The Green Wall of Deaf.

Last week, Stephen Tindale, director of UK Greenpeace wrote a piece supporting shale gas from a green perspective in The Sun, Britain’s largest circulation newspaper.

A surprising viewpoint from a lifelong Green who oppose fracking

But today Britain faces its biggest environmental challenge ever — tackling global warming while still keeping the lights on.

And as a lifelong champion of the Green cause, I’m convinced that fracking is not the problem but a central part of the answer.

But it fell on deaf ears. Deaf Green Ears.

I know Stephen and I’m sure he would prefer it to have appeared in  The Guardian. After all, I know his politics are much like mine -Labour (Sadiq Khan London wing) and Remain. The Sun, by no means the worst UK tabloid, is not a natural home for greens,  given it’s Murdoch ownership and it’s strident right wing tone is unlikely to have few green readers. I assume The Guardian was deaf to his pitch, just as they have been for mine.

On one hand, it struck me as yet another example of the UK shale industry spending what little resources they have to preach to the already converted. But it is the complete lack of reaction from the UK Green Side that speaks volumes. There was a communal wall of silence around the article from all the climate side: Guardian, Business Green, Independent, Carbon Brief, ECIU, Edie, Aldersgate Group, Green Alliance, 1010 etc were united in ignoring the issue and none of them  reported or responded. We need those people on board. After all they not only trumpet shale as an enemy of renewables at any and every opportunity, they also profess that the one clear challenge of the day is global warming. They also support Greenpeace and FoE anti shale projects which outnumber industry ones by orders of magnitude.

But all steadfastly refuse to engage. They’re simply Green bullies. Always attacking, always sniping and never, ever able to man or woman up enough to explain their objections in anything less than an occasional tweet or a derisory throw away line based on the same stuff they’ve been saying since 2009.

This from Stephen resonates:

I’ve tried to ask green groups if they would really prefer to get their power from slave labour rather than fracking — but they don’t have an answer to that.

So shale gas is good for meeting our energy needs. It’s good for protecting the environment. And it’s good for human rights.

Of course, these views have put me at odds with many of my former colleagues in the environmental movement.

Interestingly, the negative response to my views on fracking has actually been much stronger than when I changed my position to support nuclear power — which just goes to show how hostile this debate has become.

And I thought it was just me. Leo Hickman, director of Carbon Brief for example accuses me of arrogance. The same charge has been made of me by the PR guru behind Ineos Shale by the way. I’m not especially arrogant, I’m like the character described in Paul Theroux’s book and film The Mosquito Coast.

“Allie, your father is the worst type of pain in the ass. He’s always right”.

(Except to my own children, I hasten to add).

Over the past 8 years here, one can  return to almost any random article going back years, and I predicted what at that time sounded completely off the wall by ‘conventional wisdom’ of the day. All this in retrospect proved to be true. (Sadly I have an undeserved reputation among global energy analysts as being so right about almost everything that I must be well on the road to riches by now). What mostly happened is that PR guys have stolen every word I say. To paraphrase Gandhi, first they laugh at you, then they argue with you, then they hate you and ultimately they steal your work and pretend they always felt that way. That’s certainly not the case with Stephen I might add, who wrote his/our case on his own blog and mine some time back.

Google Stephen’s name however and there’s nothing from his former colleagues. Stephen still makes money pushing new nuclear and tidal barrages, whereas I just stick to natural gas. The gaps in Stephens’ knowledge about gas came out in a BBC Daily Politics show piece earlier this week in his not calling out Lancashire Nana Tina Rothery’s mis-statements on LNG and something pretty basic that made the headline hers not his.

Fracking won’t come on line for 10 to 15 years

This insane headline, which flies in the face of any US experience stems from one rubbish study on UK fracking dating from 2009, the dark ages of fracking. The US experience shows otherwise, this being an example from just today:

Bob Orndorff with Dominion: West Virginia has seen a 280 % increase in dry gas production from 2010 to 2014
26/10/2016, 14:25

But Tina’s misconceptions are now all over the BBC and celebrated as gospel by not only Tina’s clique, but by people who don’t know, and don’t care, about natural gas. People in places like:

Guardian, Business Green, Independent, Carbon Brief, ECIU, Edie, Aldersgate Group, Green Alliance , 1010 etc

I’ve been on Daily Politics a couple of times, but I’m probably not too popular with them because of my arrogance against Brexit these days. Perhaps they think my predictions about that joke will be equally as clairvoyant.

The issue is that the BBC has a responsibility to show “balance”. One can say that’s unwise considering Brexit, just as the US press is having some soul searching in the free pass they gave to Donald Trump all these years. But for now, in BBC Land, every position must be “balanced”.  And weirdly,  Tina was the only one they could dig up. Tina Rothery suggests that Cuadrilla’s drilling decision is a travesty against democracy while never mentioning how she ran against George Osborne and got 3.8% of the vote by the way.

