Anti-Fracking protestors need to be much better at getting their message across


12:14 pm - August 22nd 2013

by Salman Shaheen    


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On my way to work on Monday I was curious to see a small group of anti-fracking protesters superglued to the entrance of Bell Pottinger, the PR firm used by energy company Cuadrilla.

The irony is, better PR is exactly what anti-fracking activists need.

The protesters had brought with them signs bearing the slogan “fracking liars” and various other well-worn puns swapping the word “fuck” for “frack”. But I couldn’t see anything that clearly communicated why they were targeting Bell Pottinger in particular.

Indeed, while the protests gained widespread coverage, there was little in the media that conveyed the activists’ precise beef with Bell Pottinger. Given the natural bias of the mainstream media against direct action, it is vital campaigners do everything they can to get their message across.

According to my friend Helen Robertson, who was reporting from the protests for Petroleum Economist, the activists’ arguments against fracking were largely derived from the film Gasland. Irrespective of the fact the documentary’s assertions have been widely disputed, campaigners would be wise to arm themselves with robust facts and figures as well.

Helen’s main point was that with UK gas production falling, the country is increasingly turning to cheaper and more polluting coal, a problem fracking might address.
When she asked one protester if she knew how much coal Britain uses, the activist replied: “I’m hopeless on facts”.

This is a clear issue for the anti-fracking movement, and protesters in general.

In the age of social media and blogging, when any activist can have a smart phone shoved in their face at any moment and see their words splashed across the internet minutes later, it is even more important for campaigners to turn up to demonstrations equipped with cold hard evidence and the media savvy to communicate it effectively.

I support the anti-fracking movement, primarily because looking to shale gas and oil to plug the energy gap shirks the responsibility to dramatically expand clean renewable energy production. It is here that activists can find their strongest arguments – and no doubt many make them – backed by a wealth of scientific evidence behind the threat of anthropogenic climate change.

Ideology and zeal are vital to any movement, but a heart in the right place is no substitute for a head full of facts to back it up.

If you’re going to superglue yourself to a doorway where you can’t dodge journalists’ questions as easily as greedy corporate bosses hopping into a limousine, make sure you have the answers.

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About the author
Salman Shaheen is the editor of International Tax Review magazine, co-editor of The Third Estate and a freelance journalist blogging here. Also at Left Foot Forward, New Statesman and on Twitter.
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Reader comments


1. Tricia Jewell

Hi from Schiste Happens, the English speaking website that helped to ban fracking in France (for the next 3 years anyway).
Click on http://www.schistehappens.com/arguments.html to read a handy list of arguments that refute all the pro fracking statements.
Unfortunately the anti fracking movement has a big battle on its hands as the government and therefore the BBc and many other media outlets (Murdoch is pro fracking) are determined to make the protesters look like rabble. Interesting that Australia is not keen, possibly due to the amount of water the process uses.
There is a huge amount of documented info coming from the USA and elsewhere but very few journalists are bothering to look at it.
I wonder how many more well heeled Brits will head for France once the English countryside has turned into an industrial wasteland?

2. Man on Clapham Omnibus

1. Tricia Jewell

‘There is a huge amount of documented info coming from the USA and elsewhere but very few journalists are bothering to look at it’

stick it up on a webpage!

Which message? They’re hopelessly inconsistent, disingenuous and frequently flatly contradict each other. eg “It won’t make a jot of difference to energy prices, and anyway low energy prices will undermine renewables”.

Those observers – and there are quite a few of them – who are not “hopeless on facts” tend to notice this kind of thing.

“campaigners would be wise to arm themselves with robust facts and figures as well.”

Well, they’re going to have to cherrypick them shamelessly then, eh?

4. Paul peter Smith

As in another recent article here at LibCon, the OP concentrates on the lack of media savvy and poor spinning skills of your average protestor. I have grave doubts about fracking but I’m not interested in whose presentation ls snappiest, how about a scientific or at least rational debate on the key questions. Like why do so many reports on US fracking bear no resemblance to anything described on Cuadriila’s website? Theres no need to point out that the US is a different country by the way, we’ll take that as read and move straight onto why we think we can treat the waste water when the Yanks cant?

