Aladdin, Goldilocks and Fracking

3bearsIf energy markets had a pantomime, 2014’s would need a double bill: Aladdin and Goldilocks.

Aladdin is played by OPEC, an irony I couldn’t resist pointing out to an interviewer from Saudi TV last week: They’re trying to put the shale genie back in the bottle. Needless to say it won’t co-operate.

There are far more than three bears up for the Goldilocks role. We need a Goldilocks price for oil that keeps OPEC, Oklahoma, Russia, Algeria, LNG and Greens all happy. Something just right. $60 might do.

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Fracking, oil prices and the new Green reactionaries impact on the UK 2015 election

reactionarytwoThe UK fracking debate has so far concentrated on natural gas, not oil. It’s just as probable that there is is plenty of oil to be found associated, or even dominant, in various UK shales, allowing us to replicate the US success in shale oil. Those who insist on no fracking anywhere ever, as many shale opponents do, are either as ignorant as in the rest of the debate, or as selective: They simply don’t want to point out how the recent fall in oil is directly attributable to fracking. Joe Nocera in the New York Times recently noted:

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New York Fracking ban: a victory for neurotics, hypocrites and the sanctimonious

 YOF2-200-200x200A long time ago, in another country and another life, I was in a room in Albany, the capital of New York State and was very disappointed I didn’t have the opportunity to shake Governor Mario Cuomo’s hand and congratulate him on a brave political decision. That decision, which ultimately destroyed all hopes of him receiving the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1988 was his choice to consistently go against perceived political wisdom and go with his conscience, on the subject of the re-introduction of the death penalty in New York State.   

I doubt I would actively seek to greet Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose New York State Department of Health review of fracking has destroyed any chances of his presidential ambitions. New York Democratic Party politics are famously purist, and consistently divorced from the rest of the national party. Cuomo had dithered for years over fracking. (His father was described as the Hamlet of Albany for his hesitation on the presidency.)  In 20121 New York State published a strategic environmental assessment that covered multiple issues of environment, health, pollution, economy and climate, and did so in a structured science based on results that infuriated environmentalists with it’s supportive tone. 

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Fake Fracking Experts and deliberate distortions: All the anti-frackers have left

charlatansAs the overwhelming impact of fracking on the environment, climate and renewable energy becomes clearly either non-existent or positive, tactics used by the dwindling band of protestor/objectors are jumping from the fanciful to the downright devious. If you can’t win on fact, start lying. Earlier this year, I pointed out how anti shale campaigners use the same techniques they accuse climate change “deniers” of using, specifically including 

        fake experts. These are individuals who purport to be experts in a particular area but whose views are entirely inconsistent with established knowledge.

The use of fake experts is often complemented by denigration of established experts and researchers, with accusations and innuendo that seek to discredit their work and cast doubt on their motivations. 

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Local Carbon Energy is Low Carbon Energy

think-global-act-localWhy is gas and oil extraction tied in the public eye with damaging the countryside?  There are a number of reasons, but London Local Energy wants to change the conversation about energy in a positively disruptive way. What if we can have it both ways? Using a new model of urbanism and encouraging cities to access local energy sources helps everyone – wherever they may choose to live.

There are many in the UK who see onshore gas and oil as inevitably industrialising the countryside. Too often, they are urban based journalists or activists who have made the choice not to live in rural areas. It’s worth remembering that living in cities is far more CO2 efficient than living in the back of beyond. Even those living in rural zero carbon homes self-generating power, depend on high CO2 methods to deliver services – food, transport, health, education,police, and of course back up power.  Yet many city people hark to an idyll of Arcadia – an idyll that rural people themselves are rarely nostalgic for. John Kemp of Reuters described the disconnect recently

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