Society report acknowledged health risks
Sean Russell Friend (Bath Chronicle, February 7) is worried because he has read of Royal Society support for fracking. What did the society say?
The June 2012 report, Shale gas extraction in the UK, acknowledged health and safety risks associated with fracking, including contamination of aquifers, from faulty wells, and leaks and spills from surface operations.
These, the report says, are common to all oil and gas wells and extractive activities, including fracking.
Hazardous chemicals use would make these worse.
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The Royal Society does not recommend that extraction of shale gas. It says that adverse health, safety and environmental impacts could be "managed effectively" through strict regulation's enforcing operational best practice. Local people may have an opinion as to whether such leaks and spills are acceptable in Bath and the Mendips.
Sean Russell Friend's conclusions seems to result from the letter (Bath Chronicle, January 17) of Mónica Cristina, spokesman of the oil and gas industry pressure group "Shale Gas Europe".
She implies that the Government's scientific advisers support shale gas exploitation, yet ignores the scientific advice of the Climate Change Committee that the extensive use of gas to produce electricity is incompatible with meeting statutory requirements to reduce carbon emissions. In other words, such use of shale gas would move climate change towards the point of no return, leading to an environmental "domino effect" where (in the words of Andrew Sims) "in a volatile and unpredictable dynamic, things such as melting ice and the release of carbon from the planet's surface are set to feed off each other, accelerating and reinforcing the warming effect". Last year's flooding would look trivial.
Tax incentives for shale gas recently announced by the Chancellor with the acquiescence of the Liberal Democrats, might delight the gas and oil industry, but will make uncontrollable climate change more likely.
David Packham Lippiatt Lane, Timsbury