Yes Paul peter Smith, I would like to see a scientific rational debate too. I’m not expecting all protesters who care about a cause to be experts. But if they’re going to stage a public stunt that will thrust themselves into the media spotlight, they should arm themselves with facts or risk undermining their cause.

I’ve said that I can’t stand the direct action type protestors. Maybe I just got old or something.

But this is worth a look at perhaps.
And note that they now take comments.

Ten Big Fat Lies About Fracking

Only ten lies? That’s not bad for Spiked.

While I agree that people should be better informed, I don’t think that asking a random protester a detailed technical question which actually has nothing to do with the issue they’re protesting about and that they can’t answer is quite the gotcha you and your friend seem to think.

As for Gasland being “widely disputed” – well, by who? In any event, the makers can speak for themselves:

https://1trickpony.cachefly.net/gas/pdf/Affirming_Gasland_Sept_2010.pdf

Graham, asking about the UK’s coal use is not detailed or technical, and has a lot to do with the issue of where we source our energy and how we deal with climate change. Gasland is disputed, as the article I linked to shows, though that’s not to say the counter-arguments are necessarily true. In any case, I don’t want protesters to be caught out, I want them to win their argument.

10. Helen Robertson

Graham,

the issue of coal use in the UK is highly relevant to tackling climate change. One of the key issues used by No Dash for Gas to frame its anti-fracking message is anthropogenic climate change.

Here is just one example of claims made in the film Gasland being disputed: http://cogcc.state.co.us/library/GASLAND%20DOC.pdf

And here is Josh Fox himself admitting that he withheld evidence of naturally occurring methane deposits in water supplies from his film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9CfUm0QeOk

Here is more information on the documentary Fracnation which Phelim McAleer, the journalist in the previous clip, made after questioning Fox http://fracknation.com/

No one is disputing that more studies are needed on the environmental impacts of fracking. The point of the article is not to make the protestors look foolish but to point out that a lack of hard facts discredits their campaign.

11. Graham Day

Salman, we obviously differ on the definition of what’s technical and detailed. But not every protestor is going to cosy up of an evening with “Energy Trends”, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to suggest they should – the result would be very few protestors.

And in any event, the protest wasn’t about coal vs gas. It was about fracking. So asking a question about coal use in that context was irrelevant.

I really can’t see how knowing the percentage of energy the UK derives from coal is in any way technical – a quick google will tell you. It is relevant because a key counter argument to the anti-fracking movement is that if Britain doesn’t exploit shale and oil gas, it will have to increasingly turn to coal, which emits more greenhouse gasses. Protesters need to counter this argument.

* shale gas and oil.

“Gasland is disputed”

The word you’re looking for is ‘busted’.

15. Graham Day

A “quick google” doesn’t give you meaningful information IMHO. Someone repeating something they half-understood would also be leapt upon by pro-frackers…

But the argument you outline isn’t logically valid. Some electricity generators may be making more use of coal. In what way is this related to whether or not fracking is permitted?

A reply might be that an increased supply of gas will lead to a fall in the wholesale price, but how long would that take and why would it even happen? Lower prices are not an automatic result of extra supply. For example, oil production is higher than ever – and so is the price.

And why would lower wholesale prices lead to a fall in consumer prices in the UK, anyway? This is how UK energy companies behave, after all:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23513305

But arguments over possible price changes are also nothing to do with whether or not fracking is safe for the environment…

16. Paul peter Smith

@14 Graham Day
As you say, the price war crap is irrelevant as the cost to consumer of domestic energy hasn’t been troubled by low supply cost in recent times, why should it change.
Also the fossil fuel vs renewables stuff is totally disingenuous as however enthusiastically we invest in renewables we’ll still be consuming gas for decades. Over the course of the (optimistic) 50 year estimates for known shale gas reserves, it would be common sense and financially prudent to produce our own energy in the transition to renewables. No brainer!
BUT, top resource of the 21st century and beyond is water. There are already places on Earth where a barrel of water costs more than a barrel of oil, thats not going to be unusual in most folks neighbourhood’s in the near to middle future.
‘I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone’ management and political structures (like ours) are not the best tools to solve this problem because if we get it wrong we dont get to remorgate or relocate.

