Owen Paterson: Pushing for UK Shale Gas Development – Wind farms are not the answer

Posted: September 18, 2012 by tallbloke in climate, Energy, Politics

In a recent talkshop post I introduced Owen Paterson, the UK’s new energy minister following the cabinet reshuffle. It looks like he’s hit the ground running:

Wind farms are not the answer to solving the climate change problem, Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, has suggested. In his first interview in the job, Mr Paterson has admitted being “sceptical” about climate change policies, such as wind farms that need large subsidies. The Conservative right-winger, who took over the role last week, acknowledged global warming exists but stopped short of saying it is an entirely man-made problem. His comments are likely to alarm green groups as part of his new department’s official role is to help prepare Britain for climate change.
Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2012

In Britain, determined moves are at last being made to reverse the Government’s grudging negativity towards our own vast shale gas reserves, led by our new Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, who seems to be winning surprising support for his enthusiasm for shale gas from key officials in his own department and the Environment Agency, which has regulatory responsibility for this new industry. After years when our energy policy was being dictated by green wishful thinking, by the likes of Lord Deben and by state-subsidised pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth, reality is at long last breaking in. The green make-believe that has cast such a malign spell over our country for far too long is finally on the run. Truly, last week was history being made.

What makes all this even more significant, however, is that it is taking place against the background of a truly astonishing worldwide energy revolution. As can be seen from the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, country after country is now rushing to exploit the shale gas that, in the past four years, has more than halved gas prices in the US. China, Germany, France, Russia, South Africa and others all have immense reserves that promise to provide the world with cheap energy for centuries to come.
Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 16 September 2012

H/T to Turbobloke

So, I wonder how touchy-feely Dave Cameron and Nick Clegg are today.  There are various claims and counterclaims made for the effects of fracking on aquifers etc. I would imagine the govt. will be careful to ensure best practices are followed by the infant industry.

  1. Caz says:

    Why is support from regulators surprising? The more regulations they have to regulate, the more regulators they can create.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Owen Paterson has a couple of problems to face: Ed Davey and the Climate Change Committee. Davey (Energy and Climate Change Secretary) wants a low-carbon energy policy (no surprise), and the CCC says a ‘dash for gas’ would be illegal because it would breach the Climate Change Act. Something’s gotta give…

  3. Brian H says:

    Hilariously, shale gas use is also key to cutting CO2 emissions (about half the heat from burning it comes from oxidization of hydrogen into water — note that the word “hydrogen” means water-maker!). The US CO2 emission is dropping because of gas replacement for coal in power generation, while the EU’s and China’s are rising.

    Which is a pity, since CO2 is such a valuable resource, whose production should be maximized for the sake of agriculture.

  4. […] of our energy generation system have caused a rift to open up between the government’s newly reshuffled energy ministry and the government’s Climate Change Committee, of which sir Brian is a […]