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In the face of consistent community opposition the Government seems set on moving ahead with controversial fracking plans.
The UK Government’s announcement last week that Ministers would intervene if councils don’t come to a decision within 16 weeks on fracking proposals appears to be in stark contrast with the levels of opposition seen virtually everywhere that applications have been filed. This issue has been given fresh impetus with the announcement yesterday that large areas of Yorkshire, the north-west and the east Midlands are to be opened up to fracking.
The Government has previously stated that they will go ‘all out’ for shale, under the belief that fracked gas would make the UK more energy independent, provide jobs and it is ‘cleaner’ than oil or coal. This argument appears to fail in addressing the most immediate concern for communities regarding the impact from fracking on the surrounding environment and local water sources. A recent victory for a community campaign opposing fracking in Lancashire appeared to signal a landmark victory for the anti fracking movement. The most recent language coming from Downing Street, however, indicates that communities might soon be having to take on the Government itself in continuing the fight against fracking.
Clare Fussell from The Climate Coalition, a group of the UK’s leading NGOs on climate, says "Giving the green light to further fossil fuel exploration is a step in the wrong direction for the UK government. Instead of rushing ahead with fracking, the UK needs to put much more investment into safe, clean technology to power a low carbon future. Now is the time to up our game in the run up to the Paris climate talks in November."
In the face of this community opposition and conflicting evidence around the impact from fracking, it is hard to see the argument for a fast-tracked process!
Add your voice to the campaign.
Community organising has made the difference in places such as Balcombe and Lancashire and it is people power that can continue to lead the movement against fracking as these new licenses are opened up.
On top of the local challenges, at a time when the evidence is clear that we are at a tipping point globally in addressing climate change, it doesn’t make any sense to be seeking out new ways to emit carbon. Even on estimates of existing commercially viable fossil fuels we would need to keep two thirds of them in the ground to keep below the IPCC’s widely agreed 2 degrees maximum increase in global temperatures. We need a fundamental shift in the global economy to do this and 2015 is the year that we have the opportunity to do it. Global leaders are meeting in Paris in December to agree a deal on combatting climate change and we need to increase the pressure on them to move the global economy towards a low carbon future.
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