“For example, oil production is higher than ever – and so is the price.”

That’s the demand thing again. Have a look at energy consumption curves for BRICS states, or even some African ones.

“No brainer!”

Pretty much nails it up to that point of the argument.

Water-wise, it’ll never be more than a small fraction of current domestic and industrial usage. Or, for that matter, of the colossal wastage from crappy distribution networks, in the UK at least.

18. Paul peter Smith

@ Richard T
Water leakage rates across the whole country are a disgrace, I know I used to be a field engineer for NW Water. In the early 90’s approx 25% of treated water supplied to Manchester was ‘unaccounted for’, they were still blaming the Luftwaffe some of it. But wherever it went it eventually returned to the water cycle, pre-treated to boot, it isn’t lost and it isnt contaminated.
Leakage rates are a vital but separate issue.

Cherub @7

Only ten lies? That’s not bad for Spiked.

Yeah well; it’s a point of view. Actually I hadn’t realised that it was a very pro-fracking guy writing that.
Myself? I’d be a fracking sceptic. I’ll believe the benefits to the country and the reduced gas bills to consumers when I see them. And the dangers too.
This is actually more of an idological contest I bet.
The damage to Britain’s environment may be far less than is being scaremongerd, and as for the adding to the world’s CO2 argument, I’d have to say ”whatever”.
A little bit more isn’t going to make much difference.

But the actually anti-fracking activists are really off putting with their silly middle class racical sub-culture.

“it isn’t lost and it isnt contaminated.”

This is really a matter of timescales. Nothing’s really ever lost, as the geological record tells us. And much of the natural environment is ‘contaminated’ in the sense that burning tapwater and radioactive rocks are not generally human artefacts.

And in any case, industrial civilisation is untidy. Take a look at the catastrophically poisoned environments created by rare-earth mining for Prius batteries, windmill magnets, etc., if you’re in any doubt.

So the question is whether the quantities of usable water taken out of the cycle in the short term are significant in terms of potential negative impact on natural and constructed environments. I’m open to arguments that they might be in places like Texas, less so in say Pennsylvania or the UK.

20. Richard T
Yeh. Look over there at the rare earth element that isn’t rare and doesn’t use up vast quantities of tap water.
Look over there at psychopathic serial killer and you’ll see that other crimes of individuals are mundane.

22. Paul peter Smith

@ Richard T
‘This really a matter of timescales…’
Yes it is, Human timescales not geological epochs. By the time the Ants inherit the earth I expect nature will have sorted all this out but how about our grandchildren’s era?

#21 – In English, please?

#22 – Hence my last para. The volumes just aren’t that big, in the context of a wet, cool temperate climate. And fracking in any case is not a continuous process, so if things really get so bad that we can’t water the golf courses, the frack taps get turned off first. Simple.

Richard T
I hope that my comment #21 was intelligible to others even though I left out a definite article in the second sentence.
However, for you, let’s refer to your statement "Take a look at the catastrophically poisoned environments created by rare-earth mining for Prius batteries, windmill magnets, etc., if you’re in any doubt.". It has nothing to do with the subject and is a ‘look over there’ statement. It is spin. It mentions a ‘rare earth’ substance and that substance is titanium oxide which is no rarer than copper. Not that it matters because it has nothing to do with fracking.

Oh, we can turn off the water sprinklers on golf courses if things get bad. That’s so nice to know.

The media tend to keep very quiet about the ghastly fact that about 3000 people are killed in Britain every year in road traffic accidents.

All road traffic must be banned immediately to save 3000 lives a year.

26. Paul peter Smith

@25 Bob B
Thats too grown up a point for general discussion, if we started making decisions based on actual risk we would have to legalise cannabis and gun ownership and criminalise alcohol and stairs. And big pharma would be the only organisations on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

Legalise “gun ownership”?