But it’s Tina’s supporters and paymasters who were absent. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth appear very often on College Green outside Parliament, in front of the BBC and Sky News studio at 4 Millbank, They certainly have enough anti fracking demonstrations on the grass, but aren’t willing to engage on the screen. After the recent Fox fiasco on BBC R4 Today, perhaps Tony Bosworth and Craig Bennnet of Friends of the Earth or Lawrence Carter or Doug Parr of Greenpeace were at the bottom of the producer’s list

But, strangely enough,, Damian Carrington of the Guardian , James Murray of Business Green, Leo Hickman, Megan Darby and Simon Evans of Carbon Brief or Richard Black and George Smeeton of ECIU , hardly shrinking violets in their support of renewables and climate issues in every other media, also seemed to have turned down the chance to confront their fears and have a polite, collegial debate. It would have been nice to have Bryn Kewley of E3G or Dustin Benton of the Green Alliance on there too.

All of the above are continual snipers, naysayers and general saboteurs of UK onshore natural gas. They could easily make mincemeat out of people like the mysterious, invisible and very well paid spokesperson for UKOOG Averill MacDonald, but they didn’t want to engage with Stephen, for much the same reason they consistently refuse to engage with me.  They prefer to cast the oil and gas industry as distant pantomime villains. The last thing they would like their supporters to see is a rational, climate based progressive argument in favour of natural gas from people who don’t want to play the villain. They especially love to dismiss anyone from the gas industry as an enemy of the climate, air, water, land and progressive political values. They say the most brutal wars are civil wars.  That’s why these cowards won’t debate Stephen or I.

Thus, Stephen’s appearance got far more reaction in the US press, albeit among the US fracking claque echo chambers in places like the Washington Times instead of the New York Times.

Don’t ask me what the answer is, although brains and money are always useful in these kind of things. The essential problem is that the anti –frackers think they have won and don’t want to be confronted with any of those fact thingies anymore than the Brexit and Trump supporters and their disdain for “experts” do. As long as they hide, and don’t reveal any uncomfortable facts from their followers, they’re winning.

The Deaf Green Claque are simply bullies. They’re chickens.  But all chickens come home to roost, slowly, but surely. There’s one chicken one day, two the next week and a few the next month. Chickens always arrive at the roost – but not all at once. One day, everybody will simply notice : they’re here.

Above Ground Risk in the UK Shale Industry. Peak Protest?

A great piece directed towards the gas and industry audience this week in Upstream Online. Some highlights:

The UK government’s decision to overturn local council objections to shale gas drilling in the north of England is a significant step forward for the industry….

Although the issue was quickly investigated, the shale debate has been dominated in the intervening period, largely by critics from environmental groups and local communities.

That has made it hard for local councils to give go-aheads, even if they felt minded to on the basis of jobs and other benefits.

A new post-Brexit vote national government, however, has the headwind to make bold decisions.

It has already given the green light to a controversial new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and has now moved to face down the anti-frackers by siding with Cuadrilla Resources in Lancashire….

The UK shale industry now has clear and unequivocal backing from the government and should be able to proceed with new wells.

But the battle to win public acceptance is far from won.

Continue reading Above Ground Risk in the UK Shale Industry. Peak Protest?

Could this be the winter UK lights flicker?

As some may know I have a background in energy markets and procurement.  I was a spectacularly unsuccessful energy consultant in the commercial sector because I honestly wanted to give the best price to the customer. The best price was to go month or day ahead gas and power prices and everything worked out  in the end.  Fretting about making the right decision for a one (or longer!) year fixed price was basically a waste of time.  So I had very happy customers, not happy bosses when the customers wised up that they could do it for themselves.

A key meme for British energy consultants was pushing  a particularly British obsession “If  the Lights go Out”.  I never bought that story, (even if I appeared in part 2 of that programme).  So I’m going to be on the record and say that this winter, yep, I’m worried.  And if I’m worried you should be worried. Continue reading Could this be the winter UK lights flicker?

India, London and natural gas. Connected more than you may think.

There’s a great natural gas story brewing in India.  Since there were 1.4 million British Indians in the 2011 census, and not many are members of the Friends of the Earth judging by this from their website..

We are keen to encourage applications from people currently under-represented in the environment movement, for example, black and minority ethnic people, and women in senior positions.

…the UK natural gas industry is missing a trick in explaining not only the advantages of shale to this important community here in the UK but to their families back home. They certainly won’t hear it from Friends of the Earth.

Continue reading India, London and natural gas. Connected more than you may think.

The Good News – and the Bad – about UK shale gas

Last week’s approval of Cuadrilla’s planning application after an arduous process will be the first step towards the next stage of UK shale gas.  It does promise to create the precedents in planning that will make far easier/quicker/cheaper for others to follow. We leave it now to history to argue the past five years.  Although Friends of the Earth are considering/threatening legal action much of the UK shale controversy is most likely all over bar the shouting.

