Why I’m off to Balcombe

reclaimA few CEL members are joining the www.nodashforgas.org.uk Reclaim the Power camp in Balcombe this weekend.  We are going to support the locals in their efforts to protect their village, but we have a wider agenda too.  In fact, I think I’d be going even if the residents were 100% in favour of fracking in their neighbourhood.

People are saying that there’s a lot of misinformation about fracking, so I’ve been reading a bit around the subject to make sure I’m sure why I’m spending nearly a week away from my family.  As far as I can tell, and please do comment below if I am wrong, fracking does not cause earthquakes or methane gas to come out of your tap.  However, it does appear that there is a risk of small earth tremors, chemical contamination of water supplies and the leakage of gas into the atmosphere.  The risk of all of these can, of course, be reduced with proper regulation.  But as with any new technology, it’s pretty hard to say what the level of risk will be.  It’s not surprising that most of the residents of Balcombe do not seem to be welcoming Cuadrilla.

Ruth at Balcombe 19 Aug 2013

Ruth at Balcombe 19 Aug 2013

On my wider agenda, climate change, the risks are a lot clearer.  The emissions of a well-set up fracking rig are about the same as imported gas, and about half as much as coal.  So, when (!) there is a global cap on the mining of carbon, I’d be happy to support the odd bit of well-regulated, well-sited fracking.  Until that happens, however, gas fracked in the UK will be burnt in addition to the imported gas or coal we didn’t buy, adding to climate change.  With five times more known fossil fuel reserves than we need to wreck the climate, any additional attempts to bring fossil fuels to the surface seem to me to be pure suicidal madness.

We’re planning to take part in whatever is happening: communal living (I’ve packed 4 vegan chocolate cakes and my marigolds – for the washing up, not electric fences) and protest, and also to pray together, for peace, for safety and for our government to see sense.

The places I’ve gone to find out about fracking do not include newspaper columns or press releases from the government, but do include:

http://www.blackburn.anglican.org/images/Hot%20potato%20in%20a%20Lancashire%20Cabbage%20field%20%20Fracking%20update%202013-7-8.pdf

http://tyndall.ac.uk/sites/default/files/tyndall-coop_shale_gas_report_final.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eccp/studies_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/pdf/fracking%20study.pdf

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929291.700-the-fracking-debate-needs-more-light-less-heat.html#.Ug0vHpKTjSg

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Author: | Date: 15 August, 2013 | Category: Climate Change News | Comments: 13


Comments on "Why I’m off to Balcombe"

Ruth Jarman:

August 31, 2013

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/saynotofracking

Ruth Jarman:

August 31, 2013

Just found a green party petition - you don't have to be a green party supporter.

Philip Clarkson Webb:

August 24, 2013

Huge admiration for all who are putting themselves on the line at Balcombe - and maybe elsewhere in future. The science is so clear. Richard Heinberg sums it up in his latest book "Snake Oil" (Post Carbon Institute). For me, the availability of water in the South East is a key consideration, on which the water industry (Water UK) has expressed concerns. Philip.

Obi #OLSX Stream (@Obi_Live):

August 22, 2013

The more information given about fracking, the better. I've encountered police who believe that fracking from 60 years ago, is the same as fracking developed by Halliburton. Fight the media propaganda, especially from the Murdoch owned press, The Times and The Scum, who never mention that their owner invests in fracking companies.

Ruth:

August 22, 2013

there must be lots out there....i'm only just back and off to greenbelt tomorrow...anyone else answer this one?

Andrew Smith:

August 22, 2013

Following your arrest on Monday, Ruth, you have entered that Hall of Fame whose other members provided such inspiration to me on Monday as I peered through the line of police to see them cut away from their arm-tubes and carried away for arrest. See you at Greenbelt, where I hope we'll be able to network with other like-minded souls and figure out how best to support the camp at Balcombe in the days and weeks ahead.

Rev'd Peter Doodes:

August 19, 2013

I agree with Neil and would ask you to read this please Ruth. http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.wordpress.com/the-list/

Neil:

August 16, 2013

Ruth I would say that "small earth tremors" are earth quakes just small ones. On contamination of gas the documentary of Beeb 2 a few months ago showed that an academic from the University of Pennsylvania had proved that methane was ending up in the water supply (using isotopic analysis I think). What has not been proven is contamination by the chemicals although there is so much gagging in the US that its difficult to get access. What we cover in our book is that both the depletion is very rapid hence the need for so much drilling and that all this drilling gives a low rate of energy return on energy invested. The writing really is on the wall when we scrapping around after this stuff.

Jess Arthur:

August 16, 2013

Fab Ruth! God bless your and your colleagues endeavours. Great comment from Westley...will be watching the news with interest over the week end. I know we'd all want loads of support if fracking was to take place here...or anywhere near our own homes....I just love the fact that you put yourself out there; bold in the Spirit. Is there a partition we can sign up to while sitting in our warm, dry houses entertaining our friends? Much love Jess x

Westley Ingram:

August 16, 2013

Dear Ruth, That is all well said. Listening to the Radio this morning it is on the one hand encouraging that "Reclaim the Power" has so much coverage (on the Today show at least). I do hope on the other hand that this is seen as part of a broader movement to bring attention to the lack of movement on Climate Change from our Government, their lack of support for renewable energy and the undue influence fossil fuel money has on what we rely on to be a democratic process. I also will not be heading to Balcombe lightly but consider this movement and specifically this event important enough to take part in. I'll see you in a couple of hours. Love, Westley.

Lynda Ellis:

August 16, 2013

You have my total admiration Ruth - and I will be thinking of you all. I may not completely understand the complexity of fracking - but I do know that it frightens me! With love, Lynda

George Dow:

August 16, 2013

Once again, Ruth, you and others are putting yourselves on the front line to protect the planet. May God bless all of you. George

Tony Emerson:

August 15, 2013

well said Ruth arguments on fracking so clearly expressed. Our thougts and prayers are with you and colleagues in Balcombe Tony


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