Not so on the basis of American experience:

American gun deaths to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/american-gun-deaths-to-exceed-traffic-fatalities-by-2015.html

28. Paul peter Smith

@ Bob B
Or for a counter example, Switzerland, where every able bodied male is required to keep a fully automatic assault rifle at home and enjoys some of the lowest gun crime in the world.
America’s problem isnt guns its Americans. And I’m not promoting gun ownership just pointing out that people living in the UK should generally be more worried about stairs.

“America’s problem isnt guns its Americans.”

And if guns are so easily available, homicidally inclined Americans can more easily kill other Americans.

30. Paul peter Smith

As you put it Bob, ‘homicidally inclined Americans…’ the only thing that would change in the US after a total gun ban would be the method of execution.
And again, I dont support a general rearming of the population, just supporting your point about understanding relative risk.
But since you mention US crime stats I’m sure your aware that the cities with the highest gun crime rates, Chicago, D.C. etc have the most draconian gun laws.

“But since you mention US crime stats I’m sure your aware that the cities with the highest gun crime rates, Chicago, D.C. etc have the most draconian gun laws.”

And how easy is it to purchase guns from beyond the city boundaries in America and import the guns into the cities with high gun crime rates? Gun crime breeds gun crime. Switzerland has a different national culture. Try this BBC report on guns in Switzerland:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21379912

In medieval times in England, football was banned and archery promoted:

“Cause public proclamation to be made,” declared an Act of 1369,”that everyone of said City of London strong in body, at leisure times and on holydays, use in their recreation bows and arrows.” Popular amusements such as handball and football were banned on pain of imprisonment. [Entry for “Archery” in Weinreb and Hibbert (eds): The London Encyclopaedia (1993)]

The medieval long bow was a lethal weapon in the hands of practised archers yet the authorities of those times weren’t concerned about a floodtide of armed robbers – or the prospect of armed insurrection against the sovereign. English trained archers were crucial in the wars against the French at the battles of Crecy (1346), Poitiers (1356) and Agincourt (1415). The weapon system was easy to emulate as well as inexpensive but the French couldn’t – or dare not – manage it.

I read that the attempt of the Obama administration to introduce federal laws requiring mandatory background checks on gun purchasers was voted down. That seemed to be a fairly modest proposal to prevent guns being sold to those with personal histories of mental health issues but even that was unacceptable to Congress.

Doubtless, the number of gun homicides in America will continue at the rate of at least 11,000 a year with no end in sight.

32. Paul peter Smith

@ Bob B
‘ Switzerland has a different culture..’ so do we, I think that was my point.
As for imported guns into ‘gun free zones’, the basic flaw in all domestic gun control is that it only disarms the law abiding. Your many authoritative posts on economic issues compels me to believe you understand ‘red in tooth and claw’ supply and demand. While there are guns anywhere there will be guns everywhere, dont ban them (not possible), learn better ways of solving problems.

33. Paul peter Smith

@Bob B
Ps
I truly love your posts

34. Richard Carey

@ Bob B,

you’re quoting a Bloomberg rag on a gun issue? Hmm, that’s likely to be objective, isn’t it? That report is spurious to say the least. “Gun related deaths” includes suicide, justifiable homicide and trigger-happy cops alongside actual crimes.

As for the criminal homicides, gang-related killings are a major factor. Probably the real story in that bit of Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-Bill of Rights propaganda campaign is the rise in suicide, especially amongst veterans.

As for the standard excuse you give for why gun crime is so prevalent in the gun-free zone cities like Chicago, what you forget is that the law-abiding people have been disarmed, so the criminals have less incentive to curb their felonious ways.

“I read that the attempt of the Obama administration to introduce federal laws requiring mandatory background checks on gun purchasers was voted down. That seemed to be a fairly modest proposal”

It only seemed to be fairly modest because you didn’t stop to think what it would actually entail: the registration of all firearms. The “gun show loophole” which anti-gun people constantly harp on about is a myth, and the 40% statistic they always parrot is worthless. All gun-dealers whether at their stores or when attending gun shows have to run background checks. But when a private individual sells a gun or gives one as a gift, or indeed bequeaths a gun (consider the value of guns and how long they last if cared for) he does not have to run a background check on the person receiving the gun, although I think in the case of a private sale he is guilty if he knowingly sells it to someone who is prohibited from owning it. The onus is where it should be; on the one buying it. Without registering all the firearms and who owns them now, then your little piece of ‘modest’ legislation would not have any effect, besides being totally contrary to the Constitution and reminiscent of some scary precedents from history.

