments
  • Refracktion

    “Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds
    several kilometres underground; tiny fissures open up which are then
    kept open by grains of sand so that the gas can flow out.”

    Are we supposed to believe that Mr Lilley is *really* unaware of the chemicals used in fracking??? Really?? That sentence tells us all we need to know about the integrity of the writer I’m afraid.

    There is a serious debate to be had here but articles by people who simply ignore, or, as in this case, distort the facts really don’t help it happen.

    The name of the shale play is actually the Bowland shale. Perhaps Mr Lilley’s reference to the “Bowman” Shale is a subliminal nod to his mate Jeffrey Archer and his undoubted skill at creating alternate realities?

    At least Lilley hasn’t repeated his potentially libellous accusation, made in the Telegraph recently, that Ed Davey was personally responsible for the delay in publishing the BGS report.

    • voteukiporwearefinished

      Shale gas producers say there is no problem, environmentalists say there is. Surely gas production should be allowed in a small area to see what happens before we allow wider production.

      • pedestrianblogger

        Is the U.S.A. a big enough “small area” for your purposes?

    • Latimer Alder



      I’m scared!!!

      isn’t it really really fortunate that we never come into contact with any ‘chemicals’ in our daily lives. They are so so scary that we can never use them.

      Join the campaign to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide…a dangerous ‘chemical’ leading to hundreds of deaths per year!.


      • adrian.newton
        • Latimer Alder

          Looked at your article.

          Your point is what exactly?

      • Redneck


        Your flippant comments about DiHydrogen Monoxide are just typical of a right-wing fascist nut job!
        Didn’t your grandmother ever tell you that potentially you could drown in a teaspoon of this stuff?

        I am disappointed that you choose to trivialise such a menace.

        • Latimer Alder

          I fear it is my training as a Chemist that has innured me to the terrible danger of this appalling chemical and to my trivialising a very grave problem.

          And I now recall my Grannie’s other excellent advice – never to go near the stuff..and most definitely not to drink it.

          As she so wisely pointed out ‘Fish f..k in it!’

          • Refracktion

            Latimer Adler. To suggest that chemicals in general are necessarily harmless because we come into contact with some chemicals in daily life is simply infantile. Grow up a bit.

          • Latimer Alder

            I made no such assertion.

            Merely ridiculing your proposition that that being a ‘chemical’ is something that we ought to automatically fear.

            It may have escaped your attention ( I rather guess that you have little science training)..but everything in the whole world is made of ‘chemicals’ – even you.

            Trying to equate ‘chemicals’ with ‘badness’ is quite simply ridiculous and betrays the poverty of your argument.

          • Refracktion

            Your level of argument is childish. I have not attempted to assert that all chemicals are bad.

            Some of the chemicals used in fracking undoubtedly are though.

            You don’t need a PhD in Chemistry to understand that. You just need to be able to read.

            To suggest that somebody who points out that fracking uses hazardous chemicals is trying to say that all chemicals are bad is simply stupid.

            If I were you I’d put your spade away and stop digging before everyone realises that you aren’t able to pursue the simplest logical argument.

          • Daniel Maris

            No doubt you also opposed the removal of lead from petrol.

          • Latimer Alder

            I had no view on lead in petrol. Didn’t even know about it. Was too busy earning a living

          • Refracktion

            “Didn’t even know about it.”

            Why does your ignorance not surprise me?

    • Latimer Alder

      So if Eddie wasn’t responsible for the delay – who or what was?

      He is, after all, the most senior guy in DECC (weep).

      • Refracktion

        Originally it was Eddie’s predecessor Charles Hendry .

        The major part of the delay was largely caused by DECC’s dissatisfaction with the way Cuadrilla managed the earth tremor business (as was shown in later an FoI request). Lilley’s claim that it is down to Davey or his department playing ping pong with the BGS report is rubbish (or at least only explains about 3 months out of nearly two years delay) Of course it doesn’t suit Lilley to admit that the industry was the author of its own misfortune and so he tries to pin the blame on Davey.

        What that says about Lilley is pretty obvious.

        • Latimer Alder


          Dunno which question you are answering, but it doesn’t seem to have much connection with the rest of the discussion (why am I not really surprised?)

          You say that Eddie last month delayed the BGS report into the potential shale gas amount because he was dissatisfied with Cuadrilla’s handliing of an incident two years ago?

          I fail to see the connection. But maybe you and Eddie share the same ‘thought’ processes?

          • Refracktion

            No I am saying that the delay in fracking since the earth tremors was pretty much Cuadrilla’s own doing. If they hadn’t managed the issue in a way Hendry couldn’t accept it seems that they would not have been stopped. (Google the FoI for more details ) The recent delay is apparently down to Cuadrilla’s conversion to the cause of doing proper EIAs. (or so they would have us believe) It has nothing at all to do with the BGS report. To suggest that the delays are down to Davey or his department blocking the BGS report is simply ludicrous. – but it does suit Lilley’s warped narrative.

            You do keep up with what has been going on “Oop North” don’t you LA? You do realise what has really been going in the real world on don’t you? Or do you just accept whatever Peter Lilley tells you? LOL.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Lilley isn’t claiming that the delay in publishing the BGS estimate was caused by Cuadrilla. He is claiming that it has been delayed, which is true. The purpose is presumably to delay any pressure to develop any shale resources, and to maintain the official fiction that there is only 5.3Tcf of UK shale gas – based on data collected in 2008 before any seismic or drilling evaluations had been conducted, and pointedly ignoring results from IGas, Tamboran et al. – never mind Cuadrilla. The BGS did say that Cuadrilla’s 200Tcf estimate is reasonable in their recent evidence to the Select Committee.

            I note that The HSE said there had been no breach of regulations by Cuadrilla. and But the newly released letters show Decc waited six months to write to
            Cuadrilla to take issue with its failure to report the incident sooner.
            – which does seem to be the DECC sitting on its hands as a delaying tactic – perhaps tit for tat, but a delay on their side nevertheless. They are not exactly innocent, are they?

          • Latimer Alder

            Do try to at least keep your own story straight.

            1. First you say ‘at least Lilley didn’t repeat the claim that Eddie personally delayed the BGS report’

            2. When questioned on this you evade it and witter on about irrelevantly about earthquakes

            3. And now you say that it ‘suits Lilley’s warped narrative’.

            Please compare your statements 1. and 3.

            How do you explain the contradiction?

          • Refracktion

            I’ll try this slowly so you an keep up.

            Lilley accuses DECC of being responsible for the delay

            (He doesn’t dare accuse Davey directly again as Davey exposed him for trying that last time he did)

            I explain that the delay lengthy “moratorium” delay was largely caused by Cuadrilla’s failure to recognise the significance of the earth tremors which seems to have caused the DECC to have serious concerns about them. This resulted in a significant delay in allowing fracking to continue.

            Furthermore I mention the fact that Cuadrilla insist that the current delay of which Lilley complains is due to their own decision to undertake EIAs in the local area.

            Lilley’s narrative is warped in that he is trying to pin the current delay on the DECC for playing ping pong with the BGS report, when in fact it appears to be voluntary on the part of Cuadrilla,

            Do try to keep up. It’s not that complicated.

          • Refracktion

            “Lilley isn’t claiming that the delay in publishing the BGS estimate was caused by Cuadrilla.”

            Exactly what I said – he is wrongly claiming it was caused by DECC sitting on the BGS report. He even tried in his DT article to pin it directly on Davey but got found out when Davey wrote a letter which exposed the lie. He didn’t dare try that again here I see.

            Cuadrilla was warned by ministers over its “performance as a licensee” at one of its
            Lancashire sites. It “failed to recognise the significance” of damage to
            a gas fracking well in 2011. I don’t want a company THAT competent working near me thanks.

          • itdoesntaddup

            It seems the department effectively admitted to causing a six month delay at least. Putting the issue at the bottom of the in tray is one of the oldest tricks in the book in the Civil Service.

          • Latimer Alder


            ‘You do keep up with what has been going on “Oop North” don’t you LA? You
            do realise what has really been going in the real world on don’t you?’

            This tactic of asking vague questions – supposedly dripping with scary/important messages isn’t getting you very far is it?

            You tried it earlier with ‘chemicals’…and managed to get fairly well stuffed. Now you try it with ‘oop North’

            Go on then – tell us what is happening ‘oop North’

            But this time present something a bit better than ‘chemicals are scary’.

            Like actual evidence….not insinuations and vague hints.

          • Refracktion

            I am not rising to your bait LA .

            As you would know if you had more than a 6 year old’s grasp of logical argument, the point I made was that Lilley deliberately lied about the fracking fluid being only water.

            I didn’t ask a vague question “dripping with scary/important messages”. I asked why a senior politician thinks it appropriate to lie to people about something as serious as that. If can’t work out why it might be serious that really is your problem not mine.

            If you think, as you stated elsewehere that the downsides of having a fracking well near you are equibvalent to living next to a train track you are simply displaying your amazing level of ignorance.

            If you want to find out what is happening then read around the subject. Don’t expect others to dripfeed stuff into that credulous brain of yours. It seems that allowing that to happen is what’s got you into the state you are in now.

          • Latimer Alder

            Shorter Refracktion

            ‘I have almost no actual evidence of anything really bad happening with fracking. And I certainly don’t intend to answer any questions about what little I have. I am not used to people having doubts. You should all just listen to me.

            You’ll all just have to all find out for yourselves why I’m right.

            Frack Off the lot of you!’

          • Refracktion

            You really are silly 🙂

            Why don’t you answer me for a change. Why did Lilley fel tit necessary to mislead us here with the statements

            “Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds several kilometres underground” and Fracking itself lasts a few days — thereafter the field pumps gas much like any conventional field”?

            We can start on the misleading aspects of the statement “Fracking is a tried and tested technology, used since 1947.”
            after that.

          • Latimer Alder

            What is misleading about

            ‘Fracking is a tried and tested technology, used since 1947’

            You are the one criticising it – you are the one who needs to justify your criticism.

            Can you do so?

          • Refracktion

            Are you *really* not aware of the differences between horizontal and vertical fracking?

            Cuadrilla were rapped over the knuckles last month by the ASA for suggesting that a vertically fracked well was an analog for the newer horizontally fracked wells in terms of safety.

            Lilley is trying the same tired old industry line here too. He should know better and probably does.

            You I’m not so sure about as you seem spectacularly uninformed.

          • http://twitter.com/MarkMillar6 Mark Millar

            Your jibes about the North of England show that you are ignorant about the existing hitech industry that we have here. Your arrogant assumption that nobody in this part of the world is highly qualified in chemistry or engineering is completely wrong.

          • Latimer Alder

            Not me guv!

            I plead not guilty to all those charges …for all sorts of good reasons. And the most important one is that I do not make that assumption at all. I am extremely well aware that many excellent chemists and engineers come from the North. The two Stephensons for a pair of engineers and JP Joule – after whom we name the basic unit of energy were all Northcountrymen..along with countless others.

            I was merely poking fun at contributor ‘Refraktion’ who seemed on the point of descending into the ‘Northern Shoebox-dwellers against Fracking’ mode of whinging that can grate so much..

          • Latimer Alder

            Not me doing the ‘Oop North’ bit – it is ‘Refracktion’

            And I most certainly do not hold the views you erroneously attribute to me. Many superb scientists and engineers have come from the North and continue to do so. As they do from the east, south and west.

            I admire and respect them all.

    • sub angular

      * “Are we supposed to believe that Mr Lilley is *really* unaware of the chemicals used in fracking??? Really??” *

      This is a very common thread amongst the anti-fracking community, and it implies that they themselves have great knowledge of the chemicals used when usually, they don’t. Their knowledge is usually based on chinese-whispered hearsay of old techniques and scare stories from the US, where laws are completely different to Europe and litigation is a way of life. It is this kind of misinformation which really holds back the serious debate.

      In an evolving industry, the latest techniques in fracturing involve very limited chemistry and certainly nothing like that used in the early days in the US, where, unlike here, regulation was so weak that they were not even obliged to declare some constituents.

      I’m not a great fan of Lilley at all, but that article seems to sum up the issues fairly well.

      • Refracktion

        LOL – if the chemicals are so harmless why did Lilley need to lie? Or is he just too lazy to get the detail right?

    • http://twitter.com/Jon_BG Jon BG

      It’s also Gasland, not Gaslands…

    • Forester126

      “Are we supposed to believe that Mr Lilley is *really* unaware of the chemicals used in fracking???”

      So lets have a look at them:
      Water and quartz sand – 98-99% of the total fluid
      Chemical additives – 1-2%, of which around half is a natural gel.
      Bactericide – glutaraldehyde – also used in sterilising medical and dental equipment, in hand-wash soap, and as a disinfectant
      Gel – guar gum – also used in ice cream, toothpaste, and in baked goods, sauces, salad dressings and other processed foods
      Cross-linker – borate salts – also used in detergents, hand soaps, cosmetics
      Clay stabiliser – choline chloride – also used as a poultry food additive
      Gel breaker – hemicellulose enzyme – also used in washing powders, and in the food industry
      Acidity adjuster – sodium, potassium, chlorine compounds – also used in laundry detergents
      Surfactant – soap chemical – found in soaps and detergents.

      So it would appear that you pour most of them down your sink every day or eat the rest, and of course not all of those are necessary in each well, in fact in many wells hardly any of them are used, it depends on the geology.
      So stop trying to frighten people with lies!

      • Refracktion

        PMSL – “Chemical Additives” eh – 1-2% – is that supposed to be a list of them?

        You missed out hydrochloric acid – I only mention that one as Cuadrilla admit to it. There are about 600 other potential chemicals that have been used in the USA to date. Some of these are quite unpleasant and any chemicals would be used in huge volumes even at 1-2% of total volume. They also need to be transported and handled prior to being pumped down, and the flow back water picks up various other “chemical additives” during its journey.

        Of course, If you’d like to agree to drink a glass of flowback water in front of a camera to prove how harmless it is I’m sure it can be organised.

        For a senior politican to claim “Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds” is either totally disingenuous or totally irresponsible (or both).

        • Forester126

          Ah yes Hydrochloric Acid, I have loads of it in my stomach or of course I could pop down to my local builder merchant and buy a 500ml bottle of Spirit of Salts, builders use it all the time for cleaning mortar off bricks or as a toilet cleaner. It’s used in many industrial processes and currently about 2 million metric tonnes are produced a year. Where do you think all that goes?

          • Refracktion

            Yes – my dog uses it to dissolve bones in her stomach too – I certainly wouldn’t choose to bathe in it or drink it. What is your point. Because something is used in everyday life does not define it as safe (and I think/would hope you know that) That is why we have hazchem legislation and Hydrochloric Acid is defined as hazardous under it.

            The point here is that Lilley deliberately chose to mislead readers of this article by claiming “Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds” – Unless you are denying that chemicals ARE added (ad if you are you are spectacularly badly inforemd) then Lilley was clearly attempting to mislead with that statement. End of story.

            The potential impact of those chemicals and the safe uses and disposal of fracking fluid is another (very serious) question entirely.

          • Forester126

            You are, it seems oblivious of the fact that I am mocking you!

            You see everything we do in life is hazardous in some way and surely we all know that, and make choices every day as to how dangerous it is and what are the benefits from doing it anyway, such as driving our car, swimming, (people drown in water) drinking wine, taking medicine, (have you seen the hazardous warning on medicines) using electricity, building wind farms (have you researched how they mine Neodymium and the by-products that come up with it).

            But I also know that 5000 old people died of the cold in March alone. Are you saying you don’t care about them and the fact they are in energy poverty because are dear leaders are pursuing a policy of expensive energy.
            I gather that there may be shale gas near where I live and if they want to come along and extract it, that fine with me, because I am getting older, and I will need that cheap gas myself soon.

          • Latimer Alder


            Don’t mock the afflicted … ‘Refracktion’ has clearly neither a sense of perspective, nor a sense of humour.

            And it must be quite an ordeal for him spending his life in terror lest he meets a ‘chemical’ face to face.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – I have enough of a sense of humour to recognise when people like you, who think they are funny, are not 😉

          • Refracktion

            “You are, it seems oblivious of the fact that I am mocking you!”

            Actually I just thought you were being infantile – sorry.

            Your “arguments” are trite and childish. Even your mate Lilley admits fracking isn’t going to keep your granny warm in Winter. What do you know that he doesn’t? Do tell.

          • Daniel Maris

            Lilley seems to have told a series of porkies in that article.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I can’t see any, beyond a typo. Perhaps you can list what you think is not correct.

          • Refracktion

            Well let’s try another shall we?

            “Fracking itself lasts a few days — thereafter the field pumps gas much like any conventional field.”

            He is technically correct that the frack job itself only lasts days but he omits to mention that the drilling stage takes a few months.

            He states “thereafter the field pumps gas much like any conventional field ” which is simply not true – wells will need to be fracked again and again to keep on producing given the steep decline rates they will experience.

            Lilley knows all this – if he doesn’t he shouldn’t have been on that committee. Why does he need to come out with this misleading rubbish to support his argument?

        • Latimer Alder

          Gosh. ‘Chemicals’ again.

          Run around panicking folks… the ‘chemicals’ are about!

          • Refracktion

            Is that supposed to be either funny or clever? My teenage son has a better grasp of both fracking and humour than you LA 🙂

      • Cumberland

        I’ve been waiting for someone to supply the content, thanks, I presume water must be used as it doesn’t compress?

    • itdoesntaddup

      Here is Ed Davey’s letter:

      SIR – Contrary to Mr Lilley’s suggestion that I have asked the British
      Geological Survey (BGS) to “redo their figures” on shale gas, I have had no involvement in the research.

      The point of commissioning BGS to report to us on Britain’s shale gas resource is to help build up a robust evidence base to support future exploration and development. Geoscience experts from my department are contributing to the report, but it draws on all BGS’s data resources, and is being peer reviewed by BGS and an independent academic.

