Former Greenpeace leader at odds with colleagues over support of fracking
Oh, my. An almost sensible environmentalist.
A former director of U.K. Greenpeace, Stephen Tindale, has shocked fellow environmentalists by coming out in favor of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking extracts oil and natural gas from shale and has allowed the U.S. to become the largest fossil fuel producer in the world.
At issue is a fracking project in the U.K. that has been vigorously opposed by green groups. Tindale broke with the green movement by claiming that fracking can help fight global warming.
“[T]oday Britain faces its biggest environmental challenge ever — tackling global warming while still keeping the lights on,” Mr. Tindalesaid in the Tuesday article for the [U.K.] Sun. “And as a lifelong champion of the Green cause, I’m convinced that fracking is not the problem but a central part of the answer.”
He praised the British government’s recent approval of a shale-gas project in Lancashire, calling it “a great start, but that’s all it is. We need dozens more like it if Britain is to meet our energy needs in the decades to come.”
“And if activist groups including Greenpeace really want to help the environment, they should stop protesting about projects like this and let them be built as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Tindale, who now leads the environmental think-tank Climate Answers.
Foes of fracking have championed replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, while critics argue that such power sources are currently incapable of replacing coal, gas and oil in meeting electricity demand.
Greenpeace U.K. has opposed the Lancashire project, along with local activists who have challenged the government’s decision earlier this month to overrule the Lancashire County Council, which had refused to grant a permit.
“Lancashire said ‘no’ loudly and clearly and in line with local planning policies, that decision should stand,” the Preston New Road Action Group said in a statement.
Another benefit of fracking is the huge increase in natural gas supplies. The glut has contributed to the move away from coal, as natural gas has become less expensive and burns less CO2.
But imagine any green in America worth his salt advocating for fracking. No doubt he would be drummed out of the movement and silenced by a media that punishes apostasy. Tindale's reasoning may be a little faulty, but his common sense is refreshing. He recognizes the reality that "renewable" energy sources will not be able to replace fossil fuels as an energy source for decades – especially when greens hate nuclear power as much as they hate fossil fuels.
Until solar, wind, and other sources of energy production can compete in price and efficiency with fossil fuels, fracking will be contributing to the effort to supply our energy needs.