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CCNet 23/08/13

Balcombe Fracking Protesters Finally Give Up As Police Clears Way For Fracking

UK Shale Battle Fracks Greens 




Police walk in an arrow formation in front of lorry entering the exploratory drill site in Balcombe
 
 
  
 
There were fewer than 100 protesters left tonight at a potential fracking site as they finally admitted defeat to the police. More than 1,200 activists had brought exploratory shale gas drilling to a halt on the edge of the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, at the weekend. But after officers from more than 10 police forces pushed back campaigners from the site’s entrance allowing lorries to enter on Monday, they left in their droves. --Ryan Kisiel, Daily Mail, 22 August 2013
 
  
 
Protesters against fracking risk worsening the plight of the five million households struggling to pay their energy bills, Britain’s official fuel poverty adviser has warned. Ministers have a “duty” to promote the extraction of shale gas because it has the potential to drive down the cost of energy, according to the chairman of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. Derek Lickorish says that “the voice of the fuel poor has been lost in the current frenzy” at Balcombe, West Sussex, where the energy company Cuadrilla Resources has been targeted by anti-fracking protesters. --Tim Webb, The Times, 21 August 2013
 

 
  
One [green] group in Surrey set up to encourage sustainable living has come out in favour of exploration and fracking, the process which may have to be used in future to extract the oil and gas. Transition Dorking says it has surprised even itself. It supports community responses to climate change and shrinking supplies of energy. But it looked at the evidence and came to the conclusion producing fuel locally may be less damaging to the environment than importing fossil fuels. "There's no reason why fracking, if it is properly regulated, should not be a perfectly normal part of oil industry operations," said spokesman Nick Wright. --Sally Nancarrow, BBC News, 23 August 2013
 
 

 
Horsham Skeptics in the Pub held a public meeting on Monday August 12 where hydraulic fracturing, a controversial energy extraction technique, was discussed with several expert guest speakers at the Tanners Arms in Brighton Road. “Every community in the UK will have a view on whether they like it or not. There is no form of energy generation that is cost free for those who are affected. Everyone should know the pros and cons so a rational decision can be made,” Dr Peiser said. “We are sitting on cheap energy but we are going to the most expensive form of energy,” he explained. --West Sussex County Times, 20 August 2013
 
 
 
 
 
A handful of protesters have seemingly been allowed to threaten Britain’s entire energy future. What we are looking at here is nothing less than a new Battle of Britain — one which, if this overcrowded country is to survive as an industrial power, we simply can’t afford to lose. --Christopher Booker, Daily Mail, 20 August 2013
 
 
 
 
An unreleased draft of the U.N.’s next major climate report reportedly states that scientists are more certain than ever that man’s actions are warming the planet — even as the report struggles to explain a slow-down in warming that climate skeptics have seized upon. Global surface temperatures rose rapidly during the 70s, but have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office. Climate skeptics have spent months debating the weather pattern, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped. “The absence of any significant change in the global annual average temperature over the past 16 years has become one of the most discussed topics in climate science,” wrote David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in June. “It has certainly focused the debate about the relative importance of greenhouse gas forcing of the climate versus natural variability.” --Fox News, 20 August 2013
 
 
 
1) Balcombe Fracking Protesters Finally Give Up As Police Clears Way For Fracking - Daily Mail, 22 August 2013

2) UK Shale Battle Fracks Greens - Bishop Hill, 23 August 2013

3) Fracking Will Cut Energy Bills, Help Fuel Poor, Says Britain’s Poverty Chief - The Times, 21 August 2013

4) A Civilised Shale Debate In West Sussex - West Sussex County Times, 20 August 2013

5) Christopher Booker: We Simply Cannot Afford To Lose The Battle Over Shale - Daily Mail, 20 August 2013

6) Leaked IPCC Report Struggles With Global Temperature Standstill - Fox News, 20 August 2013
 
 
1) Balcombe Fracking Protesters Finally Give Up As Police Clears Way For Fracking
Daily Mail, 22 August 2013

Ryan Kisiel

There were fewer than 100 protesters left tonight at a potential fracking site as they finally admitted defeat to the police.

More than 1,200 activists had brought exploratory shale gas drilling to a halt on the edge of the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, at the weekend.

But after officers from more than 10 police forces pushed back campaigners from the site’s entrance allowing lorries to enter on Monday, they left in their droves.




Police walk in an arrow formation in front of lorry entering the exploratory drill site in Balcombe
Police walk in an arrow formation in front of lorry entering the exploratory drill site in Balcombe

A ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp that had been illegally set up in a farmer’s field two miles away was completely dismantled this afternoon.