      The first phase of the research, covering the North of England, will be
      published before the summer.

      Edward Davey MP (Lib Dem)

      Energy and Climate Change Secretary

      London SW1

      Now, I’m sure that Davey had no involvement in the research: he has no competence in geology. But the words ring out like a Mafia boss denying responsibility for a killing. They also reveal that DECC is re-writing the BGS report, and only releasing it in stages, with no timescale for the later ones.

      Incidentally, when does summer start? We’re already in summer time.

  • j7sue

    ” The answer, then, is to get on and drill, not listen to these Cassandras.”
    Cassandra was right, but ignored. I think you’re confusing her with someone else: someone who was wrong, but paid attention to. George Osborne, perhaps.

    • voteukiporwearefinished

      If only there was somewhere in the world that was producing shale gas on a massive scale so that we could see how it worked, oh hang on a minute…

      • Refracktion

        If only there were somewhere in the world that was producing shale gas on a massive scale so that we could learn from the problems they have experienced and avoid them ….

        • Latimer Alder

          I keep on waiting to hear about all the problems…along with the proof that they are insurmountable.

          But apart from some strange doings of a herd of cows, 100,000 wells in the USA seem to have had remarkably few problems. And mightily helped the economy over there.

          If ‘radical film makers’ have to resort to untruthful scare-mongering about setting for to tapwater to get an airing. I’m hard pushed to see what the problems are.

          • Refracktion

            OK – explain these.


            Should be easy for a master of logic like yourself.

          • Latimer Alder

            I looked at the first case.

            A guy in Pennsylvania thought he had gas in his well. The US EPA investigated and found methane ‘below the level of concern’ and recommended he fit a vent to his well.

            And that was it. Pretty unchallenging stuff. If you look closely at modern houses you will discover something called a ‘stink pipe’. This is a vent to get rid of any build up of methane in the sewerage system. Standard stuff and no big deal.

            I didn’t bother with the rest.

            Can you not come up with anything a bit more juicy for us? These scare stories are about as frightening as tea and crumpets and a slice of the vicar’s wife madeira cake. Thin pickings indeed

  • Yawn

    Scarcely a sentence in this alarmist polemic stands up to scrutiny. Just one example – Germany is not ‘building 20 coal [plants]’.

    • voteukiporwearefinished
      • Yawn

        Apologies – posted in wrong place! Forbes is wrong. But go ahead and name all 25 of Forbes’ plants if you can (nb you can’t because it is untrue).

    • Latimer Alder


      So how many are they building? What is your source?

      • Yawn

        Go ahead mate, name them and I mean all 20 of them. (nb you can’t).

        • Latimer Alder

          You’re the one with the knowledge – supposedly.

          You tell us what the German plans are.

          • Yawn

            Well, they are not building 20 coal plants.

          • Latimer Alder

            8200 MW of power in 500 days is a LOOOOT of coal fired capacity. Whether spread across 20 or 25 plants or only half a dozen, it is undeniably a major programme of coal investment.

            And how beautifully ironic – and with a surrealism worthy of Kafka at his best – that the ‘Greenest’ nation on the planet’s efforts to save the world after Fukishama (nobody died) has led to them closing down their clean green no emission nuclear plants and to replace them with high emissions, dirty coal stations.

            Is it possible to imagine a more inept bunch of clowns? They shouldn’t be allowed near an ice-cream stall on Bournemouth beach – let alone our energy future.

            Like somebody recently said ‘You couldn’t make it up!’

          • Yawn

            …except for the coal closure and installation of RES capacity.

            Mostly the EU is building renewables and gas. last year 69% of installed capacity was RES. The year before 71%. You can keep going back over the last decade or so and it is the same pattern.

            See figure 2.2 of this: http://www.ewea.org/fileadmin/files/library/publications/statistics/Wind_in_power_annual_statistics_2012.pdf

            nb in case you do not like the messenger in this case, note the original data are from Platts.

          • Latimer Alder

            The question is not what the EU is doing on this matter.

            The question is what Germany is doing.

            And it is building coal-powered power stations by the bucket load.

          • dalai guevara

            They can afford to close old and open new (far more efficient) plant. What is your point?

          • Daniel Maris

            Precisely. Surely by now the one thing have learnt is that the Germans are not stupid.

          • Daniel Maris

            14 over several years is not “by the bucket load”. More than 10 GW additional green energy capacity every year is “by the bucket load”.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Please factor in 20% utilisation. The wind isn’t very strong in Germany.

          • Daniel Maris

            Every year they are adding about 10,000 MW of green energy capacity. They added 7,000 MW capacity in photovoltaics ALONE in 2012.

            You are living in dreamland. The coal fired power stations are simply a bridging measure – the Germans are moving efficiently and at a pace towards a fully green energy economy. And boy will we look stupid once they have!

          • Latimer Alder

            PVs aren’t much cop on cold winter nights though are they?

            And I’ll be quite content to view the wasteland that was once German economic miracle but is now just covered in windmills and PVs and wonder if a ‘fully green energy economy’ with no jobs and no future is actually a target to aim at.

            Looking stupid? I’d rather ‘look stupid’ and be warm and rich than be broke and hopeless and sanctimonious. You are welcome to choose poverty any time you like.

          • Daniel Maris

            You might “rather” that but you have no proof that Germany with its huge, huge manufacturing capacity is failing. It’s us who are failing in the manufacturing sector.

            You don’t really understand how these things work. Germany hasn’t had any power failure (there have been far more power failures in the USA, where power generation is much freer to pursue the solutions you like).

          • Latimer Alder

            I made no remarks about power failures. Though I stiil observe that solar PV is a very bad way to power a country that has long cold winter nights. The clue is in the word ‘solar’. When its dark, the panels don’t work.

            The problem in Germany – as it will be here – is that artificially high energy prices are driving investment away …for example to low energy cost USA


            If your product costs three times more to make in Dortmund or Doncaster than it does in Detroit…where are you going to spend your money?

            And if – by some mischance – you are obliged to stay in Europe…who is going to buy it?

            You might have a few years of feeling morally superior…but over time you’ll end up morally superior and broke. Not a strategy I recommend.

          • itdoesntaddup
          • Refracktion

            “I’d rather ‘look stupid'”


          • Craig Austin

            They have to match all photovoltaic with something reliable for, you know …..dark.

          • Daniel Maris

            Well there’s a comment that betrays a complete lack of comprehension.

          • Guenier

            The relevant data are here:


            Including the 2 coal-fired plants opened last year there are 14 coal plants. But, as you see, another 27 gas-fired plants are also planned – making 41 fossil fuel based plants in all. OK not 20 coal plants. But that’s hardly important in the overall context: Germany is investing heavily in fossil fuel power generation. Why cannot the UK do likewise?

          • Yawn

            Gas plants are being mothballed in Germany as in the UK because they are not profitable. The UK also has a long list of projects – many of which are fully permitted. But they are not being built.

            The company behind Mannheim have also stated it will never be profitable.

            Profen is a pipedream – it relies on a lignite mine expansion that is not possible. Niederaussem is simply being advanced as an option – RWE has stated it will not build new coal (so have Vattenfall and EON). Dow will likely opt for gas.

            The untruth of Lilly’s claim IS important. There are reasons that Germany saw utilities advancing coal in 2002-05. Those reasons led to c35 new coal plant proposals. The real story is the 25 or so abandoned coal projects and the gradual closure of existing coal plants.

            There is too much coal on line in Germany and Germany does not have a coal policy. But it is not true that Germany is building 20 new coal plants.

            Enjoy [pdf]: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/194335/Poyry_Report_-_Coal_fired_power_generation_in_Germany.pdf

          • Guenier

            You provided a DECC link to a 19% of Germany’s power requirement report. It has to be read with especial care as Pöyry is noted for its “green” tendencies. (For example, I’m amused by its reference to the Kyoto Protocol as “international law”. But that’s another matter.)

            Nonetheless, it does confirm that 2.7GW of new coal capacity became operational last year and a further 8GW is expected by 2015, taking the total to 12GW – only 4GW short of my figure below for the total to 2020. Might that be commissioned as well? Pöyry’s vague statement doesn’t help.

            OK, it may not be 20 new coal units. But 12GW (about 19% of Germany’s power requirement) means a lot of coal will be burnt in new plant. And, as Pöyry confirms, none of it is likely to be fitted with CCS.

          • Yawn

            Ok well done, you’re slowly getting closer to reality.

            But you need to look into why coal capacity does not men coal generation in germany.

            Germany has a large and growing share of RES this has pushed down the wholesale price and RES are dispatched before anything else (near zero short run cost). Hard coal and gas consequently have less market left to compete in – they will always be out-competed in the short run by RES. This means the new and existing hard coal plants have less chance to make money. Gas suffers a bit more than coal in this context because (at the moment) it has a higher short-run cost. So that’s why gas plants are being mothballed and new plant additions delayed. So much for BDEW’s long list of gas plants.

            Lignite is different because it has a lower short run cost. So the bigger issue really in Germany is not hard coal (pretty much doomed by 2020) but lignite.

            But you are right CCS is not likely in Germany.

          • Craig Austin

            CCS is not likely.

          • Guenier

            Hmm … please don’t patronise me, Yawn. Thanks.

            As I said, Germany will be burning a lot of coal in new plant and doing so without CCS. As for gas – well, maybe those gas plants will be mothballed. But, as the full impact of abandoning nuclear becomes apparent and the drawbacks of more renewables become increasingly clear, either that may be reconsidered or additional coal plant built after all. Or both. We’ll see.

            As you probably know, the UK also has mothballed gas units – about 4.8GW of potential power. There’s already talk of bringing them back into use – despite their currently being seen as uneconomic. Here’s an extract from a recent interview with Richard Smith of the National Grid:

            “Some parts of the media have suggested the country needs to make plans to build new gas fired power stations in order to meet demand in coming years – but Smith isn’t convinced. The country already has a large number of gas plants generators have mothballed, he points out, and these could be brought back into service.”

          • Yawn

            I can’t but help patronise someone who puts out a BDEW list and then claims it means Germany is going fossil fuel! Duh! That’s not how a market works (do you believe in markets or not?).

            You reinforce my point. There are reasons why gas generation is uneconomic at present, but there is an over-capacity of gas available. Should gas prices drop and carbon price rise that mothballed capacity (and new capacity) will be economic. The best thing to do if you are a utility is to keep old capacity in reserve and delay a new investment decision.

            Where you are wrong is that the ‘drawbacks of renewables’ are proving to be quite elusive. RES costs continue to reduce and the (economic) learning continues. Grids are not falling over, many jobs are being created etc

            My point is that the EU is building RES and gas. Right now gas investment decisions are being delayed for a number of economic reasons. That may well pick up, we will see, mean time RES continues to scale.

            What the EU is not building is coal and nuclear. Pointing to a few legacy projects in Germany decided years ago and only now coming on line is misleading spin of the kind we can expect from the likes of Peter Lilly.

          • Guenier

            1. “the ‘drawbacks of renewables’ are proving to be quite elusive” – on days when the wind doesn’t blow? See 3. and 5.

            2. “RES costs continue to reduce” – yet huge subsidies are still required.

            3. “Grids are not falling over” – not yet (see 5.).

            4. “many jobs are being created” – especially in China.

            5. “the EU is building RES” – hmm … see 1. and 3.

            6. “a few legacy projects” – with a 12GW capacity. That’s a big “few”.

          • Yawn

            1 Well, er, where to start – you address this through having a reliable grid. You can spend a lot building ‘back-up’ if you want (really it is flexibility resources, but we’ll let that one pass) but it is cheaper to interconnect which has the effect of smoothing peak/troughs and (for example) dispatching wind as a front passes over the Continent to where the load is required. All that requires is intra-day markets. But anyway no grid will be entirely made up of wind – solar, geothermal, bioenergy (sustainable of course), WTE, hydro etc etc

            2 well as if fossil fuels are so cheap why do they need subsidy? But leaving that aside RES incentives do two things – one they reduce the cost of capital (bringing down the overall cost) and two they operate with the principle of degression. So, yes, I think it is pretty likely that onshore wind will be subsidy free by 2020 in the UK. Solar will reach that stage in different locations depending on the solar index and wholesale/retail price dynamics. Let me contrast RES learning that with fossil fuels and nuclear which are conventional technologies that still seem to require subsidy. Why is George Osborne subsidising shale by the way?

            3 Great argument. Can’t fault that. ‘see 5’, then 5 says ‘see 3’.

            4 Good luck building a wind turbine in China and shipping it to the Thames Array. Or shipping over energy efficiency or solar installers from China. Presently low carbon goods and services are a net benefit to the UK economy and the UK is a net exporter to China in this sector.

            5 Uh?

            6 Well, yes, that is hardly any. Especially as the new capacity will not run enough to make their money back.

          • Guenier

            You’re right: a reliable grid is needed. Unfortunately, Peter Lilley and I (and probably you) live in the UK where reliability looks increasingly uncertain as old coal and nuclear plants are phased out and intermittent wind power is somehow expected to replace them. As a result, we face a serious risk of damaging, possibly disastrous, power failures over the next few years – unless expensive gas backup (putting an even greater burden on consumer bills) is made quickly available. (Peter Lilley’s point is that shale offers the prospect of less expensive gas.) Nothing like your trans-continental interconnector (in any case, of seriously uncertain value – but that’s another story), solar, geothermal, bio energy, WTE, hydro etc. solution is planned for the UK until after 2020, so – even if it were workable – that’s not the answer.

            The result of decades of successive governments giving in to “green” pressure is that the UK faces increasing damage (to costs, jobs, etc.) and potential disaster – affecting everyone and, in particular, the poorest and most vulnerable. And it’s all completely pointless.

            (I suspect only you and I are reading this, so I’ll leave other issues for now.)

          • itdoesntaddup

            It is easy and cheap to construct a reliable grid when generation sources can be controlled and sensibly sited relative to centres of demand. Where generation is at the whim of nature, the required interconnection is much greater if unexpected current flows aren’t going to cause transmission line and transformer blowouts that can in turn cause more of the grid to fail. National Grid plan to spend as much as the replacement cost of the entire existing network on adding to it cope. That’s a cost of the renewables strategy. It’s horrendous. It’s also the reason why we are to have power cut by computer, again at consumer expense.

          • itdoesntaddup
          • dalai guevara

            6.000+MW of pumped storage alone (!)
            you chaps keep focussing on the wrong sector, and I will leave you to it.

          • Latimer Alder

            Limp reply of the month……………..

          • itdoesntaddup

            You mean because they’re getting the Dutch to build some of them for them so they don’t have to barge so much coal up the Rhine, and just get the power over the grid instead?

          • itdoesntaddup

            He’ll ask for the names and addresses of all the crew next…

          • Yawn

            Lunen and Datteln are in the courts and may yet never enter operation.Trianel has stated that if Lunen ever gets built it will never be profitable.Hamburg has considerable restrictions around operating and will also never be profitable. All these plants represent decisions taken in the period 2003-07.

          • Latimer Alder

            So even in the 2003-7 period the Krafty Krauts were planning to do the dirty on the Greens?

            My natural respect for the German people – already high – increases yet another step.

            The Green Madness is slowly dying away………

          • Daniel Maris

            You’re well wide of the mark. Each year they are adding at least 10 GW green energy capacity. The fact they are using coal in some areas rather than nuclear to bridge the gap to a full green energy system is for them decide on. We could probably use gas to bridge the gap in the UK.

  • ShaleGasExpert

    I’m that rare person, a left wing progressive supporter of shale gas, although there are any number of green organisations in the US who support natural gas and it would be nice to see some reality (in public) from them here. I’d also point out that in most of the above, Peter Lilley would find himself on the same side as President Obama, something I think may not often happen.

    Privately, UK greens are way ahead of their base, and increasingly so at an EU level. German Greens especially are far more open that UK ones. I’ve pointed out frequently that the EU is similarly ahead of member states, with not only DG Energy but also DG Environment making very positive statements on shale.

    The UK left is sleepwalking into a trap: If they are proved wrong on shale gas, the rest of the agenda on the economy, the EU, and yes, environmental protection, will suffer.
    Perhaps ultra dark Greens are really as relevant as the US Tea Party? A noisy minority that only listens to their own echo chamber, fighting the tide of history.
    Shale gas can supply both a growth story and a realistic way to actually cut emissions. It’s a good news story. But the media wants to paint everything as black or white.
    Shale gas isn’t perfect. What is? But as Voltaire said, we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    • Refracktion

      ShillGasExpert – I realise this is the Spectator and you are trying to play to the crowd, but those people who oppose the development of shale gas in the UK are not part of some conspiracy of the UK left. They come from all political persuasions (well OK not so much UKIP of course because they are by definition not people who just swallow any old nonsense) Neither is a desire to question the wisdom of fracking necessarily a “green” issue, although of course it can be .

      It may suit you to simplify and polarise the argument whilst claiming to be some sort of “left wing progressive” (lol) but you are trivialising a subject which deserves deeper and more objective discussion. Of course we all know that having an objective debate that isn’t really part of Nick Grealy’s agenda is it?

      As an “expert” you can’t fail to be aware of the differences between USA and UK in terms of the demographics (for example) which impact the acceptability of development, and your comparison between Lilley and Obama is laughable.

      Voltaire also said “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”

      Worth remembering when we hear people banging on about how wonderful and perfectly safe fracking will be eh?

      • Latimer Alder

        Where are these people who ‘bang on about how wonderful and perfectly safe fracking will be?’

        I haven’t met anyone – either in person or electronically – who takes that view.

        But there do seem to be a number – yourself included – who take the opposite view. Who would wish to prevent it even being attempted….

        That seems to me to be a very short-sighted and conservative view

        ‘I don’t know anything about it, don’t want to know anything about it but I know I’m agin people even testing it. Bloody new-fangled ideas…..’

