So it turns out that fracking for shale gas really is more effective at making the earth move than all the onanism of the enviros over windmills. We should thus get on with drilling and stop building the bird-choppers.
In a shocking surprise anyone attuned to the way government actually works, this is in fact what is about to happen. Or at least what the current Government seems to be inching towards, after an official report found that the technique caused two small earthquakes last year (one of them near Blackpool) but recommended the wider use of it nonetheless.
Welcome to the most important point you never get taught about economics: there are no such things as solutions. All we’ve got, all we can ever have, is a series of trade-offs. Are there problems with fracking for shale gas? Sure there are: it causes earthquakes, as this report confirms. I’ve written elsewhere about US reports into the contamination of groundwater and yes, this too happens. Almost all of those cases come from inadequate care of water and chemicals being used and spilt on the surface. The one case that might be of deep contamination, of contamination of an aquifer, is due to the very odd geology of the area.
And yes, fracking is noisy, noisome and annoying, and we would all really rather no one did it in our back garden.
On the other hand, this “civilisation” thing is pretty good too. The fact that we can heat our hovels, that something gets piped in to turn that tartare into burger, that we have plentiful hot water to keep the lice count down – all of these are among the things that have made the last century or two the most pleasant to live in of all human history.