Are Greenpeace flaring liars?

The two leading Green NGOs are Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Both have considerable influence throughout the world and many regard both as excellent. They influence governments and expect to be consulted.

Friends of the Earth UK are having a bit of rough time recently as someone leaked the ASA (Advertising standards authority) judgment on their leaflet Don’t let fracking destroy all of this. However there is another complaint…………

In recent years Greenpeace have vandalised Nazca in Peru during a Climate Change conference to draw attention to climate change  (or themselves.)

Recently GP UK have put sponsored posts on Facebook (i.e. at cost to GP so it is advertising not opinion) Here’s the latest for a petition against fracking.

The flare stack is enough to put anyone off fracking with flames shooting out of a 30-40 foot high stack. No one would want this anywhere there house as it looks like the flares at the refineries on the Mersey, which you can see on the north side of the M56 as you approach Chester.

As you look at this advert I am sure you will want to sign the petition.


But hang on a mo!!

These ginormous flares will NOT be allowed by fracking pads in the UK. GP forgot to tell you that, or did they know. As they have well-qualified scientists on their staff they must have known unless invincible ignorance comes with getting a Ph.D.

There will be flares at fracking sites and will only be used for a short time during drilling as they assess the volume of gas present and before putting it into the national grid for gas (which conveniently passes through Lancashire, with one part a mile from our house. I often see substations and the white and orange marker posts.) Flaring is bad news for all. To the company it is simply burning money as they want to sell gas not flare it. To all of us it represents some pumping of global warming gases (CO2) into the atmosphere. However it si better to combust it to CO2 than leave it as methane.

The flares permitted in the UK are much smaller and enclosed as this photo shows. So normally flaring will not be visible.

Below is a small unenclosed flare stack at a biomass power station near Lytham. Note the height is only 15 feet. This power station closed in 2016.




It is not the first time GP have used photos of massive scary flares as they did in an article in 2013. (Really, I think GP need to learn a little about gas extraction>)

Gas flare

Lastly, the Lytham expert on fracking Mr Mike Hill also used pictures of banned flares in his campaign against fracking as these screenshots from twitter in 2015 show. Sadly many groups took his bad advice including the churches in Lancashire.



As well as scaring the good people of Lancashire on flaring GP have also tried to scare us on earthquakes with their Not for Shale campaign. who would buy a house at risk of earthquakes. This stems from thje fact that fracking at Preese Hall caused two minor tremors of M1.5 and M2.3. A few felt these and no damage was caused  (except in the mid of Gayzer Frackman). To put this into perspective these tremors were like a heavy lorry driving past your house, and in 2013 a train crossing a viaduct  at Balcombe produced a tremor of Mag1.5 or so.



We need to understand how magnitudes are measured as these basically go back to the Richter scale.I will stay with a simplistic version of it! The scale goes up to 10, but the scale is logarithmic not  linear so a Mag 10 is not 10 times bigger than a Mag 1 but 56 billion, billion times bigger. The 2015 Nepal earthquake was Mag 7.8 which is a billion times bigger than anything at Preese Hall.For the record I have been through a Mag 8.6 but was too small to remember!!

In the last 250 years there have been 13 quakes from Mag 3 to 5 in the Lancashire area. some were felt and one in 1835 “caused many of the inhabitants of Garstang to start out of bed in alarm.” however GP chose not to say that and just focused on their scaremongering.


Finally the picture below shows seismic activity caused by human activity. as you can see fracking is trivial both in numbers of tremors and the intensity.



To conclude, surely Greenpeace has been more than duplicitous with this emotive appeal against fracking.



Ken Wilkinson on Fracking (Harrogate 6/10/16)

On 6th October Ken Wilkinson gave a talk at a debate in Harrogate with Lorraine Allanson was the second speaker.. He was opposed by john Plummer, a local FoE bod (fresh from the exposure of FoE’s porkies in The Times and,Ian Crane, a chemtrails expert, who claims oil experience but confirmed to Ken that he worked in HR, and so has NO experience of drilling. Apparently he was very high in Schlumberger HR. If you enjoy chemtrails read this   . It was part of a debate given mostly to anti-frackers, but here is Kens’s contribution. As the meeting was mostly fractivists he lost the debate but won the argument!! Ken says, “the audience was largely against, they had to look through the evidence. I cant help thinking that will have made some question why they are ‘anti’, in view of the fact that their evidence based on bullshit. The hard liners will never change, but others….I really enjoyed the presentation, and had a smile on my face all the time! Very little has been said on social media about this. That to me speaks volumes.”