        • Refracktion

          On the contrary – demonstrate to me that it can be done safely and without damaging my environment or the amenity value of the area I live in, and prove to me that there are sufficient reserves to make it all worth while and I’ll entertain the notion.

          But if you want to test next to my house and my family you are going to have to demonstrate that it’s safe first and foremost.

          Deliberately misinforming readers about how it’s done , as Lilley does here, and suggesting as he did last week that a few small bribes will stop me ad others asking questions, just makes me ask even more what the frackers he is supporting have to hide.

          Its quite a natural response to being lied to and patronised I think – and I don’t imagine I am alone in having that reaction. (In fact I know I’m not)

          • Latimer Alder

            Friendly advice

            You’d make your case a lot better if you put some actual specifics into it. Just thrashing around with generalisations doesn’t persuade anyone with a mental age above about 9 and any experience of the real world rather than the kindergarten.

            Your foray into ‘chemicals’ was a real damp squib. If you start with generalisations, you need to have all the facts behind you…and you clearly didn’t. The best you could come up with that fracking sometimes used hydrochloric acid – stomach acid – which isn’t going to scare anybody.

            Somebody else complained that the evil frackers had put a light on the top of a structure by an airport.

            And the infamous film of the taps breathing flame has been shown to be ‘disingenuous’ at best.

            Is this list of random generalisations the best you can come up with? Judging on the way the political wind is rapidly changing, you will have to be far far sharper and crisper in your arguments than you have managed so far.

            Standing in front of a crowd of a hundred of your own supporters bawling ‘Chemicals are bad, abolish stomach acid now’ is one thing. Winning a rational debate is another.

            And btw – calling the other guys names is really really counterproductive and childish. Playground tactics.

            ‘shillgasexpert’ was not a way to win hearts and minds.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – if you’d kindly stop trying to distort what I am saying in such a silly way things would be a lot more productive.:-) I’m not going to repeat the points I have made elsewhere in repsonse to your meanderings.

            Shill/Shale gas expert is Nick Grealy. He admits to having been paid by Cuadrilla and he promotes himself as an expert on just about every newspapers comment area.

            I’m sorry if you revere him to such an extent that pointing that out is unpopular. It is the truth though so I shan’t be losing any sleep there.

            If you want to measure the level of his expertise check out http://ruvr.co.uk/2012_12_20/Fracking-future-British-energy/

            You’ll hate the medium I’m sure as it’s Voice of Russia and of course Russia has an interest here, but you may enjoy this particular example of “expertise” about 10:30 in.

            Interviewer: Carbon targets are important.
            ShaleGasExpert: Argh not really, not on a global.. not on a global basis.
            Interviewer: Surely, surely that the basis that they are important on.. I mean the whole point of…
            ShaleGasExpert: Well yes exactly, they are important on a global basis

            If that doesn’t do it for you, try his closing statement

            “er hi, certainly, I think that shale gas is inevitable, admittedly it is my job to gee it up a bit, ah but we have to look at things on a global basis. What the United Kingdom does or does not do on carbon is absolutely irrelevant to the planet earth, to our Mother Earth.”

            Titters from the other panellists

            “Ok the United Kingdom is a part of the world and we cant just say “stop the world I want to get off”

            People appear to be prepared to pay for this extraordinary level of expertise you know.

          • Latimer Alder

            I’m not ‘distorting what you are trying to say’

            I am asking you to clarify it.

            ‘Fracking is bad because it uses CHEMICALS! And chemicals are scary’ is a limp and risible argument.

            Frcacking uses Chemical A and Chemical A is bad news because of x y and z is a much better one.

            But you also need to remember that – in a general audience, not just a bunch of committed frackoffers – many will be entirely familiar with handling and using chemicals in their professional lives. You need to be on top form, not just generalising as if to pre-schoolers.

          • Refracktion

            If you are as clued up as you pretend you will know where to find the published list of chemicals used in fracking in the USA and their hazard characteristics.

            If you really don’t know much about it I can look it up again and let you have a pointer.

            Just let me know if you really are all just hot air and I’ll be glad to help out 🙂

            It really isn’t necessary for me to do your homework for you when I am simply pointing out that Lilley deliberately misleads in this article.

          • Latimer Alder

            You don’t have it to hand already? Seems a bit negligent for one who makes such a fuss about it?

            And just about any substance in existence can be hazardous if misused. To make your case you need to not only have a list of ‘hazard characteristics’…you need to show that theyy can and have been misused,..and that their use cannot be avoided/bypassed/replaced.

            I also think you are flogging a dead horse on your ‘Lilley is lying’ schtick. He says ‘pumping water under great pressure’..which is true. If he had said ‘pure water under great pressure’ then he would clearly have been lying’. If he’d said ‘water and a few chemicals’ you;d have been happy.

            But he didn’t. So its marginal at best and you’ll lose more than you win…especially after the ‘chemicals’ cockup.

            Got anything more for us? I want a really really good afternoon scare.

          • Refracktion

            Oh I have it to hand – just couldn’t be arsed to look it out when you aren’t interested in having a sensible discussion here.

            LOL “If he’d said ‘water and a few chemicals’ you;d have been happy.”

            No but he wouldn’t have been lying then at least – I not eyou conveniently edited out the word “simply”as it didn’t suit your point 😉

          • The Wiganer

            Are wind turbines and solar panels made of wood and pixie dust? Or are they made of highly refined elements, using masses of chemicals and rare earth elements?
            ‘Green’ supporters seem to have no problem turning third world nations into moon landscapes in the search for the materials to build turbines and panels. I guess it is ok for kids in Mongolia to suffer chemical related illness and death for your benefit.
            What impact do wind turbines have on amenity values? A clue, it is not a positive one. Ask your non-biased environmentalist about infrasound from turbines.
            All energy production causes damage somewhere for someone. If we are using it then we should make the sacrifices for it.
            Feel free to disconnect your house from the national grid. Then preach.

          • Refracktion

            Why does everyone who tries to argue for shale gas automatically assume that anyone who questions shale gas development is bit definition a supporter of large wind turbines?

            Is that “we” making sacrifices including you or is it a “we” as in “them up there”?

          • The Wiganer

            Then what better alternative are your offering?
            Natural gas? The stuff that blows up houses.
            Oil? Fires, tanker disasters, carbon emissions.
            In case you haven’t guessed by my ID I live in Lancashire. I lost my coal mining grandfather to pit lung and my dad lost one of his friends in the Golborne pit disaster. My grasp on the costs of energy is a little greater than yours.

          • Guest

            Fracking in Wigan then are they?

            “My grasp on the costs of energy is a little greater than yours” Sorry about your families experience of coal mining. but that statement is just a bit self-righteous and condescending.

          • Refracktion

            Fracking in Wigan then are they?

            “My grasp on the costs of energy is a little greater than yours”
            Sorry about your family’s experience of coal mining. but that statement is just a bit self-righteous and condescending.

          • itdoesntaddup

            “Large swathes of the countryside” refers to wind farms. In the UK, where each individual landowner gets paid for each windmill, they spread like topsy. However, landowners get no royalty on hydrocarbons, with the result that an area of several square miles can be exploited by one small drillpad site.

            Shale will be far less intrusive in land use than wind.

          • Refracktion

            By small you mean the size of two football pitches?

            “However, landowners get no royalty on hydrocarbons, with the result that
            an area of several square miles can be exploited by one small drillpad

            There is no link whatsoever between whether landowners get paid for the gas under their land (they don’t as we all know) and the size / number of well pads. This is dictated by the geology and the current state of technology.

            Of course land owners DO get paid for allowing fracking companies to use their land – just like they would if the leased it for – er – windmills. I’m afraid your argument simply doesn’t add up.

            “Shale will be far less intrusive in land use than wind.”

            Big LOL – 66% of the country presumably isn’t a large swathe to you?

            But like I said please stop pretending that wind is the only alternative – that is crazy Delingpole, Clarkson, Bojo territory. These buffoons may be funny in a 6th form common room sort of way but don’t be taken in by their “false choice” arguments.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Every windmill in the country at present produces about the same amount of power as just the Wytch Farm field produced at its peak.

            The current state of technology allows wells to run miles around a drill site. WIndmills can’t sit on top of each other: they must be spaced out. You can drill tens of wells from a small location. A North Sea platform may have 50-100.

          • itdoesntaddup

            So what do you support? Something even less economic, no doubt.

          • Refracktion

            It would be hard to find something less “economic” (what does that MEAN? Do you mean economically beneficial?) than fracking – as the New York Times investigation into leaked documents showed


          • itdoesntaddup

            Once again you fail to address the question.

          • Refracktion

            Oh goody – let’s see your figures which show that shale gas is a great investment and not just a giant Ponzi scheme as the industry insiders quoted by NYT suggested. I can’t wait. 🙂

          • itdoesntaddup

            Only after you answer the question posed to you: what do you support for an energy mix? You seem very reluctant to reveal that. I wonder why.

          • Refracktion

            What is it with your “ner ner n ner neh” schoolboy thing?

            This is a grown ups conversation. Put up or shut up.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Put up yourself. A list of bankrupt companies please, with how much they got taken for. You’re the one making the claim, and then running away from providing any answers at all. Instead of admitting you’re wrong, you always simply try to change the subject.

            Extremely childish.

          • Refracktion

            Not “bankrupt” don’t put words into my mouth. Just Google “shale gas Ponzi scheme” – you’ll find plenty of material. They are still limping along – just badly wounded for now – not totally bankrupt. Yet 😉

          • Arin O’A

            Not to mention that turbine blades wipe
            out large number of wildlife such as birds and bats that fly in to them.
            (The Spectator Clive Hambler 5 January 2013)

          • Nick Lowe

            Would it not be pertinent that you actually do a bit of research into the matter, yourself?

            Here’s a little research for free.


          • Refracktion

            LOL – Thank you so much. I won’t condescend back. Not really necessary is it?

  • georgienomad

    I didn’t realise the spectator could write in the future…ehem, it is the 9th of May today!

    • Daniel Maris

      Take a look at your local weekly newspaper – you’ll probably find that appears before it should as well! It’s common publishing practice.

  • itdoesntaddup

    One small typo…it’s the Bowland shale.

    Did I not read in the Telegraph that the current BGS estimate has been revised up from 5.3Tcf (the DECC “preferred view”) to 250 times as much, compared with our annual consumption of 3.3-3.5Tcf? That is 1,325Tcf, worth over £8 trillion at current 60+p/therm wholesale NBP prices that would totally transform the creditworthiness of the country. And yet Mr Davey wants this kept a a state secret.

    We also have the rather strange appointment of Sr Duarte Figueira to head up the OfUGO shale regulator. He had been seconded by DECC to work for Technip Wind, having previously been Head of Offshore Renewables at DECC. An interesting revolving door. Has this appointment been publicly scrutinised? Surely he isn’t a windbag whose job is to filibuster against any shale development, is he?

    • Daniel Maris

      There’s far more than that trapped at the bottom of the oceans. The issue is whether you harness it economically.

  • Yawn

    Forbes is wrong. But go ahead, name all 25 if you think you can (nb you can’t).

    • charlesx

      You have not answered Latimer’s question. How many do you think there are?

      • Yawn

        Latimer has not answered my question. All he/she needs to do is name them.

        • Latimer Alder
          • Yawn

            I don’t need to google thanks, I know there are not 20 new plants being built. But while you’re googling have a look at the capacity that is actually entering service in the EU. Here’s a clue: it is RES and gas. There has been a net closure of coal and that will accelerate as the old clunkers close. The reality is coal and nuclear are being replaced by RES and gas.

    • Guenier

      See the link I provided above: the correct figures are 14 coal and 27 gas plants. As I said, what’s important in the overall context is that Germany is investing heavily in fossil fuel based power generation. Why cannot the UK do likewise?

      • charlesx

        Thanks for the link Robin, those numbers are amazing, given that we tend to think of Germany as the home of the green movement.

        • itdoesntaddup

          Germany is already burning more than twice as much coal as we are.

          • Daniel Maris

            And it has about four times our manufacturing capacity…

          • itdoesntaddup

            Perhaps the two are linked?

        • Guenier

          What’s especially amazing is the capacity of these power stations. The six coal units opening this year will have a combined capacity of 5800MW. Altogether these units plus the two opened last year and those due by 2020 will be capable of supplying 19% of Germany’s power requirement – about 16,000MW.

          And note: none of these units (or the planned gas units) will be built with Carbon Capture and Storage – as required for UK fossil fuel generators despite it’s not yet having been commercially proven.

        • Yawn

          BDEW publish such data every year. They simply report what utilities say they are doing. It is the same as the National Grid list. Some years ago NG showed a dozen new coal plants in the UK. Plants under construction are objectively true. Announced projects far back in a pipeline are to be understood for what they are – utility options that may never get taken up (that’s a market in operation). Given new coal is uneconomic there is no reason to believe any of these options will be taken up in Germany. I agree with Poyry that the German pipeline is dead and Germany will not build another coal plant other than these few legacy projects. The issue in question is at what rate the existing coal fleet in Germany will close.

          Across the EU at the turn of 2008 there were c112 announced new coal plants. Of those, just three have broken ground – although two in Poland are only nominally under construction (they have not signed contracts). The third is Sostanj in Slovenia. A lignite project subsidised by you and I though the EIB and EBRD.

          Maybe one or two more coal plants will be built in the next years in the EU – possibly one in Greece (subsidised). But it will be no more than a handful across the EU. The reality is that Europe is building gas and renewables.

          • Guenier

            See my comment above about the Poyry report.

          • Latimer Alder

            So where do they expect to get the gas from?

          • dalai guevara

            Is that a trick question? From the chaps who hired the last German chancellor straight after he left office.

          • Yawn

            The European gas grid and long term contracts with Russia. Shale in the EU is a small offset of the decline in N Sea supply. On the other hand Russia has a huge gas glut growing with no-where else to send it than the EU. The barrier at the moment is oil-indexing. That’s why EON is renegotiating oil indexed prices.

            Shale is a sideshow, but it suits people like Peter Lilly to hype it. I’m afraid the wheels will come off it just as they have for nuclear.

          • itdoesntaddup

            The Germans must hum to the Russian tune in chorus. Will they do it in Hebrew?

          • itdoesntaddup

            ” Given new coal is uneconomic”

            Given??? Please provide your workings for this assertion. You may use the current forward API2 coal price curve, a spark spread on an efficiency of 45% (some way below best modern coal plant), and the current EU ETS price of under €4.

          • Yawn

            “45% ‘some way below best modern coal plant” jeez, get a grip.

            Anyway you are confusing an operating decision with an investment one.

            New coal is uneconomic in Germany (as elsewhere) because the wholesale price is too low to get a reasonable ROI on new coal. The impact of RES is to reduce the wholesale price. Remember coal is high capex so when you operate a new plant you really need it to run flat out for ten years to amortise costs. If your market is disappearing because of RES (see other posts) you cannot sustain a high load factor. It is the wholesale cost that influences an investment decision, not the dark spread. The dark spread influences a short term decision to generate coal vs gas. For sure at present with high gas/low carbon price, coal generation is favoured. But no utility would invest on the back of a temporary factor like that in new capacity. Long term it is still better to opt for gas and RES. RES a no-brainer for a host of reasons and gas – useful to have plans and invest when the time is right. Presently utilities are delaying gas decisions (essentially they are waiting for capacity payments to be introduced).

            It does not matter how much you want it to be so, I am afraid coal is not cheap.

          • itdoesntaddup

            No economics at all. German power prices are way higher than ours, in order to pay for all that high investment cost in renewables where the capital cost per MW of supply is enormous. The German wholesale market is distorted by all that renewable capacity. They have to dump surplus solar capacity on sunny days into other markets (you can’t shut down a solar panel), and likewise with wind when the wind really does blow if they don’t shut the windmills down and pay them to do so. The grid is straining to cope, and it doesn’t leading to blackouts. Yet when the wind doesn’t blow, and it’s night or heavily clouded, then other capacity has to come in.

            There’s nothing more idiotic than investing twice over in capacity, when the renewables capacity is much more expensive by a multiple of 4 per MWh deliverable (the cost per MW of nominal capacity is irrelevant except as a step in the calculation).

            Rough figures:

            CCGT $1m/MW
            Coal $3m/MW
            Wind $2.2m/MW nominal onshore, at 17% utilisation =$13/MW effective

            Source: EIA 2013, IEA for wind factor

          • Yawn

            Oh do grow up. All you are describing is precisely what interconnection deals with.

            Spending your time staring at levelised cost comparisons will get you nowhere. They provide guidance, but need to be seen for what they are which is assumption-based comparisons.

            Example: If you have the time dig back into what DECC’s predecessors assumed were the levelised costs of nuclear and compare them with what EDF is demanding for a CFD FIT.

            Levelised cost assumptions are a contribution but only that.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Grow up yourself. Coal power plant costs are well established because many plants are built in the world each year. There’s no FOAK premium, or other unknown as with nuclear: EdF’s demands are irrelevant (and absurd, since they know they are the preferred supplier so have no competition in nuclear, and will be thanked for not undercutting other renewables or French interconnector supplies by DECC and their shareholders for a start).

            The differences in cost are not trivial. That’s why we have increasingly elaborate regimes to force uneconomic sources of power on us. Look at Centrica’s accounts, and you’ll see that wind power gets a 100% markup via ROCs etc. That’s before allowing for the extra taxes on conventional power.

            Look at reality, not DECC paper studies.

          • Yawn

            let’s look at reality.

            You quote LCE comparison showing CCGT is the cheapest. Logic: build and operate CCGT.

            Reality: CCGT investment decisions are being delayed, existing CCGTs are being mothballed.

            Conclusion LCE can help add insights, but are not the truth (because they are based on assumptions and reality is, well, reality).