34

In the UK, all firearms have to be registered whether the gun is acquired through a dealer or a private individual. Despite these constraints, GB managed to win gold at the 2012 olympics for clay shot.

The USA has more firearms as a percentage of the population and more homicides caused through gunshot wounds. The instances of mass shootings is not uncommon, yet despite the easier access to weapons, it has not stopped the massacres. Innocent people are not disarmed, by the more liberal gun laws in the USA, but the record is poor. Maybe a less liberal approach might be worth a try.

Btw, I am not anti-gun, several of my family members own guns and regularly participate in clay shooting tournaments.

Richard Carey: “besides being totally contrary to the Constitution”

Here is the actual wording in the US Constitution Bill of Rights: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Seeing as when that amendment was drafted, it presumably refers to the right to bear single shot, muzzle-loaded muskets and pistols to deal with the like of Native Americans, armed robbers and British invaders but the meaning seems to have been extended in stages to embrace the “right” to bear machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, and, possibly, artillery, although I’m unsure about tanks or flying black helicopters.

Btw try Prof LM Seidman: On Constitutional Disobedience (OUP 2012)
http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1160&context=fwps_papers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dconstitutional%2520disobedience%2520seidman%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D6%26ved%3D0CE8QFjAF%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarship.law.georgetown.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1160%2526context%253Dfwps_papers%26ei%3DJ5EYUpwV58_QBdn-gZAH%26usg%3DAFQjCNHhSglNH2dbAEjDdSdxvBMrCdAAgQ#search=%22constitutional%20disobedience%20seidman%22

Britain, of course, doesn’t have a constitutional document like the US Constitution but we seem to have been able to get along without one without anarchy and we have a much lower gun homicide rate.

37. Cwmrhydyceirw

@25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36
What have your posts got to do with the article?

“What have your posts got to do with the article?”

I pointed out @25 that road traffic accidents lead to c. 3000 fatalities a year in Britain so we really ought to ban all motor traffic to stop the killing and save 3000 lives since that harm is far greater than anything inflicted by fracking.

39. Richard Carey

@ Jojo,

Hmm, the GB pistol shooters don’t seem to appreciate having to leave the country to practice, due to the insane gun laws following Dunblane: http://tinyurl.com/d2xsoht

In any case, sport is only one aspect of gun ownership, and has nothing to do with the Bill of Rights.

” Innocent people are not disarmed, by the more liberal gun laws in the USA,”

They are in Chicago, DC and ‘gun-free zones’ all over America, which is where the massacres occur.

“despite the easier access to weapons, it has not stopped the massacres”

In fact there are many instances where massacres have been stopped in their tracks by gun-owning citizens. E.g. http://tinyurl.com/clnfzes

“Maybe a less liberal approach might be worth a try.”

They’ve tried. You will not be surprised why most of America refuses to hand in their guns. They don’t want to be like Chicago.

@ 37,

You’re right about a lot of these comments being OT. For the record, I’ve got nothing against fracking per se. Does that help?

40. Cwmrhydyceirw

@38. Bob B
A nonsense argument along with other ‘look over there’ posts.
@24. Ceiliog
The ‘rare earth’ substance that isn’t really rare is Neodymium.

Hard facts from the country that still allows Monsanto to sell bovine growth hormone, underfunds the EPA and has granted exclusion from clean water legislation to fracking companies?
Don’t hold your breath.

39

But are any of those other supposed threats to human well-being responsible for killing 3000 people a year in Britain, which is what road traffic does? Why do we allow road traffic to go on?

@40

You still don’t seem to get it. What relevance do your posts have to the OP?

As you’re either unable or unwilling to tell us, the answer is “none”. Your comments are irrelevant. Is Cuadrilla paying you to disrupt the thread and post irrelevant tosh?