(apologies for the poor presentation of the pictorial evidence as the PDF used was not being co-operative with me!)

Ken on Fracking 6th October 2016

I have come here today to help dispel the tidal wave of misinformation that surrounds the well established process known as fracking. I have suitable qualifications, and 12 years of oil and gas engineering experience to support my research.  I am not an expert, but know people who are. I have no affiliations with the industry and am totally unpaid for this.

Many may wonder why I spend my time doing this. I campaigned intensely several years ago against a charity that denied access to my favorite paragliding site. I ran a website, lead protest marches that were covered by the TV, and had MPs involved. I believe in  campaigning against something that I feel is wrong or unjust.

Having industry knowledge, I was shocked at the lack of understanding displayed by protesters and I started to research and fight back. In a public meeting I challenged Frack Free Somerset and they were unable to answer my questions. ‘The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas’ had been shown in one of Ian Crane’s propaganda films. It showed sobbing people, and terrible events, but was based on a limited number of facts and was aimed primarily at scaring people.

I brought Advertising Standards complaints against a leaflet distributed by Frack Free Somerset and they had to withdraw and promise not to repeat their claims. I followed that with a complaint against Resident Action on Fylde Fracking, in Lancashire.  Again they had to withdraw, and the same for Frack Free Alliance and Breast Cancer UK.  Frack Free Ryedale also made false claims in an advert, involving claims that fracking would industrialise the countryside. They also withdrew. I am not very popular with them!

Please note that I am merely a retired teacher with a keyboard, and my views are independent. None of these groups wanted to be challenged, yet when they were asked to sustain what they presented to the public, they were unable to provide credible evidence.

That’s the problem with the fracking debate. There is so much dubious information. A few historical incidents from some poorly regulated states in America are presented as systematic problems. The retired Governor of Pennsylvania recently stated, ‘we didn’t regulate well construction and frack water as well as we should have at the time. We cured that in 2010, and we haven’t had any significant incidents since.

Similarly in Australia, there have been concerns about coal seam gas extraction. Shallow coal seam gas is a completely different technique to deep shale gas extraction, but the main point is how well controlled has this been? How well were regulations applied? What were the regulations? In the UK, operators satisfy regulators on numerous aspects of safety. These are the latest regulations and they are extensive. (Hold up regulations)

You could say the same about the aircraft industry. At the start, flying was very risky. Engineers addressed the problems. Now aircraft are incredibly reliable, from an engineering perspective.

Public health England have noted that ‘Where potential risks have been identified in the literature, the reported problems are typically a result of operational failure and a poor regulatory environment’

Many are critical of UK regulation, yet the Institute of Mechanical Engineers concluded recently ‘ONSHORE oil and gas operations have been managed safety and with minimal impact on the UK’s natural and human environment for over 100 years. The current UK “Goal Setting” Regulatory Regime has been found to be robust and effective. The UK Regime is significantly different to that in the US.

The problem with the fracking debate is that it is infected with dubious information. Looking at health, hundreds of supposed scientific papers have been published in the US, claiming to find links between health and fracking. Just recently there was a well publicised paper that claimed to find that living near a well led to an increase in asthma.  Please now look at the Evidence sheet that was on your seat as you came in. Evidence 1 on the sheet shows dots for wells and dark areas for asthma hotspots.  As you can see for yourself, there is no link between asthma and drilling.


Evidence 1

The most drilled areas have the least asthma (A)
The least drilled areas have the most asthma (B),
(Darker = more asthma, the dots are the new wells)

The Pennsylvania Department of Health conducted their own investigation and discovered that in the same time period, asthma actually decreased by 26%. See Evidence 2 on the Evidence sheet.


So contrary to what you have been told, the researchers own data showed that the counties in the US with the most drilling, had the least cases of asthma!

In Pennsylvania, that is not surprising as the pollutants from coal production have massively reduced due to the corresponding increase in gas production.  This has led to significant  reductions in lung complaints, and that is down to swopping coal for gas.