            Meantime: utilities are lobbying for subsidy to build and operate gas plants (aka ‘capacity payments’).

            As for coal plant costs. Good luck with that argument. State bank/IFI financed state utility low efficiency coal plant projects in China are not EU BAT.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Sigh. Yawn.

            Those are CAPITAL COSTS. The economics of investment depend on the cost of fuel as well as the cost of the plant. Develop shale, and gas will look more attractive. Coal is cheap as a fuel at present by comparison in Europe (though not in the US, where gas is much cheaper). It’s no accident that Germany is building coal capacity at home and in Holland.

            In markets that are heavily distorted by government, rational choice is the last thing to expect. That’s the whole point. Government interference is massively costly and uneconomic – and is failing to reduce global emissions. Every saving in emissions in Europe results in higher emissions elsewhere. The Danes reckon 30% more. Even the DECC has admitted to 10% more.

          • itdoesntaddup

            All that interconnection adds to the cost of course. How much is it now for the grid? Compare with the accounts that show the cost of the existing gird, and its depreciated value – and hence the rough scale of investment required to maintain the existing grid.

          • Daniel Maris

            I’ll tell you one thing, those wind turbine towers will still be there in 25 years, when the wind turbines are renewed, as will the concrete platform…

            The price of wind is only going one way and that is d-o-w-n.

            and another: the problem of storage will be solved much more quickly than pessimists like you think. And once that happense your arguments, such as they come crashing down like a poorly constructed house of cards.

          • itdoesntaddup
  • dodgy

    While we are getting all hot under the collar about the political suppression of shale gas, on the environmental grounds that we are using ‘too much’ energy, exactly the same thing is happening with our water supply, only no one is paying any attention.

    Activists have driven a policy through the EU which says that humans are using too much water, so we should all cut back, and the DECC has responded by specifying an aim of a 20% cut in water use per capita. This makes even less sense than a cut in energy usage, since water moves in a cycle – we can all use as much as we like, and no water is ever destroyed. The only thing stopping us using a swimming-pool full of water per head per day is that we do not have the infrastructure to process, store and provide it.

    Discussions about water use should therefore solely cover how much water infrastructure we are prepared to pay for – the water comes for free out of the sky. The water companies decided that they needed a total of 8 new reservoirs in SE England to service the massive increase in population there over the last 20 years, and factored this cost into their bills, so we are paying for them. But the government has halted plans for ALL of them. The result is that, whenever there is lower than average rainfall in the SE, we run low. And the water companies have bumper unintentional profits….

    I have asked DECC why they are doing this. They have replied that their aim is to get people to use 20% less water, and this can be simply achieved by undersupplying demand by 20%. There is no justification for this figure – no actual shortage of raw material – it is just a environmental wish. We are lucky they didn’t pick 50%.

    And as far as I can tell, nobody either realises or cares about this. It is only something which is noticed when the rainfall drops below average, which hasn’t been happening recently. But increasingly over the last several years, minor rainfall shortages have been causing major drought warnings – this will continue to get worse and worse while this policy of preventing reservoir builds is in operation…

    • itdoesntaddup

      You are quite right. The Water Directive is criminal: it’s a one size fits all policy based on water shortage in Spain. John Redwood has long campaigned on this issue. Anther reason to be out…

      • Daniel Maris

        Well I agree on water usage. Free or nearly free access to clean water is one of the signs of civilisation.

        The fact that we, a country constantly rained on and surrounded by water, have water shortages and water meters is a scandal.

        Incidentally water extraction direct from the atmosphere is possible now technologically and will clearly become another element in enabling us to go “off grid” in due course.

        • itdoesntaddup

          Rain? I never thought of that…

        • Latimer Alder

          Water extraction direct from the atmosphere?

          That’ll reduce the overall rainfall won’t it? How will that help?

          • Daniel Maris

            No, I don’t think that would be a major issue. A lot of that water would probably fall as rain in mountainous areas anyway.

            The likelihood is that we have too much water in the atmosphere anyway. Why?Because of the vast amount of irrigation across the planet that now takes place. .There are huge, huge losses from that, it’s just no one notices them, because the losses are via evaporation. So water that wouldn’t normally be, is exposed to evaporation effects. That’s basically what’s done for the Caspian and Aral seas.

            In fact increase water evaporation due to irrigation is quite possibly one of the disregarded causes of global warming.

          • dodgy

            It may surprise people to learn that the atmosphere balances itself with regard to humidity. But it does.

            There’s no need to do anything clever like extracting water from the air technically. You might think of doing that in a desert if the cost of a pipeline was too much, but in the UK water extracts itself from the air for free.

            All I was asking for was for DECC to allow the building of enough reservoirs to service the population. And DECC turned around and said that it was government (read EU) policy to provide only 80% of the requirement, because it was their policy that people should use 20% less water.

            My MP and I gave up after that…I can now see the same thing happening with power….

          • Daniel Maris

            No – that can’t be right. If, through irrigation, you spread water (which would otherwise have entered a river current and then merged with the sea) over hot arid areas you get more evaporation i.e. more water vapour, concentrating as clouds.

          • SkyHunter

            Water vapour condenses to form clouds. It doesn’t concentrate. (has ADHD)

          • dodgy

            I don’t understand what you’re talking about, and I suspect that you don’t either. Water doesn’t stay in clouds – it rains out of them to complete the water cycle, which is the balance I was referring to. You seem to think that, if I boil a kettle and produce steam, that steam is somehow lost to the water cycle.

            You also appear to think that the Caspian and Aral seas have dried up due to evaporation. As far as I know there is no particular issue with the Caspian. The Aral has experienced major shrinkage due to the complete diversion of rivers which fed it, not due to any increase in evaporation.

            Incidentally, the now exposed Global Warming scam proposed that extra CO2 would heat up the upper atmosphere which would cause extra water to be evaporated. If you look at the NASA NVAP satellite data you will find that upper atmospheric water vapour has gone DOWN significantly since 1988. Which, on its own, is sufficient to disprove the AGW hypothesis….

          • Daniel Maris

            Think of water in a river as a column protecting most of the water from evaporation. The protected water then enters the ocean where, again, it is (except at the surface) protected from evaporation.

            If in tends you spread all the water out thinly on the ground in arid areas, it will (nearly) all evaporate.

          • dodgy

            There is so much wrong with your comprehension of evaporation that I don’t know where to begin!

            For a start, water in the rivers and oceans is not ‘protected from evaporation’. Evaporation is a balanced process operating between water and air, and the relative humidity at any one time depends on the air pressure and temperature. NOT on whether the water is in an ocean or river.

            If you put water in ANY place where the relative humidity is not 100% it will evaporate to obtain a working balance. If the air cools again in the evening and drops below the dewpoint temperature, it will condense out. This balance process happens everywhere on Earth – even in the arid areas, which is how plants like cacti survive. It is a cycle.

            If you put a lot of water into the air over an arid desert, most will condense out and fall as dew that evening. Some will blow away to areas of higher relative humidity. There is no way in which the water will magically ‘stay in the air’ and produce any kind of imbalance. That is simply ignoring all known physical laws….

          • SkyHunter

            No it isn’t an overlooked cause of global warming.

            See here. (PDF)

          • SkyHunter

            Locally, depending on where it is extracted from.

            Doubtful it would make a difference globally, since there is no lack of evaporation sources on most of the planet.

      • Refracktion


        You really are ignorant – do you not understand what “capisce” means and how it’s pronounced?

        Evidently not. Perhaps you just think you are the illiterate hero of some B movie about fracking?

        • Latimer Alder

          Oh dear

          You really are scraping the bottom of your shallow and flimsy barrel.

          The more you write trying to frighten us all about fracking with your pretty trivial points, the more I think we don’t have much to worry about.

          • Refracktion

            I have to agree – being reduced to discussing this issue with a pretentious illiterate is stooping pretty low 🙂

          • itdoesntaddup

            Discussion with someone so ignorant of the science and engineering and economics – the issues at stake – as you is quite beyond the pale. I guess you work for DECC.

          • Refracktion

            Guess away.

            If it’s beyond the pale (how pompous) why are you doing it? LOL

          • itdoesntaddup

            Because the wider public deserves proper education instead of tissues of half-truths and lies..

          • Refracktion

            PMSL – thank God you are here then.

            How would we be able to work things out without your invaluable contribution to the debate?

            I am joking of course – capisce?

          • itdoesntaddup

            You have contributed nothing of value here. I doubt you ever have done.

          • Refracktion

            Ahhhh bless!

    • MrVeryAngry

      I have my own water well….
      Next, where’s my coal mine..?

    • SkyHunter

      Need that extra water for the fracking operations. Fracking is very water intensive, ~5 million gallons per well.

    • Warwick

      You put it very succinctly, “We can use as much as we want and no water is destroyed” and “all that is necessary is to increase the storage infrastructure.”
      Here in Australia there have been numerous attempts to build new dams but they have always been prevented by the howls of environmentalists who claim that the dam will lead to the extinction of something like the yellow spotted mosquito.

  • Daniel Maris

    I have no objection to us developing our own energy resources but I do have an objection to treating us as some outlying member state of the USA.

    The differences between us and the USA are huge. The fact is that vast parts of the USA are what we would think of as empty, with population densities nearer those of the Scottish highlands. Places like Lancashire would be considered densely populated in the USA. In places like Pennsylvania where population densities are more like ours, as opposed to the badlands of Montana, there is huge opposition to fracking.

    Overall, our dense population and high land costs push up the price of energy across the board.

    Another key factor is that the crown owns the gas and licenses its exploitation. In the USA, the landowner owns the gas – they have a clear vested interest in its development.

    Another factor is that we don’t know whether this reduction in gas price in the USA will be a permanent feature because we don’t know if all the companies are making profits. If not, then there is likely to be a shake out and the price will eventually rise again, so we need to be a little careful on that.

    So – yes, we should proceed with fracking development but we have to go slower than the Americans.

    In the meantime nothing should stop the development of green energy in this country. We are not even close to Danish and Germans level of green energy. We need thousands more wind turbines and community involvement in the development of green energy.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Being treated as an outlying member state of the USA’

      Who is doing this? I thought all the smart money was on us getting out of the EU pronto. Not on us joining the USA.

      • Daniel Maris

        I meant in terms of physical and human geography.

        • Latimer Alder

          So who is doing so?

          • Daniel Maris

            Peter Lilley, referring to the American experience as though it is directly applicable here. If we had millions of square miles of virtually empty (by our standards) prairie land and desert, perhaps so. But we don’t. If we had comparable population densities, perhaps so. but we don’t. If we had comparable systems of resource ownership, then perhaps so. But, yet again, we don’t.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Wind farms take up far more of our precious land than shale development will. In fact, all the UK’s current wind farms produce roughly the same amount of power as the Wytch Farm field was producing at its height.

          • Refracktion

            LOL – have you not seen how much of the UK is up for grabs in the 14th licence round then?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Look at the North Sea. What is the total area of the platforms as a fraction of that?


          • Refracktion

            And the relevance of that is precisely what?

            Last time I looked the percentage of the UK population living in the North Sea was approximately 0.0000%

          • itdoesntaddup

            You seek to imply that a licensed area means that lots of space will be taken with operations. I provide some real data on the density of operation in a very mature province that shows it is tiny. Now, how about windfarms?


          • Refracktion

            lol – what is this fetish you have for windfarms?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Would you prefer calculations based on solar instead?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Do you prefer the answer in relation to solar instead?

          • Daniel Maris

            We’ve got plenty of roof space going spare for PV installation.

          • itdoesntaddup
    • charlesx

      Huh? Our dense population and high land costs are an argument AGAINST wind power (very low in energy per square metre).

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.martinsmith.3 Michael Martin-Smith

    THere have as yet been no recorded deaths or disasters from fracked gas. The cost however of present policies, leading to energy shortages, coupled with Green ambitions to render energy unaffordable save for the rich , is already costing tens of thousands of lives from hypothermia induced deaths. As “Global Warming” takes hold, we can expect more Ice Age conditions and hence in due time death tolls from hypothermia and energy poverty in the millions

    Welcome to the Brave Green World; in older times such slaughter was achieved with gases more poisonous than mere carbon dioxide, or the ecofriednly climate of Northern Siberian Labour Camps.

    We are NOT morally obliged to be slaughtered in a deep freeze to Save an Unennangered Planet

    • Brian Williams

      They really want to go back to the good old pre-industrial times when they used human sacrifice to ensure the return of the sun and the summer.
      I vote for Tim Yeo as king of the bean!

  • http://twitter.com/FraserSteen Fraser Steen

    “Whatever the power of Big Oil in the past, it has been eclipsed by ‘Big Green’. The green lobby is in control of the Department for Energy (to the Treasury’s dismay), its objectives are enshrined in law, it dominates the EU, and it is institutionalised in Whitehall via the Climate Change Committee.”

    Let us not forget that the chair of the climate change committee has a chairman who is vehemently pro big oil. So much so a significant proportion of their wealth is tied up in a petroleum company. Step forward Peter Lilley author of the article.

    The idea that big green is bigger than big oil is ludicrous in the extreme. 2 of the top 3 and 9 of the top 15 largest companies by revenue are oil and gas companies.

    • Lungs

      I think he is referring to political influence, not revenue.

    • itdoesntaddup

      The Chairman of the Climate Change Committee is Lord Deben, an arch Green, with no interest whatever in oil.


      The Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee is Tim Yeo, who has vested interests in greenergy companies.

      Peter Lilley is merely a member of that Select Committee, and the company he chairs only operates in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It has nothing to do with UK energy supply at all.

      • Daniel Maris

        I love that! – his oil interest is only in the Stans and isn’t therefore relevant! LOL

        • Brian Williams

          Isn’t it funny how we can only ever point the finger at oil interests but not socialist inspired and enforced taxpayer subsidis? Like all Lefties you are an arch hypocrite.

          • Daniel Maris

            You’re free to do point that finger. It’s just a rather silly way of addressing whether our country benefits from wind turbines in the way the USA, Germany, Denmark, China and India do…all different types of country.

            The Lilley argument could equally be applied to wind energy.

          • itdoesntaddup

            The only country that really benefits from windmills is probably China – because they sell the key supplies of Nd, in which they have an almost total monopoly. Anyone else would do better investing in more cost effective power sources.

    • Brian Williams

      erp! FAIL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ecogreenie.congame EcoGreenie ConGame

    “I’m that rare person, a left wing progressive”

    You have my deepest sympathy. But be brave, modern medicine is making great strides and soon may discover a cure.

    • Brian Williams

      If only left wing progressives were rare!

  • Albert Stienstra
    • Daniel Maris

      Last year the Germans increased by 19% in just ONE year the proportion of electricity generating capacity sourced from wind power. The total stands at something like 30 GW, which puts your link into context.

      • itdoesntaddup

        So the total wind output is about the same as the increase in coal in one year by the time you allow that German wind operates at about 20% capacity.

        • Daniel Maris

          Seems unlikely the Germans’ power load is as low as 20%. Ours is about 27% and they probably have a much higher proportion of state of the art modern turbines.

          Do you have a citation for your claim?

          • itdoesntaddup

            On the data I can find, 20% actually looks generous. Wind is reported as producing 7.3% of their electricity last year, which would make the true figure around 17%.

          • Daniel Maris

            Why don’t you give us your source?

          • Albert Stienstra

            The capacity factor of windmills is not caused by the technology or age of them, but by wind statistics. Average capacity factor in Germany is 17% (mostly inland), in Holland 25%, in the UK 25%, in Ireland 30% (closer to the Atlantic). The capacity factor will not change, whatever technology is applied. You do not appear to know much about this. All these numbers can be derived from the IEA wind reports.

      • Albert Stienstra

        30GW in Germany averaged over the year is 5.1 GW, which puts my link into context. Also, there are long periods (> 1 week) when wind output in Germany is less than 200MW.

        • SkyHunter

          Care to show us the math on that?

          How does 30GW become 5.1GW over the course of a year?
          Do 85% of the windmills break after 1 year?

          • Daniel Maris

            He’s talking about the power load as opposed to the maxiumum operational capacity. It will certainly be a good less than 30 GW average…but I would think nearer 7 GW than 5.1. He hasn’t provided a source. All energy sources, coal and nuclear as well, operate below their capacity.

          • SkyHunter

            30GW is the power rating. The capacity factor for wind in Germany over 2012 was 17.5%. Which is more than 46,000GWh per year.

          • Latimer Alder

            Yep. We understand that.

            We also understand that it was intermittent and variable.

            What is your point?

          • itdoesntaddup

            There are lots of sources. Try the EU:


            Or here:


            Remember to divide TWh p.a. by 24 hours and 365 days to get average GW output.

            Being too lazy to look for the data yourself is no excuse.

          • Albert Stienstra

            Perhaps you don’t realize, but the wind is not always blowing with the same strength. Moreover, the power output of windmills is a third grade function of the wind speed. Thus, when the full power of a windmill is obtained at 10m/s (force 5) as, say, 2 MW; at 5m/s the output is only 250 kW. Wind statistics being what they are, the power of a German windmill averaged over the year is 17% of the full rated power. Hence the total windfarm fleet of 30GW full rated power contributes the same over the year as a continuous 5.1 GW power station. It is the same as saying that for 17% of the time the windfarms produce full power, the rest of the time they contribute nothing. I hope that clarifies it for you.

          • SkyHunter

            I finally figured out what you were calculating.
            Germany’s wind farms had a CF of 17.5%, so for 30GW, that is 5.25GW baseload.

          • Albert Stienstra

            Baseload is a wrong term for windfarms contribution. Baseload is the minimum demand on the electricity grid, nothing to do with windmills. Minimum windmill contribution to the grid is ZERO ( when the wind does not blow, happens quite often). Capacity factor describes average contribution, certainly not minimum contribution.

