The United Nations panel of climate change scientists has urged rapid action to bring down greenhouse gas emissions or face disaster.
Yet to read much of the British press, you’d think they’d thrown their weight behind David Cameron’s plans to roll out fracking for shale gas across Britain.
This relies on taking out of context half of a quote from one of the scientists involved in the report. He pointed out that burning shale gas emits less greenhouse gas per unit than burning some other fossil fuels such as coal.
But that would only apply if burning more shale gas led to burning less of other fuels.
In fact it’s more likely to do the opposite. Britain’s “shale gas revolution” would tie us in to increasing fossil fuel use for a generation, and massively increase the total emissions.
The comparison also fails to take into account the massive environmental dangers that fracking creates, such as water contamination and earthquakes.
The real message is that we need a system that wastes far less energy, and to generate it through genuinely sustainable technologies like the wind power that the Tories now oppose.
We have the resources to do this, and make everyone’s life better in the process.
But putting profit first stands in the way.
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