Despite tents being camped out on the grass verges, traffic was not stopped and the country road was kept open by the police.

Some people who had set up camping areas on footpaths around the drill were evicted by police officers without a fuss. Their only resistance was walking slowly in front of a lorry while chanting.

One of the few remaining protesters is Natalie Hynde, daughter of Pretenders singer Chrissie and the Kinks frontman Ray Davies, who was returned after being arrested at the site for a public disorder offence last week.

It comes as energy company Cuadrilla is expected to start its exploratory drilling again soon. Engineers were yesterday again carrying out maintenance work in preparation.


Police escorted a lorry through the protesters on Wednesday as the camp was dismantled
Police escorted a lorry through the protesters on Wednesday as the camp was dismantled

 
Despite being guarded by 25 police officers, the company has hired a team of security guards with dogs to patrol the barbed wire perimeter fence.

Dave Packham, 37, who is unemployed and from London, was trying to hitch-hike back to the capital. He said: ‘I think it’s all over now. I came down last week but numbers have really dropped.

‘It was fun while it lasted and there was a great atmosphere. This has been like a music festival and people have really pulled together. I think the police are now not going to let us carry on so it’s time to move on.’

Full story
 
 
2) UK Shale Battle Fracks Greens
Bishop Hill, 23 August 2013

Andrew Montford

This is a bit of a turnup for the books:

One [green] group in Surrey set up to encourage sustainable living has come out in favour of exploration and fracking, the process which may have to be used in future to extract the oil and gas.

Transition Dorking says it has surprised even itself.

But it looked at the evidence and came to the conclusion producing fuel locally may be less damaging to the environment than importing fossil fuels.

They should expect a visitation from the climate police, I would say.
 
 
 
 
3) Fracking Will Cut Energy Bills, Help Fuel Poor, Says Britain’s Poverty Chief
The Times, 21 August 2013

Tim Webb, The Times

Protesters against fracking risk worsening the plight of the five million households struggling to pay their energy bills, Britain’s official fuel poverty adviser has warned. Ministers have a “duty” to promote the extraction of shale gas because it has the potential to drive down the cost of energy, according to the chairman of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.

Derek Lickorish says that “the voice of the fuel poor has been lost in the current frenzy” at Balcombe, West Sussex, where the energy company Cuadrilla Resources has been targeted by anti-fracking protesters.

The company wants to resume drilling an oil exploration well in the next few days now that many of the activists who flocked to the picturesque village have gone home. MPs said yesterday that the drilling should continue “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

Steve Baker, the Tory MP for Wycombe and a member of the all-party group for unconventional oil and gas, said: “No one wants dangerous things to be done and no one wants to damage the environment, but safe, proper exploration should be allowed. We cannot allow shale gas to be ignored.”

Mr Lickorish said that consumers had been excluded from the debate on shale gas, which has been dominated by politicians, environmentalists and the industry. “The voice of the fuel poor has been lost in the current frenzy taking place at Balcombe." 

Extracting natural gas from shale has the potential to reduce the cost of gas for heating and generating electricity. It’s part of the Government’s duty to explore this.” About one in five households — five million in total — are estimated to be in fuel poverty because they spend more than 10 per cent of their income on energy.

Mr Lickorish’s intervention will put pressure on the Government to spell out how exploiting shale gas deposits in Britain could benefit consumers by bringing down the cost of living.

He cited a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change which concluded that wholesale gas prices could fall by more than a fifth if shale gas production takes off in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Full story (subscription required)
 
 
 
4) A Civilised Shale Debate In West Sussex
West Sussex County Times, 20 August 2013

Communities affected by fracking will have to weigh the pros and cons to any scheme – according to the director of a leading global warming think tank speaking in Horsham.

Horsham Skeptics in the Pub (HSiP) held a public meeting on Monday August 12 where hydraulic fracturing, a controversial energy extraction technique, was discussed with several expert guest speakers at the Tanners Arms in Brighton Road.

National media attention has focused heavily on Balcombe in Mid Sussex, where energy firm Cuadrilla are carrying out exploratory drilling, but residents fear it is the first stage towards fracking in the county and have held protests over recent weeks.

Guest speakers were Jane Thomas, a senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth in England, and Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which he launched in 2009 with Conservative peer Nigel Lawson.

Dr Peiser listed the pros and cons of fracking, and talked about the case of America, where widespread fracking had led to a reduction in their carbon dioxide emissions to levels seen in the 1990s.

“We are in the midst of an energy revolution that started in the United States a few years ago,” he said.

“Every community [in the UK] will have a view on whether they like it or not. There is no form of energy generation that is cost free for those who are affected.”