          • SkyHunter

            Wind farms in Germany provided a constant 5GW to the grid. What I call it doesn’t alter that fact.

          • Albert Stienstra

            Windfarms did NOT provide a constant 5GW. They are an intermittent source. At the end of February 2013 during a whole week they produced less than 200MW, all of them together. The 5GW is an average. The instantaneous output varies between 0 and 30 GW, which plays havoc with the other electricity plants on the grid.

          • Latimer Alder

            Constant 5GW?


            Even when the wind wasn’t blowing?

            Like last winter in UK when our supposed 8GW wind ‘capacity’ struggled to get to 150MW?

            Or is this a new special form of ‘constancy’ previously unknown to us?

      • Brian Williams

        The zealot light of fervour is in his eyes… bow down to the new religion!

        • Daniel Maris

          The Germans aren’t a noticeably religious people. More like the cold light of science if anything.

  • Jeremy

    Not to be a spoiler, but lets bring the argument back up a notch shall we.
    There are risks to the production method. These risks can be managed.
    The water is dirty when reflowed, it is not fit for drinking, but it can be processed into clean water.
    Britain is dead on its knees in terms of energy. The North Sea is disappearing at a rapid rate, the country is heavily in debt, and their is a bleak outlook for jobs.
    The ridiculous situation is that Britains government wont push this matter ahead for even a small trial period to really close down a lot of this nefarious and ridiculous debating going on about an issue that might be a storm in a tea cup.
    There is a risk to flying an aircraft. Asking some of these unqualified protest groups their “opinion” is akin to asking a passenger to fly the plane or fix it. Why not ask a qualified pilot or engineer. Same for this industry.

  • Yertizz

    Before retirement over 5 years ago I spent nearly 50 years in the gas industry. I saw the emergence of natural gas and the impact it had, not only on what was a dying industry but upon the fortunes of the country at large. At the time of its
    discovery estimates told that there were some 20 years’ reserves. Here we are 50 years on and we still have not exhausted those reserves.

    Back in the 60’s the environmentalists of the day were issuing dire warnings of the consequences of drilling for natural gas. Some were even convinced that
    removal of the gas from its pockets beneath the sea bed would lead to it
    collapsing and draining the North Sea! Today’s warnings of the dangers of fracking
    leading to earthquakes and contamination of the aquifers must be regarded as
    the same fatuous nonsense.

  • Yertizz

    Before retirement over 5 years ago I spent nearly 50 years in the gas industry. I saw the emergence of natural gas and the impact it had, not only on what was a dying industry but upon the fortunes of the country at large. At the time of its discovery estimates told that there were some 20 years’ reserves. Here we are 50 years on and we still have not exhausted those reserves.
    Back in the 60’s the environmentalists of the day were issuing dire warnings of the consequences of drilling for natural gas. Some were even convinced that
    removal of the gas from its pockets beneath the sea bed would lead to it
    collapsing and draining the North Sea! Today’s warnings of the dangers of fracking
    leading to earthquakes and contamination of the aquifers must be regarded as
    the same fatuous nonsense.

    • Daniel Maris

      Stop dissing the environmentalists. They were right about lots of things and society is a lot better for listening them – in working for clean air, clean water, removing lead from petrol, working to preserve biodiversity.

      • Latimer Alder

        Surely you can come up with something a bit better than these early-teenage slogans?

        • Daniel Maris

          Well, just tell us if you want to return to the polluted air and water and the lead in petrol we had in the 1960s…That’s no sloganising, that’s real, solid achievement we are talking about.

          Perhaps you are the teenager who doesn’t remember the foul air of our great cities back then.

          • dodgy

            Actually, that wasn’t environmentalists. That was Parliament, and the general public.

            The environmentalists – if any had existed at that time, would have been busy trying to prevent central heating…

          • Daniel Maris

            That remark is so pathetic it makes one want to shed a tear for the terribly emaciated state of your argument.

          • dodgy

            Aha, the sophistication of your banter! Has your mother sold her mangle?

          • Daniel Maris

            Your remark was neither funny nor clever…it deserved a good slap.

          • dodgy

            … which you are obviously not able to provide.

            Have you noticed how environmentalists lose arguments very rapidly, and then resort to threats of violence? I wonder why this is…?

          • Latimer Alder

            The thing that cleaned up our cities more than anything else was the Clean Air Act 1956…well before modern ‘environmentalism’ had been invented.

            And since it and I are exact contemporaries I can only barely remember one of the last London smogs…maybe in about 1962?

          • Brian Williams

            I was born if 1952, and the great smog shortly afterwards (and my parents’s smoking) was probably why I am an asthmatic and we moved down to Hove when I was 7. There are a lot of pompous fools trying to build up environmentalism, but I think it causes more trouble than it is worth – see above.

          • Daniel Maris

            Well you might have been dead at age 8 if your parents hadn’t sensibly moved you out of a big city.

            There are still lots of environmental threats to children’s health not least plastics, food additives and dioxins arising from various processes.

          • Daniel Maris

            That’s like saying there were no conservationists before the term was coined.

          • Brian Williams

            Yes, those were good accomplishments, though I don’t suppose they would have carried on indefinitely without environmentalists anyway.

            Take off the rose tinted specs and remember that the amateur who penned the alarmist “Silent Spring” was the main cause of the removal of DDT before it had done its work clearing Malaria from Africa and she is thus responsible for high numbes of premature deaths. Alarmism – unintended consequences – premature deaths. This fits a pattern:

            Climate alarmism – vast green subsidies – higher fuel bills – old people dying.

            Ozone hole alarmism – removal of all CFCs where possible – replacement of CFC fire suppression systems with less efficient, suffocating, CO2 – greater chance of deaths AND replacement of efficient CFC delivery of asthma drugs with inefficient HFA – more people suffering, perhaps dying early from asthma.

            They aren’t bloody angels you know.

          • SkyHunter

            DDT was not banned for use as vector control for malaria.
            It was banned from agricultural use because of it’s long lived environmental presence, it’s detrimental effect on wildlife, and mosquitoes were developing a resistance to it, which would have rendered it useless as a malaria vector control.
            You should read history, not the rantings of the PR firms who work for the chemical industry.

      • Yertizz

        I have no problems with Environmentalists per-se.
        I do have an issue with the rabid CAGW alarmism much beloved by WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth et al which, for the most part, is based upon the flawed science and proven discredited data promulgated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

      • Brian Williams

        He’s not dismissing environmentalists in toto , just the prominent Marxist ones. You do know that they infiltrate everywhere don’t you?

        I’m old enough to remember the “reds under the bed” joke when the US had the House Committee for UnAmerican Activities. Of course the real joke is that the Marxists were able to persuade the rest of us that McCarthy was a mad witchfinder, when in fact he was absolutely right. They have got into all areas of competence and influence. All lobbying NGOs are riddled with them, and all the organs of State. That’s one of the reasons why we are now living in a bizarre marriage of Huxley and Orwell.

        Because of Marxist influence, you have to be sceptical in the extreme of ANY alarmism coming from NGOs, academics and researcher. If there is an angle that can be spun from a Socialist viewpoint then the researchers will likely have been corrupted.

        Oh, and before you try to dismiss me as a barking conspiracy theorist, there is plenty of information available from reputable sources that the Speccie reader can find to validate what I say.
        Thank God for UKIP!

  • http://twitter.com/MarkMillar6 Mark Millar

    Thousands of ordinary residents are protesting against fracking in Lancashire. The mainstream media continues to ignore the situation in Lancashire. Its just amazing how many people who don’t even live in Lancashire continue to misreport what has actually happened here. The seismic survey alone was terrible – my house was rocked about ten times by the explosives used – no apologies from the bastards. The idea that fracking is a few pipes in a field is a joke. The drill at the Annas Road site is so large that it had to have a light on the top to stop aircraft from crashing into it next to the airport at Blackpool. if anyone thinks that gas drilling is a safe activity just tell that to the people of Groningen in the Netherlands where 2,500 houses were damaged recently. And no it wasn’t fracking in that particular case but no doubt some pedantic so and so will say its not relevant. I am afraid it is relevant because it is symptomatic of the lies propagated by these vultures.

    • itdoesntaddup

      They have a light on Blackpool Tower too. I’ve seen it. And heard the jets made at Wharton – but that provided local jobs.

    • Latimer Alder

      They put a Light on the top of Something Next To An Airport!?

      Cunning swines! Is there no end to these fiends ingenuity?

      And your house was ‘rocked’ ten times? What hardship!

      My house is about 30 feet away from one of the UK’s major rail lines. I think about 600 trains pass each day..all sufficient to make noticeable vibration. So far (abt 30 years) it has withstood these deprivations. And even the dog doesn’t notice them.

      I keep on waiting to hear the really juicy stuff about how bad fracking is in practice…and there never really is much there……

    • Brian Williams

      Would a 300 foot wind turbine not need a light on it then? Are wind farms prettier then?

      • Daniel Maris

        Well there’s no doubt they are prettier.

  • Fishcat

    We need energy from somewhere. No one has the balls to build a nuclear power station, no one wants a windmill in their back yard, and no one wants to go back to coal, which means we end up burning oil and gas that we really need for cars and cooking to make sure our kettles boil and our lights stay on.

    I just hope most of this gas will be used domestically, where it’s really needed, and not used as a cop-out from a long-term goal of producing a decent wallop of electricity with renewable resources.

  • vernony

    The anti shale gas mob are usually high on rhetoric and pretty low on facts. Because something happened in American does not automatically transpose to it will happen in the UK. Moreover, there has been no proof that fracking caused water taps to burst into fire, there could be other reasons. Moreover, water companies test their water pretty frequently and if it first goes into a reservoir if there were gas in it, it would evaporate . Minor tremors ? They happen all the time in the UK.

    Unfortunately the Greens are just about against anything, if they didn’t think of it first !
    The alternative to the UK having its own energy sources is that we will be dependent upon imported energy, which means upon the goodwill of other countries

  • vernony

    p.s to my note. It will also help with the UKs balance of payments problem

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Smith/100003485567217 John Smith

    Its OK, the new green leader is the Shale gas lobbies secret weapon ..

  • andagain

    The Department for Energy and Climate Change is in disarray. With luck
    this will prompt ministers to question the direction in which they have
    been heading.

    DECC is a Liberal Democrat fief. When it all goes wrong they can blame it on the Tories. So why should they worry about things going wrong?

    • Refracktion

      What you and the Conservative part of the coalition don’t seem to have sussed that the current government is going to take the blame for all this whilst the incoming Labour government in 2015 will start to reap whatever tax revenues are generated and will be able to do the usual “it was all the fault of the previous administration thing” so beloved of all politicians when people complain about the impact.

      Offering such a gift to an incoming administration looks quite perverse to me.

      • itdoesntaddup

        What you don’t seem to have sussed is that Ed Miliband is personally responsible for introducing our disastrous energy policies, and Huhne and Davey for pursuing them. An end to the gentlemen’s agreement where this is not mentioned in polite society would be quite devastating for them. I don’t think Caroline Flint can really get away with a complete opposition to Ed Miliband, do you?

        • Daniel Maris

          Ed Miliband and Angela Merkel…spot the difference…

    • Brian Williams

      I’m looking forward to the European Elections next year. If UKIP wipe the board, I think the real clowns, the ones in Westminster will start, finally, to focus on their jobs, and not their perks. Hopefully, it will be too late for them.

      • Daniel Maris

        If UKIP sweep the board it will have nothing to do with wind power and everything to do with mass immigration and the undemocratic nature of the EU.

  • http://twitter.com/mygoodbabushka Julie Schuler

    I live in the Marcellus Shale area in Pennsylvania. I can say that it hasn’t affected our employment because the industry brings it’s own people, usually from Texas. Some people that have sold their land to drillers made some money, but there has been no effect on unemployment numbers. Also, my gas rates went up this year. They were injecting the waste water across the border in Ohio, but they had to stop because there were earthquakes. There has also been lots of illegal dumping of waste water by unscrupulous contractors. I hope you handle your drilling with better oversight than we’ve enjoyed here in the states.

    • Brian Williams

      Probably due to corruption in the Pennsylvania government. That’s the problem with a two-party system and stupid people always choosing one of them.

      • http://twitter.com/mygoodbabushka Julie Schuler

        We do have a terrible Governor. Very low approval for the job he’s been doing.

        • SkyHunter

          Seems all Republicans have low poll numbers. If it were not for gerrymandering and voter suppression, they would only get elected in the South!

  • Jim_Watford

    These green lunatics need to be outed for the Marxists they are, I can’t for the life of me understand how they’ve managed to get such a stranglehold on the nation, it’s not unlike the stranglehold the unions had in the 1970s.

    • Refracktion

      Ah yes .. UKIP

      • Brian Williams

        A very gnomic remark. Who is it supposed to impress?

        • Daniel Maris

          Maybe he means – “you kip” as in sleep…while energetic Germans, dynamic Danes, chipper Chinese and active Americans get on with building in huge amount of wind power.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkMillar6 Mark Millar

    The height and visual intrusion on the landscape of drilling and fracking rigs is every bit as bad as wind turbines. Anything between 80 and 200 drilling sites are projected for Lancashire alone with approximately ten separate wells per drilling pad.

    • itdoesntaddup

      On whose projections? And given that BGS admit that the estimate of 200Tcf in Cuadrilla’s acerage is reasonable, and UK gas consumption is 3.3-3.5Tcf/year, how does that compare with 30,000 windmills and rising to produce much less energy?

      • Daniel Maris

        Could you formulate that as a meaningful question… all sorts of issues there. What you call windmills – wind turbines – are very reliable once built. If you need more energy build more of them. Install more PV panels. Build for energy from waste facilities. Build more hydro. More tidal. More sea current. More geothermal. And more wave power. Improve installation.

        • itdoesntaddup

          This study shows windmills aren’t as good as you think they are:


          12-15 year life, not 25. Falling average capacity utilisation as they get older. Oh dear, wind dear.


          • Daniel Maris

            Just another argument to have them onshore where they do very nicely thanks.

    • andagain

      The height and visual intrusion on the landscape of drilling and fracking rigs is every bit as bad as wind turbines.

      While they are there. Remeber that when they have finished drilling the well, they tend to take the drilling rig away.

      On the other hand, when they have errected a wind turbine, they do not take the wind turbine away.

    • Brian Williams

      That’s the stupidest argument I’ve heard so far. 200 rigs or tens of thousands of ineffective generators but very effective bird killers?

      • Daniel Maris

        So you’ve been campaigning against the use of reflective glass in buildings – a far great threat to the bird population? have you?

        • itdoesntaddup

          I assume you have statistics to support that assertion. Or perhaps not.

          • Daniel Maris

            According to awionline:

            “From 100 million to 1 billion birds are annually estimated to
            be killed striking clear and reflective windows in the U.S. The yearly death toll is in the billions worldwide.”

            Birds are better able to realise the dangers of wind turbines because of the air turbulence.

          • itdoesntaddup

            No link to your source, who seems to think a factor of 10 margin of error in the “estimate” allows extrapolation to a global “statistic”.

            Have you worked out the tip speeds of these things? 150mph+ is hard for even a swift to get out of the way of.

          • Daniel Maris

            Most birds don’t get anywhere nears the blade tips. Air turbulence keeps them away. There is an issue more with bats and no one would recommend siting a turbine on a major bat through route or feeding route.

          • Daniel Maris

            It’s been proven in a court of law:

            “According to Judge Melvyn Green in Liat Podolsky (“EcoJustice”) v. Cadillac Fairview Corp. et al, CADILLAC FAIRVIEW CORP. LTD., YCC LTD. and CF/REALTY
            HOLDINGS INC. did all breach the Environmental Protection Act) and the federal Species at Risk Act in 2010 by reflecting light from their mirrored buildings in a Toronto ravine, which lured huge numbers of birds to their deaths.”

            Of course, while an enlightened nation like the USA takes this seriously, no doubt China couldn’t care less.

            And neither do you care it seems. Avian fatality is only of importance if can be used to defeat wind energy – but it can’t.

          • Latimer Alder

            Go and try to trace these numbers to their source….Daniel Klem Jr.

          • Daniel Maris

            Not true at all. The Toronto example had no reference to D Klem.

          • Latimer Alder

            The Toronto example talked of 2 birds being killed per day. (7000 over 10 years)

            Klem is the source of the ‘100 million to 1 billion annually in the US’ number.

            You’d need over 100,000 Torontos to get to the lower of Klem’s numbers. Last time I looked, there were not 100,000 cities the size of Toronto in North America.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Let’s look at some real data. Vestas 3MW turbines have 55 metre blades. That means they are 110 metres tall, plus the height above ground of the lowest point of the blade’s motion. Because wind is stronger higher up, the supporting towers are quite tall. 140 metres tower height (plus 55 metres for the blade when pointing up) would by quite typical – almost 200 metres, or higher than the Post Office Tower (620ft). There are still larger turbines

      Drilling pipe comes in 30 ft lengths. The largest rigs handle 4 lengths at a time, so they’re a little over 120ft tall – less that a quarter the height of a windmill.

  • Environmental NGO supporter

    Mr Lilley states that “There is a legitimate argument that the world should phase out fossil fuels to minimise global warming. The power of that argument has weakened recently. Global temperatures have failed to rise for 16 years. Recent measures of how much global temperature rises as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases are far lower than is built into climate models.”

    The Carbon Brief has done some investigations into why there has been a slowdown in the rate of temperature rising. This is what they found: “ Most of the
    scientists we spoke told us the main reason for a slowdown in surface warming
    is that natural variability is currently obscuring the full extent of
    greenhouse gas warming.” The full article is here: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/05/whats-causing-the-surface-warming-slowdown-scientists-tell-us-what-they-think

    2012 summer Arctic sea ice shrank to a previously unrecorded
    minimum. Mr Lilley, and other sceptics, what do you think caused
    that? (Polar regions seem to be particularly sensitive to small
    changes in temperature.) What do you think will happen when it completely disappears?

