The fracking issue is shaking things up again—and we’re not (just) talking about the earthquake in Alberta. The UK government has banned fracking across national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) in England, effectively protecting 40% of shale areas. The even bigger news is that the Scottish government has banned fracking across all of Scotland, albeit temporarily.
At a critical time in the climate change debate within the UK and globally this is one step forward and two steps back. As Environmental Audit Committee Chair Joan Walley MP puts it:
“Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely. There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health.”
While Scotland breathes a sigh of relief, the ban is only temporary. Businesses and individuals will need to keep the pressure on to make it permanent. And at Ben & Jerry’s we believe the debate needs to move beyond bans on fracking – the goal has to be 100% renewables. Burning the fossil fuel we’ve already got lying around would be enough to take us beyond our two-degree speed limit as it is. Allowing an even faster way to pump fossil fuels into the mainstream, no matter how clean and safe, only makes things worse.
Climate change is here. Let’s not add fuel to the fire. As our founder, Ben Cohen, puts it: “If it’s melted, it’s ruined.”