Ashworth discusses fracking and renewable energy
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Fracking is a process of oil extraction that involves drilling down into the ground and using high pressure to release the natural gas trapped in the earth. Earlier this week, a host of Tory MPs, including former Brexit minister David Frost, wrote an open letter to Mr Johnson, urging a return to fracking in the UK amid a global shortage of wholesale gas.
Lord Frost argued that fracking would bring “a competitive and reliable source of energy” and reduce the UK’s reliance on imports, as the rest of the EU faces the threat of Russia bumping up prices.
Climate activists have opposed this method of fuel extraction as it can poison groundwater, pollute surface water, impair wild landscapes, and threaten wildlife.
In November 2019, the Government placed an “indefinite suspension” on fracking after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) warned that it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Molly Scott-Cato, a professor of green economics at the University of Roehampton slammed the letter, demanding that the Prime Minister uphold his climate promises to get to net-zero emissions.
She said: “We’ve known for a while that Lord Frost and his Brexit cronies don’t have a high regard for experts, but to suggest that fracking can play any part in our economic future is to ignore both rational thought and scientific evidence.
“It’s clear that some Tory MPs didn’t get the memo about the climate emergency but, just three months on from the Glasgow climate conference, we need the prime minister to stick to his words about a rapid transition towards net zero rather than allowing his political weakness to put future generations at risk.”
Last April, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the UK Government that it needs to continue the restrictions on onshore fracking for shale gas until scientists have a better understanding of its full environmental impact.
But the call for a return to fracking in the UK has received pushback even from members of the Conservative Party.
Zac Goldsmith, the minister for the Pacific, international environment, climate and forests slammed this proposal.
He warned that a return to fracking would do nothing to reduce the UK’s reliance on Russia as most of its energy imports are from Norway.
Mr Goldsmith warned that to replace half the gas the UK imports, it would likely need to build “around 6,000 new wells, with all the associated industrial equipment & endless movements of trucks ferrying toxic chemicals & wastewater to & from sites.
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He said: “It’s hard to imagine communities across the UK being ok with that.
“And given the gas would be produced by private firms and sold at the highest price (internationally), there would likely be no measurable impact on UK gas prices anyway.
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