    Please Mr Lilley could you put a bit of effort into energy efficiency measures so that we don’t need to use so much fossil fuel energy. Meanwhile, I am delighted to read that the EU funds some of the environmental NGOs so that they have a bit of heft to counter the fossil fuel secondees in DECC.

    • itdoesntaddup

      If you had a consistent view, you would support the rapid development of shale gas globally. Nothing else short of nuclear war stands any chance of reducing the massive growth in coal use in China and India that drive global emissions increases.

      • Daniel Maris

        A fair point, I would certainly agree we should support replacing coal with gas.

    • Brian Williams

      Whatever happens to the climate some tame scientist will backfill a story to explain why we are still in danger. It was warm, so it was AGW. It stopped getting warm as quickly, so it was Anthropogenic Climate Change. We had brass monkey weather so you called it Anthropogenic Climate Disruption. Now you are saying that natural variability is to blame. ITS CALLED WEATHER, YOU IDIOT. You are flogging a dead horse. The elections last week should have indicated that the electorate are getting wise to you and your friends lining your pockets at the expense of the poor taxpayer. Sooner or later, UKIP will put paid to your nonsense.

      • Daniel Maris

        If you warm up an ice cube in a glass of water so it melts, the water gets cooler. Think about it. Using mad capital letters doesn’t make you RIGHT.

        No one really understands for sure what is happening with the climate but on one thing we can be certain: the UKIP central policy committee (If such a thing exists outside Farage’s head) most definitely hasn’t got a clue.

        The precautionary principle should apply.

        • itdoesntaddup

          You’re right: the UEA and IPCC haven’t a clue what’s really happening with the climate either. Perhaps if they opened their minds to the idea that more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn we might get somewhere. Instead they try to promote the inadequate research of the past as if in a time warp. It takes me back to the Lysenkoism of the Stalinist era.

        • Latimer Alder

          What on earth are you trying to show with your ice cube analogy?

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Most of the scientists we spoke told us the main reason for a slowdown in surface warming is that natural variability is currently obscuring the full extent of greenhouse gas warming.’


      ‘F**k knows what’s happening, but keep sending the grant cheques’

  • olegvuk

    It’s called the Bowland Shale, Peter, not the Bowman! If you don’t even know the correct name of the thing you are talking about, what is the point in listening to what you have to say?

    • Brian Williams

      If that’s the best argument you’ve got, we can rest easy.

  • Brian Williams

    The longer they delay, the higher price they will pay at the next elections. When the electorate hear how our 3 main parties are delaying our economic recovery so that their friends and family in the “Green” industry are getting rich off the taxpayer, they will move to UKIP in droves. Especially when they understand how the EU is pushing this nonsense too.

  • Brian Williams

    Peter Lilly should join UKIP – he’d be very welcome.

    • Daniel Maris

      He’ll have some doubts if he’s read your rants.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jules.bywaterlees Jules Bywater-lees

    I wonder how well Mr Lilley’s shares in oil and gas are doing- still worth $400k? At least we all know that you do have an interest as a board member of an oil company and in the pay of Big Oil. I suppose it balances out Mr Yeo’s interest in Big Green-

    democracy in action?

    • Brian Williams

      That old canard again. It doesn’t matter who finances you as long as you speak the truth. All climate scientists are financed by HMG, and they are the result of 50 years of cultural Marxist brainwashing. You probably have been too.

      1) Can you give examples of people in public life who are 1) from the Left 2) from the Right 3) from the Far Left 4) from the Far Right.

      2) Were Nazis Fascists or Socialists? (Clue: its in the name)

      3) Were Nazis environmentalists?

      4) who invented the word “ecology”?

      Yes, I know it might fail Godwin’s Law, but it’s a stupid law if it excludes Nazis when they are relevant.

      • Daniel Maris

        Here’s a tissue for the flecks of spittle on your lips…

  • Brian Williams

    I was going to reply to Jim Watford, but I’d rather put this at the top level.

    He said:”These green lunatics need to be outed for the Marxists they are, I can’t for the life of me understand how they’ve managed to get such a stranglehold on the nation, it’s not unlike the stranglehold the unions had in the 1970s.” My reply follows:

    It’s the long term goal of cultural Marxism, and it nearly succeeded. Most of the political class are a bunch of kids who never had a real job and thus have only heard the rambilngs of a buch of Marxist educators.

    Most of the young, internet savvy people and their parents have been brainwashed their entire lives by Marxist indoctrinated schoolteachers. The left have hijacked the centre ground in much the way that homosexuals hijacked the word “gay”, which meant something very different when I was a kid.

    Most of the UK population under the age of 45 will have been indoctinated with the idea that Centre-Left is good, there is no such thing as Right, and Far-Right is very nasty indeed; there is no such thing as Far-Left either.

    They have also hijacked environmentalism, which was a favourite of those other socialists in Germany during the 1930s; that’s why we call them Watermelons, because they are green on the outside, but red on the inside.

    The objective of Marxism is to deconstruct bourgeois society, and of course deindustrialisation will help enormously in this respect, as long as “those who are more equal than others” have salted their investments away offshore so they will be in a good position to take power when anarchy starts.

    Make no mistake about it. Just as Margaret Thatcher talked about the unions as “the enemy within”, we have a much greater enemy now, and it has infiltrated all of the major institutions of the State, just as Gramsci and the Frankfurt School advised.

    There are no, or very very few, people in these areas who are or will admit to being right wing:

    Teachers; Academics;MPs (as opposed to MEPs); European Commisioners; Judges / Barristers; Newspaper journalists; Scientists; Corporations; Quangos; in short, anyone of any significant influence.

    This is why we must, must, must vote UKIP and ONLY UKIP. No other party stands a chance of reversing our gradual sleepwaking into a totalitarian soviet-style federal superstate called the EU, which will dominate every aspect of our lives.

    • Daniel Maris

      Since environmentalism got a grip in Europe – let’s say the early 1970s, we’ve seen HUGE economic growth. I have never heard such utter nonsense.

      UKIP will get a few votes in the madhouse for that rant. Otherwise you’ve probably just lost a good proportion, by showing that UKIP supporters are indeed foaming at the mouth devoid of rationality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430714961 Matt McRae

    I live in the US and your statements about “increased huge tax revenues, rebalanced the economy, created tens of thousands of jobs, brought industry and manufacturing back to the country’s heartlands, and given rise to a real prospect of American energy self-sufficiency by 2030” are absurd at best. If you believe the concerns about water pollution associated with fracking are exaggerated, I invite you to come taste some of the tapwater in those areas affected. If you believe Britain has a better system to regulate fracking, best of luck to you. If you believe we need to exploit every last drop of fossil fuels unitl they are gone, gone, gone, then there is no point in further discussion. It is troubling to say the least, to think that the UK would follow our folly down this fracking hole.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree essentially. That’s why we should take a slow, precautionary approach to this new(ish) technology.

  • Daniel Maris

    It’s the usual story on this subject – the anti-green lobby love to splurge out their emotive nonsense about so-called “windmills”…about bird deaths from turbines…about power grid failures in countries making use of green energy…

    As soon as this nonsense is engaged with, as soon as rational argument is put up, the nonsense ceases. For instance, as soon as I point out the hundreds of millions, possibly billions of bird deaths worldwide from reflective glass in buildings and buildings generally, the concern for the avian population evaporates and silence ensues.

    I can only think that somehow, in some people’s minds, perfectly rational concern over things like mass immigration, population growth in the UK, and our absorption into the EU superstate – all perfectly reasonable things to be anxious about – have become confused with the sudden appearance of unfamiliar white blades on the distant hilltop.

    • Daniel Maris

      I might add that in the USA all the right wing Republican candidates were firm supporters of green energy, seeing it as essential to development energy independence and security.

    • Latimer Alder

      Ahh…the ‘two wrongs make a right argument’

      Even if it is true that millions or billions or trillions of birds are killed by window glass (which I find hard to believe…the pigeons round Canary Wharf seem to be doing OK – and where are the bodies?) that doesn’t mean that killing some more with windmills is a good idea.

      PS – I chased down this billions of birds theory – ad it comes exclusively from Daniel Klem Jr, who apparently counted some bird deaths in the US in 197 and has been endlessly regurgitating the numbers in different guises since. the clue is his perpetual use of ‘based on published numbers’ in every paper…

      I don’t think that many others have reproduced/replicated his work

      • Daniel Maris

        It’s amazing how people who are only too prepared to believe that wind turbines are bird-murderers, become so highly sceptical when it comes to the confusing effects of high rise buildings in crowded urban areas, especially those with reflective glass. Also, don’t forget the daily massacre achieved by cars…which also seems to leave all you wind-worrying bird fanciers completely cold for some reason. I take it you aren’t going to deny the millions killed by road vehicles.

        • MichtyMe

          And the colossal cull by cats.

          • Daniel Maris


      • Daniel Maris

        If that was “chasing down” the theory, you didn’t do your homework. There are hundreds of references to the issue.

        Here’s one referring to Toronto where the huge towers are on a migratory route for birds:

        “Mesure has worked on the issue for 20 years, but recalls two “days of hell”
        at the Consilium towers when it seemed to be “raining birds.” On May 12, 2001,
        he said, FLAP volunteers recovered 500 injured or dead birds in six hours. On a
        Thanksgiving weekend in 2005, the group picked up 400 birds over two days.”

        400 in two days in one small part of the world!

        • Latimer Alder


          I read the rest of the article. It said

          ‘Over the past decade, more than 7,000 birds of 82 species have met painful deaths after flying into what bird safety advocate Michael Mesure calls “the most reflective glass windows of any building in the city’

          Sorry Daniel, but 7000 birds in a decade (ave 2 per day) is not the same as a billion a year.

          Unless you have other sources, the ‘hundred million to a billion a year’ estimate comes just from this guy Klem.

  • Daniel Maris

    …and this is the way to get the public onside – adopting the German approach:


    Then everyone’s happy.

    • itdoesntaddup

      And you an do the same for shale wells too.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes, that’s right. I think if you want to get fracking going, assuming you can address any environmental concerns, they the way forward is to reward the whole of the local community around where the drilling takes place – say within a 5 miles’ radius.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Waltonius James Walton

    Would Mr Lilley like to tell us when the tide isn’t flowing, as he claims in his article. Sure, the wind stops blowing, and the sun doesn’t shine for days, but the tide?…elementary, dear Lilley, and doesn’t help your credibility. Renewables are simply a tax-driven guaranteed investment return right now, with blue chips underwriting the risk. Love it…

    • Daniel Maris

      No, I think you’re wrong on that. Tidal power stations do not operate 24/7. But they are of course pretty predictable, which is useful.

      You’re also wrong about solar power. During the day, the sun might not be visible, but it’s certainly shining….you’re never going to go much below 20% of max. available (seasonably and diurnally adjusted). It just doesn’t get that dark during the day. And 20% would be v. unusual I believe.

      There are other renewables you can balance out with e.g. energy from waste, sea current, hydro, and bio mass/bio fuels.

      • Albert Stienstra

        Sorry, that is quite wrong. At our latitude the average contribution over a year of a well sited solar setup is 10% of full rated power. Belief does not play a role here.

        • Daniel Maris

          You’re addressing the wrong question. JW was writing as if when the sun doesn’t shine PV panels dont work, in the same way that if there is no wind, wind turbines don’t work. I am saying that the even on the dullest day you’d be getting about 20% of the power load you’d get if the sun was shining.

          A power load of 10% at northern latitudes is probably right. The point of power capacity is to make the most of the days when the sun is shining (often on v. cold days when there is high pressure, incidentally).

          • Latimer Alder

            And when its dark you get nothing at all.

            And we get long cold winter nights when we need a lot of power. For, like, lights and stuff

          • Daniel Maris

            Depends. You can have infrared PV panels which will produce energy at night, but they are in their infancy. At nighttime you use your energy from waste, hydro, wind, tidal, water, bio fuels, bio mass and geothermal

            It’s all pretty irrelevant. It’s clear the storage issue is going to be cracked in the next ten years. Both MIT and Toyota have leapt forward with battery technology. In this country we have the very promising liquid nitrogen solution. And we can develop more pumped storage of course.

          • Latimer Alder

            ‘ It’s clear the storage issue is going to be cracked in the next ten years’


            Come back in ten years when it has been cracked and then maybe the energy world will be a very different place.

            But until then we have to work with what we have got, not what we might like to have.

            And I really don’t think betting your life savings on a dead cert in the 2:30 at Kempton is a good or responsible strategy.

          • Daniel Maris

            That’s how the Danes end up earning billions of dollars from wind turbine sales and we earn nothing…with that attitude of yours.

          • Latimer Alder

            Selling windmills is not the same as ‘cracking the storage problem’.

            I’m quite happy for you – or anybody else – to do research into the storage problem. If you can crack it I will applaud you for your ingenuity. And you’ll be welcome to all the riches and adulation the world will shower upon you. It will be a truly great achievement.

            But that doesn’t mean I’m going to count the chickens before they are home to roost. I would certainly not advise making long-term decisions today based on the likelihood of invention(s) in ten years time.

            There’s an old project management cartoon. The timeline shows it getting ever deeper into the mire.

            And ‘Then a Miracle Occurs’ rescues it.

            You are relying on the miracle. Bad strategy.

          • Latimer Alder

            ‘And we can develop more pumped storage of course’


            Where? You need favourable physical geography to do this. The only obvious places are the mountainous wild places.

            Good luck on getting agreement to do that – even if you can appropriate sites that aren’t already used for drinking water dams..

          • itdoesntaddup

            Some real world data. Germany produced 27.9TWh from its 32GW of solar capacity in 2012. That’s almost exactly 3.2GW on average – 10% of maximum capacity – and the solar capacity in Germany is mostly further South that the UK.

            German solar output has to be dumped to neighbouring countries in the middle of the day in summer, because you can’t turn off a solar panel.

            Solar production is highly seasonal because of – surprise – the seasons. Some some maths: sun intensity depends on the cosine of the angle of the height of the sun in the sky. The maximum angle varies by 46 degrees between midsummer and mid winter because of the tilt of the earth’s axis, and it varies from zero to the daily maximum and back again each day, and the length of each day varies seasonally too.

            Again, real data: in 2012 German monthly solar production was lowest in December at 0.44TWh, and highest in May at 4.1 TWh – showing that the weather can have an effect too, preventing June/July from being the peak months due to the lousy summer. Solar is no solution to the problem of winter highs leading to zero wind.


          • Daniel Maris

            See above – I am not addressing the question about capacity. I am addressing whether you can rely on PV panels. PV Panels are just about the most reliable energy source going. They rarely experience any mechanical or safety issues. They will always work during daylight. And – the point I was making – they are unlikely to dip below 20% of what you would expect (for time of day and time of year and latitude) if there is a cloudless sky and clear atmosphere.

          • itdoesntaddup

            0.44Twh/31 days/24 hours is just 591MW, or 1.8% of capacity.

            Please rely on it.

          • Daniel Maris

            I might add they are not subject to industrial action, most acts of war, and generally survive storms very well.

          • Latimer Alder

            Genuine question.

            What about snowfall? How much light penetrates under a foot of snow onto a panel?

          • Daniel Maris

            Very heavy snowfall that settles does affect them. However light snowfall is not an issue and snow on the ground can aid their efficiency, due to the reflected light. PV panels are warmer than the surrounding environment and of course they have a v. smooth surface – so snow does tend to slide off pretty quickly. Also in many places, removing the snow is not difficult.

          • Albert Stienstra

            I do not know what you mean with power load. I know maximum power at our latitudes which is 100kW for our 650 m2 solar panels, installed three years ago. Total yearly energy contribution to the grid is about 90 MWh, about 10% of what 100kW would provide if it were available all the time. 10% is the capacity factor, the average daily power supplied over the year, that is 240 kWh average daily electricity.
            There are lots of days with much less than 20% of the average 240 kWh daily energy contribution. In March this year there were 3 such days, in February there were six, in January there were 17, in December 2012 there were 21. In fact, during the winter the solar plant is a dead loss.
            I don’t know at what energy levels you will admit that solar does not work very well. I am happy with the subsidy we get, but I know that there is no way to get reliable electricity from current renewable technology. We also have two windmills of 500 kW nominal each. Also good for subsidy, but not for reliable electricity.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, and I am saying the capacity factor is pretty irrelevant to the point James Walton was making. He seemed to be assuming there were times during daylight when PV panels would stop working. That’s certainly how it read – because of the juxtaposition with wind turbines not turning. But it’s just not true that PV Panels ever stop working during daylight – except for a total eclipse. They will work on even the dullest days and, as I say, I think you are unlikely to go below 20% of what you would expect if the sun were shining in blue cloudless sky.

          • Albert Stienstra

            So you consider that on days with 4 % of rated capacity the solar plant is still working? To put it politely, I find that pretty conceited.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, of course it’s still working. Depending on how you arrange things that 4% of rated capacity might be producing something 10% of your electricity even on the cloudies day.

            People get confused about these things. It’s an important element in being able to achieve baseload during daylight hours. And of course, there tends to be a relation between cold and high solar production (because cold tends to be associated with high pressure – clear skies), so that is useful.

    • Albert Stienstra

      Check out the barrage de la Rance in France. It has a capacity factor of 25%, about the same as windmills.

      • Daniel Maris

        Do you mean windmills that grind grain? Or do you mean wind turbines?

        • Albert Stienstra

          All windmills have the same capacity factor, whether they pump water, “grind grain” as you put it, saw wood or generate electricity. I do know turbines; they are devices wherein gas (steam, natural gas or burnt kerosene) is conveyed under high pressure to transfer the kinetic energy in the gas into rotary energy.
          In windmills for electricity, what you call turbine is no more than the set of vanes. The nacelle contains a generator and high power electronics and has nothing to do with a turbine. The set of vanes is not much of a turbine, however, since there is no high pressure. Wind turbine is just a misnomer.

