Why oppose fracking?

Fracking is a nightmare! Toxic and radioactive water contamination. Severe air pollution. Tens of thousands of wells, pipelines and compressor stations devastating our countryside and blighting communities. All while accelerating climate change. And to produce expensive gas that will soon run out.

Fracking - an aerial view
Coming to the UK soon? A fracked landscape in Wyoming, USA (Photo: Simon Fraser University)

A tidal wave of extreme energy extraction is sweeping across the globe, of which unconventional oil and gas extraction (fracking) is a major component. It is being driven by the progressive depletion of easier to extract fossil fuels which is leading to the exploitation of increasingly harder to extract resources. This process in itself has severe effects on human societies but the more immediate effects where the extraction takes place are becoming all too obvious.

The evidence from the US, Canada and Australia – where tens of thousands of shale oil, shale gas and coal bed methane (CBM) wells have already been drilled – that fracking destroys water supplies, air quality and people’s health has been mounting for years and is now becoming very difficult to ignore. Beyond these more well known issues lurks a whole host of local and regional impacts, from frack sand to ‘orphaned’ wells.

Fracking rig in Lancashire
Fracking rig in Lancashire (Photo: K A)

Globally, we can afford to burn considerably less than half (perhaps only a quarter) of known conventional fossil fuel reserves and still have some chance of maintaining a liveable planet. Any exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels is putting the world on a path to a devastated future. That said, the cumulative effect of all the local impacts spread over the vast areas needed by fracking cannot be underestimated.

If we do not make a stand fracking will lead us into a hellish future. While fracking is bad, it is also very short term, and the greatest threat it poses is actually as a gateway to even more extreme extraction methods. The UK government is already selling licences for underground coal gasification (UCG), literally setting fire to coal underground, to try to extract energy.

Fracking in the UK would require tens of thousands of wells to be drilled, severely impact local water resources and be completely incompatible with the UK’s carbon emissions targets.

For more information read these fracking myths and facts.

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