The UK government recently announced its plans to support the Fracking industry with investment and tax breaks. These were the headlines in most of the newspapers in and around the UK (maybe even in some other parts of the world).
Now, I have observed people's reactions to this announcement and have found there are 3 distinct reactions emerging from these headlines and I will give you a quick overview:
Group 1 - What are you Frack(ing) talking about?
This group will not have heard about Fracking before. The funny name elicits some mistrust in the concept which stems from the inherent distrust we have for the power companies and from the people delivering the message (politicians) compounded by the biased slant that the general media presents the concept of Fracking in to the reader.
Group 2 - "Beatlejuice, Beatlejuice, Beatlejuice"….Noooooo
Actually, this group sees it as "Fracking, Fracking, Fracking…….Noooo". For those of you not familiar with Beatlejuice, it is a creature from the beyond, hellish and deadly in nature. When mentioning his name 3 times he appears and ruins your life (basically). As is obvious, this is the group that absolutely fear the consequences of Fracking and describe them as potentially catastrophic to nature and its surroundings. These people are OK with Fracking.
Group 3 - Money, money, money…. oh, and power for the people
This is again a Beatlejuice reference except these people have the potential for massive gains and do not believe there is a risk in this process. They see this as a legitimate new source for fuel to help close the power supply gap and something that could kick-start a whole new industry, create new jobs and make more money. There people are totally FOR Fracking.
We basically have a stand-off between two of these groups. Those for that are for and those that are against Fracking and the group that throws the biggest tantrum come out victorious. Why do I say something so cynical? Well, the problem is that both sides have merit and make sense. Fracking can definitely help alleviate the power supply problems faced in many areas and can help create new industries and thus jobs. There is also merit in claims that the impacts on the environment can be devastating and the cost might be too great.
Healthy debate is always very good and it looks like the Pro-Fracking camp is winning (at this point) but personally I think we are missing the point. For the moment the debate on Fracking has very little to do with the genuine merits of Fracking and more to do with personal agendas. The Pro-Fracking group say they can solve the energy, employment and economy problems with this which is obviously something politicians can buy into and sell to their voters. The opposition to Fracking have to justify their existence and counter with opinions on how it will destroy the environment and only line the pockets of a select few.
That is what makes it so difficult to choose a side. I am still undecided on whether to oppose Fracking or support it. Some of the main topics that I think are being missed are that people should realise that this is not a renewable source (i.e. it will run out and we are right where we started), it is a capital intensive industry to build (lots of infrastructure) which means the costs will most likely not be any better than conventional processes and that it is not clear how the citizens will be benefited by this new process. There is no realistic expectation that energy costs will reduce or at least stay stable, there is a realistic risk that the environmental fallout could be severe and the chance of participating in this new industry is limited to a very few major companies.
Why should citizens support Fracking then? Are you pro or against Fracking and why?
Category: Sustainable energy: Fracking