          • Daniel Maris

            Er, no. They don’t all have the same capacity. I think you are confusing capacity with insolation.

          • Albert Stienstra

            I really think you are becoming unstuck. Windmills and insolation? The sun has nothing to do with windmills and the mechanical work they provide.

            Capacity FACTOR for all windmills in a region is the same, because it is a wind statistics issue, in combination with their output being a third power function of wind speed. Any windmill that is designed to provide maximum power at force 5 provides average power around 25% of that maximum, depending on where the windmills are situated. In Germany it is about 17%, in Holland and England it is about 25%, in Ireland about 30%. These numbers can be easily derived from the IEA wind reports.

            This is really the last time I will react on any of your comments. If you were one of my students I would flunk you, it is a hopeless task to educate you.

          • Daniel Maris

            From Wikipedia:

            “Nameplate capacity, also known as the rated capacity, nominal
            capacity, installed capacity or maximum effect, refers to the
            intended technical full–load sustained output of a facility such as a power plant.”

            It varies from turbine to turbine, because (a) the max. wind speed that can be handled by a turbine varies and (b) because the efficiency of turbines varies.

            You are confusing average wind speed with capacity with efficiency. Each turbine has a different operational efficiency level (e.g. some do better than others at operating at low wind speed). Each have different capacities (a function of the range of wind speeds in which they can operate). And each will be located in places with particular wind characteristics.

            If you were a teacher ( I hope you’re not really!), I’d be suing you for ruining my education.

            [This discussion got a bit complicated. In this part we are discussing tidal and PV – you have muscled in on that with observations on wind, which has led me to fuse two separate arguments – re wind and PV.

            On wind: I have never denied that there are times – essentially unpredictable – when there is no wind and therefore no electricity generation from wind turbines.]

  • CJ

    Land For Biofuel – Wind Turbines – Solar Panels Not For Food Crops and Nature http://wp.me/p36QXu-bu
    Never-mind that the Greens are the ones who are doing the most harm to Mother Earth and to humanity with their cockamamy schemes for a fossil free world. A fossil free world that pollutes the earth with toxic waste from the manufacture of Bird Killing Wind Turbines and Land Destroying Solar Panels; Chops down virgen forests to grow palm trees for biofuel and Throws poor Africans off their land so rich neocolonialist Green corporations can profit. Anyone who dares to challenge the Greens are shouted down as “deniers” and “crazy“. The truth is the Green are the crazy ones. They are the ones who are destroying Mother Earth based on their false belief that CO2 emmisions from fossil fuel is causing Catastrophic Climate Change.

  • BoiledCabbage

    What are the real motivating factors that drive the Green lobby? Cant be emissions any longer, as many other counties are going for coal. So what is it?

  • Roy

    It seems we can build nuclear submarines but can’t design a tidal turbine to make use the enormous movement of water twice a day. The wind can stop blowing but the tide will never give up. Failing this, dig down and source the planet’s built-in furnace!

    • Daniel Maris

      Geothermal does carry the risk of earthquakes and subsidence, it has to be said. And messing around with tides can be quite devastating in ecological terms.

      All energy sources have their downside. That’s why I think wind and solar are actually such good sources of energy – their impact on the environment is really pretty minimal.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Try looking at the economics of these ideas.

  • John Moss

    Unfortunately, the Crown (hence the Government) owns what is beneath our feet. That is why we have not progressed like the US. Landowners cannot make money from this. If they could, then the drills would be whirring right now!

    • Daniel Maris

      Exactly. It’s one of the constraints that sensible people recognise. Why would you want to risk subsidence under your land, for no profit? Doesn’t make sense.

  • Kevin Anderson

    I’ve posted (on my website) the following responses to the personal accusations Peter Lilley made in his piece (See: http://kevinanderson.info/blog/peter-lilley-and-shale-gas-dont-let-the-truth-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-story/).

    Rather than using the opportunity to air some important issues for and against the development of shale gas in the UK, Peter Lilley chose instead to simply add another ill-informed rant to what is already a polarised and, on occasions, juvenile debate.

    Lilley’s arrogant bluster only serves to further confuse the issues. I especially take exception to his attributing views to me that I do not hold. The level of repeated dishonesty is sufficiently blatant as to raise serious questions about his motives for the piece or at least enquire whether he may have some personal financial interest
    in shale gas development?

    Lilley’s reference to me as the “Ayatollah of the green movement” could, in isolation, be just good-humoured banter. But instead he decides to attribute to me (through ‘my movement’) a range of views that I do not hold and indeed have publically stated are not, in my opinion, show stopping issues for shale gas.

    1. “there isn’t much there” In terms of estimates of how much shale gas may be available, I have only ever echoed estimates of geological experts (principally from the British Geological Survey).

    2. “and what may be there will be impossible to extract technically” I have repeatedly made the point that I do not envisage shale gas extraction to be technically any more challenging than the extraction of many other fossil fuels.

    3. It “will be impossible to extract … economically” I have repeatedly stated that I do not think the economics will be a major constraint on fossil fuel development – including of shale gas.

    4. It “will be impossible to extract … socially” I have only noted that as the UK is a much more densely populated nation than the US, shale gas extraction will likely raise additional social issues.

    5. “even if we find enough shale gas to meet UK needs it would not bring down the gas price here as it has in the US” Certainly the reduction of gas prices in the US is related to a range of factors, including co-production from tight oil wells. However, I again have erred much more on the cautious end of gas price estimates – there is so much uncertainty that we simply do not know what the price would be. The USA is not a particularly good model for the UK; not only are the ‘plays’ of different depths (as Lilley notes), but so is the ductility of the rock and social environment in which the extraction would take place. As Lilley argues, what is not contestable is the connection of the UK to European gas markets, and the role it would have in setting prices.

    6. “fracking will harm the water table” I have repeatedly noted that given the freedom and wherewithal to the develop the necessary legislation, monitoring and policing of shale gas extraction, I am confident that the UK’s Environment Agency would maintain impacts within ‘acceptable’ levels.

    7. “fracking will … trigger earthquakes” I typically refuse to comment on this issue, referring questioners to the British Geological Survey (BGS) assessments.

    8. “denigrate anyone who queries the ‘scientific consensus’ on climate change — [but] reject out of hand the evidence of our official scientific and geological bodies when it refutes their position.” Lilley is categorically wrong on both of these. I openly welcome substantiated queries on the importance or otherwise of climate change and I have never rejected evidence from BGS or other official bodies that Lilley refers to.

    9. “Ignoring facts, greens have preferred to pay heed to the propaganda film Gaslands, which shows tapwater bursting into flame.” Though I have seen the film I have never recommended it to others and have not paid any heed to it in my work.

    10. “They want no shale gas … ‘from a climate-change perspective, this stuff simply has to stay in the ground’.” Lilley (deliberately?) missed out the pivotal context to this statement. I repeat similar conclusions regularly, but only within the context of the UK’s international commitments on 2°C. The maths on this are clear. Shale gas, or any additional fossil fuel development, cannot fit within the emissions budgets accompanying the UK’s international commitments on 2°C. It may however, have a small and short-lived role within the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. The UK’s international commitments on climate change are inconsistent (and much more demanding) than are its domestic legal obligations under the 2008 Climate Change Act.

    Peter Lilley’s dogmatic distrust of anything ‘green’ does not however explain his assertion that “When the PM received a briefing on shale, Cuadrilla was excluded. The select committee instead had to listen to an array of bodies from the Committee on Climate Change to the WWF — none best known for their geological expertise.” Not only did I give evidence at the select committee hearing referred to by Lilley, but I did so after having sat and listened to the reasonable and informed evidence of Francis Egan, Chief Executive of Cuadrilla (a colleague from my days with Marathon Oil) and Graham Tiley a senior geologist from Shell. Given Peter Lilley was present on the committee that day, it is difficult to see how he could have missed the hour of
    evidence from both the shale gas industry and an experienced geologist. This is all the more incredulous as the evidence session was filmed and a subsequent report,
    including written submissions from Cuadrilla and Shell, published by Peter Lilley’s own committee.

    So in just one short essay and in relation solely to the comments he effectively attributes to me (as “Ayatollah of the green movement”) Peter Lilley manages eight lies and two half-truths. Moreover, he appears to have a muddled recollection of the parliamentary evidence sessions he attends and is unfamiliar with his own publications. On this basis alone it is concerning that someone so evidently dishonest or ill informed serves both on a select committee and has an appointment on the Conservative Party’s new policy board.

    I will be contacting Peter Lilley to seek an explanation for the absence of integrity in his analysis.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Handbags. This piece is only at most very tangentially aimed at you personally, and as with several other commenters in the thread above you misconstrue what has been written. You are mentioned in just one sentence. Some of your more glaring claims:

      1. (and 8.) Have you publicly acknowledged what BGS said in evidence to the Select Committee recently? Things like Cuadrilla’s 200 Tcf estimate of their resource is reasonable, and may be conservative. Or are you relying on work they did in 2008 that concluded the UK only has 5.3Tcf that has been constantly regurgitated by the DECC, most recently just last year? WIll you set on the record now a promise that you will publicly endorse and use their new estimate assuming that eventually DECC cease keeping it a state secret?

      2,3,4,6,7,8,9 – Are you claiming that elements of the Green Movement which you claim to head does not make these claims, even where you do not personally? I do not see that Lilley has accused you personally on each count.

      The PM is not the Select Committee: nor does he attend it. He had a separate briefing at which Cuadrilla was indeed excluded.

      10. There is doubtless room for debate as to which is more effectively binding between the Climate Change Act and the UK’s treaty commitments. However, if you truly are concerned for the GLOBAL future, perhaps you could set out how you plan to curb the growing emissions of China and India that really determine whether there is a global problem – for even if we killed every last person in the UK and abandoned it to nature, the effect on global emissions would be a rounding error in comparison.

      • Kevin Anderson

        I’m happy to go with whatever estimates BGS and other geological experts make of the resource – regardless of whether its 5.3 or 200Tcf – or even more. They have the abilities, skills and experience to make such estimates and I don’t. I think you’ll find that we have fairly and objectively reported industry, BGS and DECC estimates in our 2011 report. We have no reason to hide, underplay or exaggerate estimates – and we will continue to use others’ expertise in any future work.

        I do not claim to lead the green movement – indeed I repeatedly make the point that my expertise is in climate change and not broader sustainability or environmental issues. It is Lilley that asserts I am the leader of the movement, and it is he who then attributes a range of strident positions to that movement – presumably ones he considers the leader broadly holds to!

        Lilley’s writing around the PM and Select Committee is a little muddled. Nevertheless the point he is trying to make is absolutely clear – that the industry and geological expertise were excluded from the decision making process. This is categorically incorrect.

        I regularly hear your almost colonial framing of the problem as the responsibility of foreigners, and see it as one of the reasons the global community is struggling to know how to even begin a process of meaningful mitigation. We must all stop solely blaming others – and take responsibility for our own emissions whilst simultaneously engaging actively to encourage others to also do so. My and Alice Bows’ royal society paper explicitly notes the responsibilities of both Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations – see: http://kevinanderson.info/blog/beyond-dangerous-climate-change-philosophical-transactions/

        Kind regards


        • itdoesntaddup

          As an expert what mitigation strategy to you think that a responsible China should realistically pursue? It’s no good saying they ought to do something (perhaps, because they didn’t sign up to do something) if you don’t have the beginnings of practical, realistic recommendations as to what, and please explain how we really get there – short of creating a nuclear winter.

          I note you recommend that global emissions be restricted to 13 GtCO2e/yr. Chinese emissions are already above 9 GtCo2e/yr, and rising, and account for about 30% of the global total. Their per capita emissions will shortly exceed those in the UK. Meanwhile, the UK is the only country in the world to had to have reduced its emissions compared with when the global emissions were last below 13 GtCO2e/yr. Just for context, you understand.

        • Latimer Alder

          Lilley does not claim that you ‘lead the movement’ – though it seems that you are not at averse to accepting that charge – hence your reply here.

          He uses the term ‘ayatollah’.

          The nearest translation is ‘respected senior scholar’, which I think we would call ‘learned professor’ or some such honorific. Islam has many ayatollahs, not just one. And the top rank of Grand Ayatollahs has about 70 members….not just one.

          You may be confused by the history with Ayatollah Khomeini, who became the leader of Iran. But it was the other things he did, not his ayatollah-ness that gave him that position. He just happened to be an ayatollah, like you happen to be a professor.

          If I were you – as a man of academic learning – I’d take the title ‘ayatollah’ as the banter it was meant as. And not over react to something that you have misunderstood.

          Academics set great store (I’m told) by checking their sources.

          Pity you didn’t.

    • Daniel Maris

      An excellent riposte. Lilley is simply not trustworthy when it comes to this area.

  • Refracktion

    Blimey – Lilley’s forgetfulness is obviously infectious 🙂

    First we have Lilley saying here that “Fracking simply means pumping water under great pressure into shale beds
    several kilometres underground; tiny fissures open up which are then
    kept open by grains of sand so that the gas can flow out.”

    and now his mate Lord Browne of Cuadrilla goes on the Andrew Marr show to tell us that fracking

    “involves putting water and sand at high pressure into rocks and making holes in the rocks.”

    Is their collective failure to mention the associated chemicals and substances picked up underground down too amnesia, or are they deliberately trying to spin a some sort of narrative here?

    If the chemicals are as harmless as the pro-frackers on here are desperate to have us believe then why do these “experts” make such a show of pretending they don’t exist?

    Is only telling half the truth when you know the whole truth may be unpalatable lying? I think it is very close.

    • itdoesntaddup

      Here is what Cuadrilla has actually used at Preese Hall:


      I’m sure Andrew Marr is a well qualified chemist who should have bored his viewers with a detailed discussion of each item to set the record straight in detail, and that it was far more important to discuss polyacrilamide emulsion and table salt than the wider issues at stake.

      Your fetish and ignorance shows.

      • Refracktion

        I read this and I thought of you itdoesntaddup

        “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not” Isaiah 6:9-10

        You don’t have to be a qualified chemist to know when you are being lied to.

        The wider issues at stake like his credibility after BP Gulf of Mexico and the questions that surrounded his integrity and judgement after the Jeff Chevalier incident were unfortunately not discussed.

        Instead there he was being schmoozed by a lightweight TV interviewer (it was Sophie Rayworth) and getting away with the same misleading guff as Lilley.

        As you say it is a shame they didn’t delve a bit deeper into what he said as well as some of the real issues that surround this man, his investment in Cuadrilla and his influence over our government’s policy making, even though he is not elected.

        • Daniel Maris

          If Paxman is a Rottweiler, Raworth is a defanged Chihuahua.

        • itdoesntaddup

          The Macondo well disaster happened quite some time after Browne left BP. Perhaps you’re confusing him with someone? Or is it just your homophobia is showing?

          • Refracktion


            “But critics have suggested that his determination to bear down on costs at BP, where he was chief executive in 1995-2007, contributed to the company’s patchy safety record. … BP is now grappling with the worst environmental disaster of its kind in US history, after one of its wells exploded a mile below sea level in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people. It was reported yesterday that the leak is the biggest ever in peacetime.

            Some critics attribute these disasters to Lord Browne’s drive to cut costs and expand BP. Lord Browne’s successor, Tony Hayward, described it as “a management style that has made a virtue out of doing more for less”.

            They may I suppose have been wrong …

            Why is it homophobic to question whether this man’s alleged misuse of BP funds,
            facilities and staff to help run a mobile phone business for his lover (as reported here http://www.standard.co.uk/news/hubris-lies-and-the-gay-affair-that-brought-down-bp-boss-7261100.html ) is wrong? It would have been just as questionable if Browne’s lover had been a female prostitute as a male one surely?

            I think it’s you who are getting excited by the gay aspect here not me 🙂

          • itdoesntaddup
          • Refracktion

            “how efforts have to be redoubled on integrity and safety.”

            Too right 🙂

          • Refracktion

            “and how efforts have to be redoubled on integrity and safety”

            LOL – too right pal!

            Have you got over your excitement about the gay business yet?

    • Daniel Maris

      It’s being economical with the truth…serving up only half what’s in the pan…

  • moodychops

    Ive got a shocking idea for you

    You may be aware that the Gas and Electricity companies are not paying tax which equates as us paying 20% more for our energy

    So my idea is this,renationalise the energy companies

    This will have 2 positive effects,we will not have to support a load of middlemen and bonus hungry directors and we can pass the 20% that we are losing due to tax avoidance directly on to the customer

    • itdoesntaddup

      The only thing that will give us cheaper bills is a change in energy policy. Having the present policy run by nationalised industry would mean it was conducted with even less efficiency under a monopoly than it is under the present oligopoly.

      You should understand that the reason the companies are not paying tax is because of the size of the investment they are required to make in windmills, the grid, smart meters, LNG terminals and regasification, etc. Investment is funded out of profit, and offset against tax. It would be no different if the process were nationalised: the investment bill would still have to be met through your bill or taxes.

      • moodychops

        Npower (just one of the energy companies) gave out 35million in bonuses this year and at the same time the British tax payer has given them billions in subsidies

        Do you really think you get value for money when these private companies can dip into the public purse whenever they want?

        It would only be less efficient if you got the wrong person for the job

        Agreed we would still have to meet the cost if it was nationalised,the only difference is the bonuses would be smaller,the accounts would be more public and we would be getting the tax

        Why do you trust the energy companies to be avoiding tax for good rather than greed,very strange for a capitalist

        • itdoesntaddup

          The bonuses are obnoxious hush money for pursuing an anti consumer energy policy on behalf of the politicians many of whom also benefit financially (see Huhne, Yeo…), but they are peanuts in the overall scheme of things. It is the politicians who actually legislate to require the use of expensive, inefficient sources of energy, and to prevent the use of cheaper ones.