@40 Bob
If you don’t like motorized vehicles, go to the USA, join the Amish and get a Swish Amish Penknife. Thank you.

44. Derek Hattons Tailor

“I support the anti-fracking movement, primarily because looking to shale gas and oil to plug the energy gap shirks the responsibility to dramatically expand clean renewable energy production”

What “responsibility” ? This is the warmists claiming to speak for everyone, again. Even if renewables could economically and practically plug the gap – which anyone can see they won’t – why should joe public trust the renewables industry any more than the fossil fuel industry ?

Are you aware, for example, that an American manufacturer of diesel (yes, diesel) generators stands to make millions from contracts to place generator sites all over the country, burning diesel to plug the gaps when there is no wind ?

43. Derek Hattons Tailor "… burning diesel to plug the gaps when there is no wind ?"
Name your source.
When was it decided to rely 100% on wind power to generate electricity?
The proposal to extract shale gas in the UK is controversial to more than just ‘warmists’. There are many who, unlike you apparently, see the pollution and environmental damage caused by the fossil fuel industries and calculate that they are costing $billions worldwide whilst neatly externalising responsibility.

46. Richard Carey
47. Richard Carey

@ Bob B,

according to Buddy Hell, you may be being paid off by Caudrilla to disrupt the thread. Do I get a cut?

48. Paul peter Smith

@46
I’m working Pro Bono.

Fracking, if it works in Britain, could mean lower cost energy supplies and reduced energy imports so it is worth trying to see if it works and at what costs. The attempted disruption seems to me to be mindless as well as illegal.

By making a comparison with annual road accident fatalities @25, I was trying to illuminate just how irrational the protests against fracking are.

50. Paul peter Smith

@49
Like I said Bob, too grown up a point for general discussion.

45. Richard Carey
Christopher (****head) Brooker!
All you need now is a w**ktoid from the Ignoring- Adam Smith Institute. Oh, wait a minute, there is one somewhere on these threads.

48. Bob B
All that you have done is show how illogical you are when it comes to decision making. ‘if it works in Britain’ or ‘worth trying to see if it works ‘ is not good enough.
Produce facts and don’t take the word of any PR firms, anyone from the fossil fuel industry, or any data coming from the US Government and its Agencies – They are experts at Dodgy Dossiers.
Da do Enron ron da do Enron.

53. Richard Carey

@ 51 Ceiliog,

(sigh) I just knew somebody would say that. The funny thing is only yesterday I was taken to task elsewhere for citing Robert Fisk. You’re being childish if you won’t take account of a particular fact unless the messenger shares your own political viewpoint.

49: “Like I said Bob, too grown up a point for general discussion.”

Adults really do need to get into the hang of cost-benefit analysis, not just for issues about fracking opportunities but for projects such as the H2S as well and about why some drug therapies are too expensive for the NHS to afford. We don’t ban all motor traffic, despite 3000 fatalities a year from accidents, because we believe that cost is acceptable compared with the value of the benefits from motor transport.

52. Richard Carey
Why should anyone take seriously the opinion of someone who thinks that the dangers of asbestos and tobacco smoke are overrated and denies that climate change has been worsened by burning hydrocarbons?
There is little point in referring to a source who hasn’t got a clue about science and engineering.

@53. Bob B: “Adults really do need to get into the hang of cost-benefit analysis, not just for issues about fracking opportunities but for projects such as the H2S as well and about why some drug therapies are too expensive for the NHS to afford.”

‘Adults’? That word is patronising. Try ‘citizen’ as an alternative.

Numbers, cost benefit analyses, do not satisfy ‘citizens’. There is no trust.

The most efficient factories in the world are designed around humanity, inhumanity and failure; the line is stopped immediately when a human determines a problem; the problem may be human or in a robot.

But somewhere on the trail, we are told that personal judgement is less trustworthy than ‘systems’.

57. Richard Carey

@ 55 Ceiliog,

“Why should anyone take seriously the opinion of someone who…”

You need to be able to distinguish between opinions and facts.

http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Balancing/services/STOR/

Is that the source of the American company that is going to make millions? To save me trawling through the whole of the National Grid website, please give the full URL.

