I have no idea why fracking wasn’t the central issue in the most recent elections. I could have understood if it had taken second place to talking about alternatives to austerity, but that wasn’t the size of it. Those are the critical issues right now, and we ought to be outraged about both.
Fracking is a method for extracting the last dregs of fossil fuels so we can burn them. The process itself takes water and fills it with unpleasant chemicals, and runs the risk of releasing who knows what into the water table. We ought to be really concerned about that. Even if it were the only reason not to frack, it is a good enough reason that we should at the very least slow down and look at it properly.
We have a problem with the amount of CO2 we’ve already put into the atmosphere. The climate is changing and the science is clear. The more fossil fuels we extract and use, the bigger the problem and the less scope we have of averting disaster. In this context, to be squeezing out every last drop looks like madness. We urgently need to move away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner and more sustainable power sources.
If fracking damages your property, your insurance won’t cover it. The government are trying to change the rules so that companies can exploit the resources under your home without your permission. That could be the thin end of a nasty looking wedge. Currently possession is, give or take, about nine tenths of the law. If we cease to have rights over the things we own – where is that going? We ought to be very nervous indeed not just about being fracked from beneath, but about what this undermining of our rights does to us.
The Greens are the only party to be fighting against fracking. There is no evidence to say that fracking will cut energy bills, in fact those who support it have had to admit that it won’t solve much on that score. The damage to our countryside hardly bears thinking about – and that’s damage to homes, farmland, quality of life. It might well be damage to our urban areas too – who knows where this will stop if we don’t make it stop? Fracking will not solve our long term energy problems, and it will add to climate change. It is one of the most irrational, suicidal projects our species has come up with. It is the final word in putting short term financial gain ahead of absolutely every other consideration.