          Public body accounting standards are far less transparent than for commercial enterprises: that’s probably a reason why the public are less aware of inefficiencies. There is at least a small amount of competition left in an oligopoly, whereas there is none in a state monopoly.

          • moodychops

            Ok increase the transparency of the public body accounting standards

            I have thought of another way it may be beneficial

            If the UK energy companies were one big company they would have more buying power and would be in competition on a nation level instead of energy company level

            From the start the privatisation of the energy companies were no more than an asset stripping exercise and any benefits to the general public that have come about through this theft were purely accidental

          • itdoesntaddup

            Perhaps you think that the energy industry was super efficient in Soviet Russia? Really, it doesn’t solve anything. You have to change the policy. That means changing the politicians and the bureaucrats in charge of it. Boardroom changes would follow soon after, just as green oriented people got catapulted onto boards in response to green politics.

          • moodychops

            no doubt there was lots of corruption involved in Russian energy companies,what makes you think capitalist energy companies are any better?

            The fact that they are avoiding tax by basing their companies in Tax Havens suggests this is the case

            I will say one thing though ,it should either be privatized or not privatized ,end the subsidies or renationalise it

          • itdoesntaddup

            Corruption is largely a national characteristic. You’ll struggle to find any in Singapore for example, but you may not get out of the airport in Nigeria without paying off the officials – at least not with your baggage intact. The inefficiencies in Russia had far more to do with the wider system that replicated errors of engineering and operation and did things that made no economic sense at all.

          • moodychops

            People judge corruption often by how much they see it,however just because they cant see it does not mean it isnt going on

            For example it is quite common place to bribe officials and police officers in India much the same as you describe in India,everyone knows it is going on and it is not hidden.

            Here we have doctors accepting holidays and cars in return for distributing particular drugs or cops getting discounts when they go shopping in their uniforms

          • moodychops

            You played down corruption in Russia yet out of a list of 174 countries Russia is rank 133,Britain is rank 17

            In Britain the politicians are giving access for cash and promising government favoritism

            In the expenses scandal we had politicians having ghost jobs paid for by us by reletives living elsewhere!!!!!

            We have HMRC boss Dave Hartnett partying with the same people he allowed to escape billions of pounds in tax!!!

            If it is like that here what must it be like there!!!!!

            All this eventually rolls down to us

          • itdoesntaddup

            Soviet Russia was at least rather less corrupt: the Gulag was too big a threat.

          • moodychops

            Has the nationalisation of the railways done any good at all for that company?

            Have you heard about the call to nationalise the M6 Birmingham bypass?

          • itdoesntaddup

            M6 Toll is an example of how NOT to negotiate a PFI deal, and competitive toll roads became outmoded a long time ago after they had provided the original core network we have today. Competitive tendering to keep the network maintained is a good idea. That to my mind would include using more innovative techniques than virtually closing 20 miles of motorway at a time for 2 years, as imposed by the Highways Agency.

            The rail business was completely messed up by Stephen Byers – and in any event is a nineteenth century solution to a 21st century problem.

            Both are topics for another day, no doubt.

            Nothing alters the fact that wind power is horrendously expensive, and shale gas has the possibility to provide the UK with secure energy at far lower cost (price may be higher if tax is levied), saving imports. If we could get policy changed it would far outweigh the effects of industry ownership, although best results would be obtained by restoring a properly competitive system, rather than the nonsense that followed on from Labour’s Utilities Act that caused vertical and horizontal mergers and the sales primarily to French and German interests.

          • moodychops

            I am not convinced that ‘Messed up’ is the right way of describing the railway disaster

            All the utility privatisations were acts of theft and politicians were the beneficiary’s of those thefts

          • itdoesntaddup

            The nationalisations were acts of theft.

          • moodychops

            You don’t see anything wrong with devaluing an asset ,selling it at a low price and then becoming a director of that company a few years later?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Example of asset devaluation?

          • moodychops

            European authorities
            have raided offices of oil majors Shell, BP and Statoil as part of a
            probe into suspected manipulation of oil prices

          • itdoesntaddup

            So I see. I suspect they’ve missed any real culprits though.

            Torquato and Freedman believe the way the wholesale gas market is reported leaves it open to traders to try to fix the price, although Torquato said manipulation was “occasional” and not systematic.

            He also suggests there is no reason to believe power companies, as opposed to other “players” such as banks and finance houses, would necessarily be at the heart of any scandal.

            “The fact they [energy companies] have a big share of the market offers greater opportunity to do it [price fixing], but that it not to say they would want to do it or would do it.”


            Popcorn time.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Look at the chart on page 2 here:


            It shows quite clearly the effect of competition on the privatised energy industry, and how that was undone by Labour’s policies.

          • moodychops

            I read the report and it was very interesting,i wasn’t aware things like that existed,thanks

            I dont understand why it is Labour that is responsible for the price increases and not the company’s themselves??

          • itdoesntaddup

            Because Labour changed the laws that govern how the industry operates.

          • moodychops

            can you give me a link to those changes please

          • moodychops

            Is it a secret the laws that labour changed regarding how the energy companies operate.?

            Do you have any links to the changed laws?

            Believe me i am not a fan of labour in fact i detest them but i dont remember them messing with the fuel companies

            Do you not find it wrong to be subsidising private companies? Surely it should be an investment rather than a gift?

          • itdoesntaddup
          • moodychops

            Thank you

          • itdoesntaddup

            Have fun with the legalese and cross referencing. Then of course there are the Statutory Instruments, and OFGEM regulations and grid network codes and balancing mechanisms. Then there’s making sense of it all, and knowing what came before and what might have been….

          • moodychops

            You told me before that the cost of bonuses is minimal,i have just counted the energy companies in the uk and it comes to 25

            If were to assume that all the energy companies were being as generous(and not more) as npower then the cost of bonuses comes to 875 million

            If the amount of subsidies are the same then that would come to 325 billion

        • Daniel Maris

          Agreed. And for the schocked – don’t forget it was a Conservative – Joseph Chamberlain – who developed municipal ownership of utilities.

          I think it makes a lot of sense. Your point about taxes is well made.

  • The Sage

    Probably one of the best argued and written articles I have ever read in The Spectator.
    If only Peter Lilley were back in government instead of seeing his talents wasted on the back-benches. Of course, he is not female, from an ethnic minority, young nor from Notting Hill or thereabouts – so no chance then of a proper job.

  • Albin

    The USA has proved two things:

    1. There are legitmate concerns, and nobody should be fired for waiting until this new and unproven technology is fully tested out and regulated for health and safety; and

    2. Once given a regulatory green light with good ground rules, exploitation of the resource is extremely rapid – within five to ten years.

    That’s your lesson from the USA. Don’t give in to well-paid prophets of panic.

  • Daniel Maris

    Sorry to burst your Lilley-bubble folks, but cost-efficient feasible energy storage is on the way…


    Highview are world leaders in this technology. It’s good to see the government backing this, though really we should be putting in billions to bringing this to market because this could sweep the world.

    So sorry guys, your main argument against wind and solar – intermittency – is about to bite the dust.

    • Latimer Alder


      Did you read the article you quoted? Did you understand it?

      If not, here are the key points.

      1. The Highview proposal has got through to the stage of ‘feasibility studies’. Not commercial production or even prototyping of a commercial system. ‘Feasibility study’ means ‘let’s see if it actually works as a concept’

      2. The capacity of the feasibility study would be 30 MWh. Enough to power 9 ‘typical households’ for a year.

      You’d need an awful lot of 30 MWh systems to make much of a dent in the 345,000,000 MWh annual consumption of the UK.

      There is a long long long way to go before this technology is shown to be any of feasible, cost-efficient or effective.

      Come back when it has been.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes, I read and understood:

        1. Is that the attitude that saw off the Armada, built our canal and rail networks, and won the Battle of Britain? I doubt it. But I accept these are just through to the feasibility stage. But I am willing to bet 10,000 credibility tokens that one of those two projects will appear in the final mix. Please note that Costain are involved in one of these projects. They are a big player and not the sort of company to get involved with nonsense.

        2. Yes, of course they are small. Wind turbines used to be small – now they can individually have up to 5 MW capacity.
        Typically, the maximum gap in a wind/solar energy combination – a major dip – is something like 2-3 days in our country (and that is very rare, I should add). But let’s assume it was half a week 3.5 days, then you would be able to power 936 households over that period with one of these plants. Still a long way to go, I know, but a lot more significant than you are claiming.

        Similarly we don’t need to supply the whole of the 345,000,000 MWh – we are looking at bridging a gap of perhaps 3,450,000 MWh. Also, we don’t necessarily have to rely on this technology to bridge all of that gap. We can build more pumped storage for instance and we can use hydro generally more as a reserve source, rather than a baseload resource.

        I think the “come back when it has been” is what caused us to lose our wind energy leadership to Denmark and so miss out on a multi-billion dollar industry. We should instead be actively pursuing all these leads.

        • Latimer Alder

          Nothing to do with the Armada or any of those things.

          You are taking what looks like it might be a good engineering idea on paper and extrapolating wildly to

          ‘your main argument against wind and solar – intermittency – is about to bite the dust.’

          Which is perhaps admirable in its broad sweep and focus on the distant horizon, but rather sort of misses out what might be fifteen years hard wrok – with no guarantee of success.

          So if it comes to thinking about solutions for our energy needs in the 2040s and beyond, I’d be quite happy to bear in mind that this – along with many others – could have a part to play. But right now it’s just a gleam in somebody’s eye. Hence ‘come back when you’ve done it’

          1. Big players don’t get involved with nonsense.

          H’mm. I used to work for a very ‘big player’ in the IT business. And we were sufficiently successful to be able to spend money on trying things out lots of different things. Probably only one project in twenty came good, but it was worth trying them all…you learnt things even from the failures. If you can get somebody else (DECC?) to pay, s much the better.

          2. Even if the maximum shortfall was only half a week, that still needs many thousands of the things.

          Don’t get me wrong. Perhaps one day this technology will be the answer to all our prayers.

          But right now it’s in such a preliminary stage of development that to assume that it is going to adopt that role is hugely premature. You are taking the salesman’s spiel for the working product. Bad mistake. .

          • Daniel Maris

            OK, my statement was more prediction than established fact but it’s not the only recent breakthrough. We’ve had both MIT and Toyota coming through with major advances in battery technology.

            Costain are a reputational company – they can’t afford to get involved in scams. I am sure they have at least checked out this technology works – the issue is more about what level of efficiency you can make it work.

          • Latimer Alder

            ‘ the issue is more about what level of efficiency you can make it work.’

            …and reliability and manufacturability and cost and serviceability and warranty and legal stuff and licensing and integration into the grid and health and safety and EU certification and more paperwork than you can shake as tick at and all the zillion and one other things that have to be fixed as you take a gleam in an inventor’s eye from idea to proper working product.

            It is not a simple nor an easy nor a quick process. And you only know you’ve really succeeded at the end.

            Premature declarations of triumph are foolish.

          • Daniel Maris

            I don’t think reliability is going to be an issue…this is a pretty standard technology. The issues are really scaling up and relating it to how the grid. It’s already been proven to work well with the grid at a v. small scale. This is the next step up.

            Premature declarations of disaster for green energy are far more foolish.

        • global city

          The Green’s attitude would have seen none of those innovations take off

    • Latimer Alder

      And sorry to burst your bubble even more.

      I mean them no ill will when I point out that the only product the have right now is a ‘pilot demonstrator’. You may consider this to be ‘world leaders in technology’ but again I think you are hearing the sizzle, not seeing the sausage.

      It would be a foolish and spendthrift investor indeed who put billions into a product that had such a limited track record as yet. For a government to do so would likely invite judicial review. The last memorable time they did something similar they gave £100 million to John deLorean. Not a wise move.

    • global city

      So, they will be able to generate so much excess that they could provide most our needs when the wind is blowing as well as storing sufficient to see us through (the impossible to determine) ‘intermittent’ periods?

      Your post betrays the political position you take, assuming as you do, that those opposed to wind energy etc, are for some reason against it ideologically, rather than just for the reason that it does not work.

      Why do you think that?

      By the way, Denmark HAS cut it’s renewable subsidies and scaled back their development. Germany, as we all know, are busily building 30 or more power stations designed to use anthracite.

      in five years time this will be abundantly clear.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vernon.yarker Vernon Yarker

    Oh most of the opponents of fracking have heard about tremors and apparently flames coming out of taps in America and that is about as far as their knowledge goes. So let me advise them, the UK suffers minor earth tremors all of the time, and flames coming out of taps in America has never been proved to be anything to do with fracking. Knowing how water is treated and sampled it is hardly likely that anything toxic could get into the distribution system. I suspect something much more simple, and more probable. That is the water had been tampered with down the line from the water companies, probably expressly to create the very situation and media hysteria. The Greens always have a notion that pure living, grass roofed huts, pigs in the yard etc. was ideal. It was not, thousands would have died of starvation and disease. Doctors would be relegated to mixing up herbs. They may wish to go back to basics but the majority of the population do not. Shale gas is going to turn this country around and even help pay and make a massive difference to the balance of payments and the GDP . We simply cannot afford not to develop it

    • Daniel Maris

      What are you on about? Denmark and Germany, who are developing full scale green energy infrastructures, are far more advanced than the USA in terms of health outcomes and longevity. They don’t need lectures from you about modern medicine. They don’t have any shale gas at all but have well developed health and social services.

      • global city

        Both have actually given up on all that nonsense. Denmark because of the crippling costs and huge inefficiencies of their full scale green wankery!

        • Daniel Maris

          Er – no. However much your hand was going up and down when you wrote that, it doesn’t make it true. Both Denmark and Germany remain committed to and are moving towards across the board green energy solutions. You might say they are wrong to do so but they are doing it.

  • Paul Wood

    Many valid points are made in this article, but the statement “…thereafter the field pumps gas much like any conventional field” immediately reveals the glaring ignorance of the author regarding the primary feature of shale-gas extraction. Since he is a key adviser on UK Energy Policy to the Government, it is disconcerting that he reveals his dearth of understanding of the principles involved. The majority of protagonists on both sides of this crucial debate also exhibit a tendency to supplement scientific fact with “flat-earth lunacies” (none of them understands basic reservoir engineering principles, judging from the pseudo-technical outpourings of their public statements). Since the Chancellor’s “shale gas theology” is to rely on a future shale-gas bonanza, linked to supplying up to 20(?) gas-fired power-stations, I would hope that those empowered to make policy will take more professional advice concerning the technical pitfalls of unconventional gas-production, sooner rather than later.

  • Seamus Magnusson

    The Greens don’t want Britons to have affordable energy. In their scheme energy is supposed to be prohibitively expensive. Their goal is to drastically scale back human population and it’s impact on the natural environment. The best way to make this happen is make cheap energy, the kind that can fuel growth, unavailable. I believe this is the true purpose of the global warming agenda. The leaders of the movement have said as much in their writings and lectures. It’s not really a big secret or anything. I’m just glad that I’m an American because over here the shale gas revolution is already if full swing and has gained enough momentum as to be unstoppable by the Greens. I hope the British people can overcome those in their midst who wish to not only stop them from growing but actually de-industrialize a great nation and force it’s citizens to accept a radically reduced standard of living.

  • global city

    Good article, but I wish that people would stop using ‘Cassandra’ in such scenarios. remember, she was cursed to be right in her pronouncements, but ignored. That is a role that the ecofreaks are only too happy to play.. or rather, to assert they are in!

  • Alistair McLay

    How much is Peter Lilley getting bunged by Cuadrilla for writing this article?

    Show me the evidence that there is an economic reason for Fracking.

    Apart from existing healthy gas reserves, what about free energy technologies kept secret by the oil and gas giants?

    Are we really going to let these libcon mercenary puppets of the banks and oil companies rape our green and pleasant land?

    Do we really want to poison our groundwater (forever) and pollute the air in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, all for mere assumptive projections based on the falsehood of bankster-rigged economics?

    I would respectfully suggest to all contributors that they catch Ian R Crane when he comes near on his “Fracktured Future” tour.

  • Brian H

    Hear, hear!

    Getting at the gas is all good. Using coal would be even better, of course, since it would help maximize CO2 output. Plants have eaten supplies down to near famine levels, and Gaia wants us to restore them.

    If a little warming did result, bonus! Warming = more life; Cooling = more death.

  • Martin Noble

    Peter Lilley was a light weight camp follower in the 80’s whilst being a Tory minister of Transport. I am not quite sure why anyone would be interested in what he says today. Your august publication must running out of contributors or is this just another chapter in the resurrection of the self-justifying ex-Thatcher ministers that contributed to but never understood why they put the Conservative Party out government for so many years.

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  • http://www.thomaswmorley.com/ Thomas Morley

    Any one who tells you fracking is safe, is a lier. Anyone who tells you it won’t harm the environment, is a lier. Anyone who tells you it will help reduce our energy prices, is a lier. Any one who tells you it wont affect your health, is a lier. Any one who tells you it cuts emissions, is a lier, in-fact it is so bad for the environment its of the scale. Fracking can never be a solution and should be stopped before it gets going. Quite apart from its contribution towards global warming there are its effects locally, its impact on the environment, which are well documented. Leaking methane, on a huge scale, water contamination, air pollution, radioactive contamination, massive industrialisation of the landscape and earthquakes, which have already happened in the US and UK.. If these fossil fuel companies spent the same money they do in lobbying, propaganda and the actual extraction then we would solve our energy problems with renewables very quickly.

    All the people promoting this practice are all bullshitters who are only after profit. Our future is more important than a few corporations who want to screw you and our beautiful world. DONT BELIEVE THEIR LIES. open your eyes and educate your self. Here’s a good place to start. http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/gasland-part-ii-2013/