Continue reading The Good News – and the Bad – about UK shale gas

6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help


Reader Joe Thomas asked if I was interested in publishing this, and in the interest of debate I’m more than happy to.  I feel strongly that the gas industry needs to take on environmentalists concerns over the wider picture and build bridges, not walls between us.

I’m sure this won’t convince some readers, and it didn’t all convince me either.  But it’s a start of a debate, and one where I agree with a high percentage of it.  The entire climate debate is complicated.  It doesn’t help to shout slogans at one another.  Once the sloganeering stops, theres still a lot of work to do. We all live on this earth and whatever our impact is, or is not,  it’s good to listen to the other side. Only then may we realise how much we share in common and concentrate on that.

By Joe Thomas  www.allgreenpr

 Joe is a writer for allgreenpr, who creates articles on a range of subjects, including sustainability and environmental issues.

6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help

In the time that it has taken you to read this sentence, you have fallen through an eternal expanse of stars at approximately 460 metres a second. Clinging to a green and blue ball of rock awash in this endless sea, one could easily be forgiven for feeling very small and insignificant next to the enormity of existence. But despite the seemingly unyielding permanence of it all, our place within the cosmic scheme has never been under greater threat.

In our ever ambitious bid to become the masters of the world around us, our dependence on plundering the riches of the planet has in fact done the opposite and made us slaves to its bounty, addicts who are incapable of sating our desire for resources that once consumed are never coming back. Whilst political bodies across the world have all too slowly come to realise this and come to various agreements to reverse the damage wreaked on the environment, the wheels of industry all too often have no such conscience.

Continue reading 6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help

Everyone gets Food Miles. Let’s start thinking Energy Miles

I live in London, and  recently had lunch  in a restaurant in the Hoxton area. Hoxton is London’s Hipster Central, an up and coming area where media types and guilt ridden young and highly paid analysts from nearby investment banks, commingle with others in the tribes of London. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish the males. Is that a bearded hipster clad in black or is it a Hasidic rabbi or a Muslim Imam? Hipsters have their own codes, and much like the rabbi and the imam, to them diet is a key part of daily life. Hipsters love local food and this restaurant’s menu, alongside catering to every possible food allergy or dietary preference, also listed food miles. This is  a demographic who, belonging to the same urban green tribe as environmentalists and academics, would be horrified to think gas from “fracking” could touch them in any way.  It would be unclean.

Continue reading Everyone gets Food Miles. Let’s start thinking Energy Miles

Gas saves lives, empowers women. How could Food and Water Watch hate that?

US pipeline protestors like Sandra Steingraber not only pretend that slowing down LNG export infrastructure somehow saves the earth, they also pretend that it is a battle than empowers people in less developed countries in general and women in particular.  They really need to be confronted with the consequences of their actions: Banning fracking kills women.  Here’s how.  It’s complicated Sandra, but one has to go to real women with real problems, not rich American narcissists who are convinced they alone have the solutions to make women’s lives matter.

Continue reading Gas saves lives, empowers women. How could Food and Water Watch hate that?

Yorkshire natural gas and global warming

I’ve been in the natural gas business for over 25 years and follow recent events in Yorkshire with interest. Northern England may have, if we are allowed to look, a globally significant natural gas resource. Among other issues, it’s ironic how anti gas protestors insist onshore gas isn’t viable even as they fight tooth and nail against giving the industry giving them a chance to be proven right.

Even so, I am in total agreement with Friends of the Earth (FoE), Frack Free North Yorkshire and Frack Free Ryedale in viewing climate change as the greatest issue of our time – but not one that should be twisted to fight local natural gas. The evidence is clear: 97% of climate scientists agree human caused climate change is a physical fact.

The FoE often demonise the gas industry as faceless right wing cabal. I voted Remain this year and Sadiq Khan for Mayor of London. I  support the truly progressive campaigns by the Friends of the Earth for bees and welcoming refugees. But I cannot, for the life of me, understand their opposition to onshore natural gas. Continue reading Yorkshire natural gas and global warming

From Zero to Hero: UK Shale will prevail

2016 has shown that predicting anything, anywhere on politics is for the brave. I’ll be brave and assume that by next Thursday, October 6, the interminable planning permission saga in Lancashire will draw to an almost close. I say almost because Friends of the Earth in a suicidal attempt to squander members’ money better served defending the countryside, bees and the rights of refugees, will drag Cuadrilla or the council or the government into court, just as they have with Third Energy in Yorkshire. But with Third already having an accelerated hearing in late November on their application any delay promises to be minimal. Continue reading From Zero to Hero: UK Shale will prevail

UK based but with a global scope, No Hot Air provides information on various energy issues but especially in the global implications of shale gas.