He continued: “Everyone should know the pros and cons so a rational decision can be made.”
Ms Thomas argued that much more focus should be made on renewable sources of energy, including wind, tidal, and solar.

She said: “This [fracking] is another fossil fuel that will do untold damage. We are talking about the legacy we are leaving to our kids.”

She continued: “I do not think this is NIMBYism. There are some really considered responses by these people in the directly affected communities.”

However, Dr Peiser questioned the scale of renewable energy jobs being subsidised by the taxpayer, and said he could not see future politicians supporting any policy that would see energy bills soar.

“We are sitting on cheap energy but we are going to the most expensive form of energy,” he explained.

“Something else has to happen to back up the renewables.”

Deposits of shale are thought to be sizeable in the Weald Basin, but campaigners have expressed fears over water contamination, given the amount of drinking water supplied by underground chalk aquifers in West Sussex.

Simon Clare, organiser, said: “I was impressed at how both speakers acquitted themselves, with each of them respecting the other’s views yet still responding strongly to them.

“The audience, which was mostly from Sussex, did us proud by listening intently and then asking some tough questions.”

full video
 
 
5) Christopher Booker: We Simply Cannot Afford To Lose The Battle Over Shale
Daily Mail, 20 August 2013

What we are looking at here is nothing less than a new Battle of Britain — one which, if this overcrowded country is to survive as an industrial power, we simply can’t afford to lose.

This may be the silly season, but we should be rubbing our eyes in disbelief at the insanity of what has been going on in Balcombe.

A handful of protesters have seemingly been allowed to threaten Britain’s entire energy future.

It was pitiful enough that, until yesterday, the police were apparently unable to stop a self-regarding gaggle of activists and mini-celebs from halting the wholly legal operations of a company planning to drill for oil in a Sussex field.

But what makes this terrifying is that the fog of misconceptions that fills the heads of those ‘eco-campaigners’ threatens to derail the unexpected chance we have been given to restore a vestige of sanity to our suicidal energy policy, and to put this country back on the track to economic recovery.

The obsession that drives these deluded people, of course, is with ‘fracking’: the means whereby we can hope to tap into immense reserves of cheap gas and oil from the vast beds of shale rock which underlie much of Britain.

These protesters believe fracking is a monstrous enterprise that will set off earthquakes, pollute water supplies and set bathroom taps ablaze with leaking gas.

This is pure fantasy. Scarcely an iota of their scare story bears any relation to reality. 
For a start there is nothing new or untested about ‘fracking’, which involves firing high-powered jets of water into shale rock to fracture it and so release pockets of gas and oil contained inside. 

It has been practised successfully for years across the Atlantic and proved so rewarding that it is transforming the U.S. economy.

In the past five years, thousands of fracking operations across the U.S. have driven down gas prices by more than two-thirds, slashing energy bills and giving a huge boost to the recession-hit U.S. economy just when it was desperately needed.

Furthermore, where it has been carried out responsibly, fracking has produced none of the environmental horrors the scaremongers have dreamed up (only one or two rogue operations have inflicted damage locally).

Altogether this has seemed like a miracle, not only enabling the U.S. to become energy self-sufficient for the first time in decades, but to reduce its carbon emissions to their lowest level in 20 years (because burning gas gives off only half the CO2 emitted by coal).

A colossal boon this may be for America, but there is no country on earth that needs such a miracle more than Britain, where our energy bills are still soaring.

That’s not least because of the disastrous skewing of our energy policy by the obsession of successive governments with one ‘green’ fantasy after another.

Not only are taxes and regulations closing down the coal-fired power stations that still supply more than a third of the electricity needed to keep our lights on, but the biggest make-believe of all is the target agreed with the EU.

This commits us in six years to producing nearly a third of our electricity from ludicrously subsidised wind farms, solar panels and other ‘renewables’.

The penny is finally dropping with sane observers that however many hundreds of square miles of countryside and sea we cover with wind turbines, this will do nothing to keep our electricity supplies reliable, thanks to unpredictable changes in wind speed.

With no new nuclear power plants likely for more than a decade, the only hope of maintaining a reliable energy supply will be gas.

What a time, then, to discover we may have potentially enough cheap gas thousands of feet below the ground to fuel as dramatic a turnaround in our energy future as is being demonstrated in America.

So what happens? Scarcely has this amazing possibility been opened up to us than we see the grotesque spectacle of a vocal mob of protesters being allowed to hijack the debate and dominate the national headlines with their ragbag of crackpot objections.

How have they been allowed to get away with it (not least with the aid of the similarly green-obsessed BBC, which has given the activists  endless airtime to trot out their claims)?