59. Paul peter Smith

@55 Charlieman
‘Adults?’ That word is patronising…’
Your Newspeak is double plus good citizen, report to room 101 for a double ration of victory gin.
Bob B made a serious point which I unintentionally derailed by foolishly mentioning gun control, apart from demonstrating that you dont understand his point, whats yours other than we’ve strayed from the party line?

56. Richard Carey
A beautiful morning where I am. Free energy shines on Britain.

Are you really after facts?
I asked Derek Hattons Tailor (#43) to provide a source for his claim that an American company is going to make millions selling diesel engines that plug the gap when there is no wind.
You respond by providing a link to a Christopher Brooker opinion piece.
When I rightly say that Brooker knows nothing about science and engineering, you respond with a link to the National Grid.

A couple of lnks that explain the Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR).
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/08/diesel-generation-won’t-be-used-as-renewables-backup,-despite-critics’-claims/
http://www.joabbess.com/2013/07/15/james-delingpole-worsely-wronger/
Note that STOR is nothing like what Brooker, Delingpole and North describe in their ill-informed articles. STOR is not there in case there is no wind.

Note also that STOR and diesel engine backups are part the the UK’s energy plans and would be there irrespective of any future fracking wells.
Using the information and twisting it to scare people into accepting fracking is mischievous to say the least.

The subject is extracting gas from shale using hydraulic fracturing – Please stick to the subject.

@56. Richard Carey
What has the Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) got to do with fracking?
Answer: Nothing.
‘Diesel generation won’t be used as renewables backup, despite critics’ claims’ The Carbon Brief 5 Aug 2013
Christopher Brooker, James Delingpole and Richard North have been misleading readers in the Daily Fail and Daily Gleephart again.

‘You need to be able to distinguish between opinions and facts.’ So do you, Richard, so please stop linking to total farts.
Also, you need to stick to the subject and not try to lead people along tracks to nowhere relevant.

62. Derek Hattons Tailor

IIRC I read the report about diesel generation in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago, it was effectively an investment tip. Why the cynicism ? Even the most die hard green must have noticed that the wind does not blow 100% of the time, and unless you want tubes grinding to a halt, operations being cancelled and the lights going out you will need something as a standby when all the gas generators go offline and the nuclear plants are decommissioned over the next decade. The carbon footprint from “renewables” will be huge.

63. Richard Carey

@ 60 Greta,

“What has the Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) got to do with fracking? Answer: Nothing.”

It was relevant to comments 44 and 45. Here’s the link to what you cite: http://tinyurl.com/nyqfck7

“please stop linking to total farts”

You can shoot the messenger if you like, but at least read the bloody message. Debate requires consideration of information from different sources and views, not just those which are expected to support one’s own argument.

“Also, you need to stick to the subject and not try to lead people along tracks to nowhere relevant.”

If I was commenting on Cheryl Cole’s new arse tattoo, that would be a fair comment, but all I did was post a link which was relevant to a point in discussion between two other commenters. If you think I am merely trolling, then you shouldn’t feed the troll.

64. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 53 Risk associated with the use of cars is privately back off via the insurance industry, and collectively backed off via taxation on car ownership. Risk associated with green energy is all collectively held through taxpayer subsidy in generation and a skewed market which effectively forces consumers to buy it.

Cost benefit analysis (part of my day job) is a useful investment tool but doe not give any certainty in long term infrastructure projects such as HS2. No one can predict what a can of Coke will cost in 30 years let alone a complex engineering project, and “benefits” are both subjective (HS2 is beneficial if you live in London, do business in the North and don’t like flying, less so if you are retired and the track goes through your back garden), and subject to multiple externalities – the Channel Tunnel, for example, has never reached projected usage and has had to be refinanced numerous times perhaps in part due to the (unforeseen in the late 80s) growth of budget airlines. If you looked at the numbers now, you wouldn’t have started even digging the hole.
By contrast, use of the tube network has exceeded all projections (due to a 1980s reversal in the post war decline in the Capitals’ population) it is hence creaking and in need of investment. CBA is a decision making aid, it is not a statement of “fact”.

