With the energy future, mainly wind power vs hydraulic fracturing (fracking), of the United Kingdom in play, the same game between the politicians (read: big money) and the public good is being played out.
Wind power is overwhelmingly and consistently popular with the public, while fracking is, unsurprisingly, not on anyone’s “A”-list, unless you’re a politician, apparently. According to EcoTricity founder Dale Vince, wind power on the North Shore could supply 100% of the UK’s energy requirements, emissions-free. Fracking for natural gas, on the other hand, only supplies us with another carbon-rich fossil fuel, albeit slightly less-so, and an astonishing new source of radioactive water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t forget earthquakes, what’s not to like?
According to the UK public opinion polls, Britons would rather have a wind power facility in their backyard, rather than a fracking well, by an overwhelming margin of three to one. The government, at least previously, had promised an energy policy that makes sense, “the greenest government ever,” according to Prime Minister David Cameron, of the Conservative Party. Now, facing re-election, somehow being “forced” by Independence Party promises, Conservative Party representatives said recently, “The next Conservative government will effectively curtail further large-scale onshore wind developments [within] the first six months [of being elected].” [mine]
How’s that for an about-face? Apparently, the Conservative Party is not even waiting for re-election. In one move, the Party has taken the public out of the planning process, even overturning laws requiring landowner consent to put in fracking operations. And please, someone tell me why the natural gas industry needs subsidies? If Mr. Cameron isn’t listening to his own people, then who is he listening to? Mr. Vince has got it pegged, saying “big business interests” are dictating the actions of the Conservative Party.
Photo credit: Byzantine_K / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)