Of course, one can understand the concerns of villagers in Balcombe, who are unnerved at the prospect of a drilling tower being installed just a few hundred feet from their homes. 

But it is not they who were finally removed kicking and screaming by legions of police yesterday: that was a group of organised and aggressively vocal protesters.

(How ironic that yesterday’s scenes recalled the clashes of 1984 when Arthur Scargill’s miners were trying to keep Yorkshire’s coal pits open and so make use of what natural resources Britain has.)

It is no accident that many of those who rushed to parade their malevolent ignorance around Balcombe have simply moved on from their earlier self-indulgent manifestation as members of the Occupy movement, which last  year closed St Paul’s  Cathedral in the name of bringing down capitalism.

They are bloody-minded trouble-makers who will challenge authority wherever they can.
With the arrival of figures such as the fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood in their midst, their cause is being given more prominence than it deserves.

Crucially, though, what has happened goes beyond anything we have seen in recent times because the matter at hand is so vital to the national interest.

It is deeply worrying to see these people being taken so seriously when their latest fashionable cause is potentially so destructive to our country’s future.

Already, the ‘mass civil  disobedience’ actions of this  group in Sussex have led to Cuadrilla, the company  planning to drill the well, announcing it will suspend operations there. (How ironic that the same protesters  seem quite oblivious to the damage being done to  our environment by those  thousands of bird-and-bat-slaughtering wind turbines, which also cause large amounts of noise pollution.)

So, why did the authorities seem so paralysed in their response to the Balcombe protests over the weekend, giving the protesters the upper hand and forcing Cuadrilla to shut up shop?

At the heart of this public relations disaster for fracking is the fact that the Government has failed to set out clearly the arguments in its favour — or to stress the extent of the energy crisis.

We have heard fairly limp support for fracking from David Cameron and even our green Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey. But the Coalition has been horribly wrong-footed in Balcombe.


For months, it has been clear that the more extreme fanatics in the green movement had switched their attention to fracking as the latest focus for their cause. 

Scarcely a single village around where I live in the West Country did not have a meeting in expensively hired halls, at which anti-fracking campaigners peddled the most extraordinary nonsense to bemused villagers lured in by scary leaflets.

Ministers should have woken up months ago to what was going on, long before this organised hysteria was allowed to get out of hand. 

They should have put the case for fracking and cheap energy loud and clear, setting out just why it needs to be moved to the top of the national agenda.

What we are looking at here is nothing less than a new Battle of Britain — one which, if this overcrowded country is to survive as an industrial power, we simply can’t afford to lose.
For better or worse, Britain needs fracking. The Chancellor George Osborne has set out his support for it in his so-called Dash for Gas plan.

But if the scenes we have  witnessed at Balcombe — with police reluctant or unable to impose the rule of law — are repeated every time a fracking site is developed, we will simply never get this fledgling industry off the ground.

And the day when Britain  simply runs out of power will draw ever nearer.

 
 
6) Leaked IPCC Report Struggles With Global Temperature Standstill
Fox News, 20 August 2013

An unreleased draft of the U.N.’s next major climate report reportedly states that scientists are more certain than ever that man’s actions are warming the planet — even as the report struggles to explain a slow-down in warming that climate skeptics have seized upon.

Global surface temperatures rose rapidly during the 70s, but have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office. Climate skeptics have spent months debating the weather pattern, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped.

“The absence of any significant change in the global annual average temperature over the past 16 years has become one of the most discussed topics in climate science,” wrote David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in June. “It has certainly focused the debate about the relative importance of greenhouse gas forcing of the climate versus natural variability.”

A draft of the upcoming AR5 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is set for final release in Oct. 2014 and used by governments around the world, offers a variety of explanations for the mystery, Reuters reported, from ocean storage of heat to volcanoes.

“Scientists believe causes could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide,” explained Reuters environment correspondent Alister Doyle.

The draft expresses “medium confidence” that the slowing in global warming “due in roughly equal measure” to those factors, Reuters said.

“It might be down to minor contributions that all add up,” said Gabriele Hegerl, a professor at Edinburgh University told the news agency. Or maybe the latest decade is simply a statistical blip, an anomaly in a larger trend.

Climate bloggers were quick to dismiss all of the possible explanations for the slow down in heating up.

“All of these fatuous figures are pulled out of the air to support the IPCC ideologies and not based upon any statistical analysis or science,” said Marc Morano, a particularly outspoken climate skeptic who writes the popular blog Climate Depot.

The U.N. arm responsible for the report released a statement to FoxNews.com on Monday stating that it was premature to draw conclusions from the leaked draft.

Full story
 

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