65. Spartacusisfree

Unfortunately for the fractivists, there case has been hopelessly lost through sheer ignorance:

1. There is no CO2-AGW [the IPCC ‘consensus’ is a fraud started 32 years ago; 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf. Wrong IR physics, wrong heat transfer and 33 K GHE from assuming if there were no GHGs, -18 deg C emission to space would coincide with the Earth’s surface: no ice or clouds would make that temperature 4-5 deg C – work it out yourself – so 33 K/ 11 K real GHE gives 3x imaginary feedback.]

2. There is no significant pollution danger from onshore fraccing, done for 50m years in the UK and Germany.

3. The windmills in our grid save no fossil fuel use or CO2 emissions.

66. Robin Levett

@Spartacusisfree #65:

1. There is no CO2-AGW [the IPCC ‘consensus’ is a fraud started 32 years ago; 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf. Wrong IR physics, wrong heat transfer and 33 K GHE from assuming if there were no GHGs, -18 deg C emission to space would coincide with the Earth’s surface: no ice or clouds would make that temperature 4-5 deg C – work it out yourself – so 33 K/ 11 K real GHE gives 3x imaginary feedback.]

Oh. Dear.

64. Derek Hattons Tailor
Your comment #44 "Are you aware, for example, that an American manufacturer of diesel (yes, diesel) generators stands to make millions from contracts to place generator sites all over the country, burning diesel to plug the gaps when there is no wind ?" Are you aware that you’re parroting a Brooker piece that has no validity and, on top of that, has nothing to do with shale gas extraction?

I thought we were supposed to care about fuel poverty and the state of the economy. Or was that last week?

Ad.
This thread is intended to be a debate on whether or not shale gas drilling is a good or bad form of energy. There are safety considerations to take into account as well as economic ones. Fuel poverty is something that needs to be addressed but we have a government that slashed the pensioners’ winter fuel allowance so I doubt if the issue is a priority for the alliance.

70. Charlieman

@59. Paul peter Smith: “Your Newspeak is double plus good citizen, report to room 101 for a double ration of victory gin.”

If you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘patronising’, don’t feel obliged to comment.

71. Paul peter Smith

@70 Charlieman
Of course I understand the meaning of the word patronising, did you miss the tone of my last post? Do you understand the meaning of ‘Newspeak’?

72. Derek Hattons Tailor

@67 I was responding respectively to

The alleged collective responsibility to expand renewables(in the OP) and your request for a source @45

No idea who “Brooker” is. It really is a tedious habit of some LC contributors to focus on the author of a statement rather than its veracity. Would the Diesel generator claim be more or less credible if it had come from George Monbiot or Bill Oddie ?

As an educated rational being I am entitled to ask what happens to the lights when the wind isn’t blowing, and decide for myself if the answer is credible. As the greens have refused to give a sensible answer other than waffling on about an energy mix, stories like that, true or not, are going to gain traction.

72. Derek Hattons Tailor
Fine, except for the fact that it has nothing to do with shale gas and nothing to do with the Short Term Operational Reserve (STOR). You are free to believe that the National Grid is buying diesel powered generators for when the wind doesn’t blow even though it is not true.
Okay, I spelt Christopher Booker’s surname incorrectly.
If George Monbiot had made the outrageous claim about the National Grid’s diesel plan it would still be rubbish. Veracity level = 0

74. Derek Hattons Tailor

What about Bill Oddie ?

75. Open Mind !

Warning/Message To All The Doubters :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-23832308

“Warning/Message To All The Doubters :…”

Completely unrelated to fracking, but thanks for sharing anyway.

74. Derek Hattons Tailor
Bill Oddie?
I’d like Bill to make a documentary series about owls of the world.
Owls are fantastic.
Look at this Barred Owl in Canada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fppKGJD3Y6c
I’d buy the DVD and book of Oddie’s Owls.
Oddie on Cost Benefit Analysis and the Shale Gas Industry – Forget it.

78. Smart Mark

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