So what could we do instead of Shale gas dad?
My son asked me this the other day – he’s a teenager and into asking awkward questions 🙂 He’s not alone though – The question which is regularly flung at us is “well if you don’t want shale gas what would you do instead to keep the lights on, keep granny warm, keep us from keeping the Qataris in Ferraris?”
It’s a question which needs serious thought and makes us have to think about whether we want to, or can continue to use fuel with our current abandon. I use a computer, I drive a car and I seldom eat lentils outside of an Indian Restaurant, but I can see that we need to take a long hard look at things instead of rushing headlong into ruining our countryside to get an easy fix of carbon. It’s like watching a drug addict breaking into a house so he can get another hit of crack. It’s understandable but it is definitely not right.
One answer is that we need to question some of the more profligate consumption patterns which exist – a simple example is the huge waste of power incurred in illuminating shops a night and offices at night and over weekends when they are not being used.
Another answer is that we need a coherent energy policy to be drawn up by politicians who are not in thrall to the lobbyists of the energy companies. This policy should concentrate on renewables – you don’t have to be a rabid climate change campaigner to understand that having cheap and limitless power which doesn’t pollute is generally a good thing.
It would be naive to suggest that we can switch over to renewables at short notice, but we do have to recognise where years of inaction by politicians of all hues have left us.
For an example let’s look at this table showing how the UK ranks in comparison to other European countries in replacing finite carbon with renewables
It shows the share of renewable energy as a % of gross final energy consumption.
The UK’s performance shows just how far our politicians have to go, and how they have failed to grasp the nettle in this incredibly important area. Now they are telling us that a dash for gas is the only way to square the circle.
If I were a teacher I’d have to comment “Could do better!”
If they had we probably wouldn’t be contemplating this ludicrous fracking business now.
We need to make sure that the policy which is being made now is more enlightened, and makes us set an example to other European countries instead of dragging our heels and being like the bloke smoking outside the pub on a wet night – Sad and smelly and really wishing we were behaving a bit better.