There is a load of money available from US anti fossil fuel groups such as the Sierra Club, and Park Foundation to fund anti fracking studies that support their pre-conceived ideas.  This is what we call “bad science “ as it is not capable to withstand scientific scrutiny.  The same researcher and his group have also published about premature babies. Again, expert scrutiny has completely dismissed their claims, but it doesn’t stop the sensation seeking press from running these stories. You have to ask yourself the question. If there are so many health effects, why do Public Health England reject these concerns? Why have there been no health related lawsuits? Where are the wards full of sick people?

The Medact Report has influenced many, and the press release in 2015 indicated that there were clear links to serious health issues. The chemicals they report on are NOT PERMITTED IN THE UK!  While not an apology, Medact did recognise their mistake and issued an updated report in 2016 that now states ‘Based on current evidence it is not possible to conclude that there is a strong association between shale gas related pollution and negative local health effects’.You can see these words in Evidence 3 of your Evidence sheet.


In other words, out of all of the hundreds of published papers that were reviewed, they are now unable to find a single one that finds a conclusive link between fracking and health! That’s a shocking finding that the public need to be made aware of.


They then state that one health issue could be ‘stress, anxiety and other psycho-social effects’.  Scaremongering can become a self fulfilling prophecy.  If people are constantly being told that fracking will be bad for their health, of course, it will cause an increase in stress!

Public Health England are a statutory consultee in fracking applications. That means that they have to keep up with new developments. In the Lancashire Planning committee report, they dismissed the Medact report and other oft cited papers as bad science. Science is based on evidence, and there is nothing conclusive, even from the US. This has been confirmed by dozens of expert bodies that have investigated the process who have all confirmed that it can be done safely if done properly.  I refer you to these expert bodies in Evidence 4 on your Evidence sheet.


The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Geological survey and so on. These are the top brains of UK science. In truth this is just a small sample of the expert groups that say that well regulated fracking is low risk. That is engineers speak for safe.

Friends of the Earth have been central in providing support for many anti fracking groups that have sprung up everywhere. They recently distributed a leaflet that made many questionable claims, in that ‘toxic and carcinogenic, materials would be used in fracking. (See Evidence 5).

FoE’s dodgy leaflet


Most people think that Friends of the Earth are a well meaning charity, but in fact there are two Friends of the Earths, one that acts as a charity that can legitimately raise money and the other that acts like a PR machine, scaring people to raise money for their charity company. This has been set up to avoid Charity Commission attention. The main fundraiser for Friends of the Earth limited is fracking. They have suffered drops in income in recent years so fracking is the new cash cow. To rally the troops they are begging for money using scaremongering claims. In law, the Environmental Permitting regulations 2010, schedule 22, paragraph 4 states that carcinogenic and toxic materials are classed as ‘hazardous’ and the Environment Agency will not permit them to be used under any circumstances. Please see evidence 6 with the exact wording in law.


As you may expect, I brought a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. The inability of Friends of the Earth to sustain their false claims was highlighted on the front page of the Times recently. Please refer to Evidence 7 on your Evidence sheet.


After 9 months of delaying tactics, Friends of the Earth have been unable to provide credible evidence for their leaflet. The judgement was a draft but someone (not me) leaked it to the press. It is damning in its criticism of Friends of the Earth. All four complaints were provisionally upheld.

In truth, Friends of the Earth limited have always known that their claims were false and when Tony Bosworth was questioned about carcinogenic materials on BBCs North West tonight, he said that the carcinogenic material they were concerned about was sand. Yes, you did hear that correctly, the same sand that your kids play with on the beach. The next day the Times headline was ‘Fracking opponents ridiculed for claiming sand is a cancer risk’.  

They also claim that polyacrylamide causes cancer, and is used in frack fluid.

(Drink water now)

This is polyacrylamide. I bought this as a ‘non toxic childrens toy’.

To be fair, it is hazardous, as it’s a choke hazard for children under 3. Its also a soil conditioner, and is used in lip fillers and nappies!

Hopefully this complaint against Friends of the Earth will come to a judgement shortly. As I said earlier, Friends of the Earth use a limited company to avoid the attentions of the Charity Commission. They scare you with one hand called Friends of the Earth which is a limited company, and they receive money with the other hand, also called Friends of the Earth, which is a charity. The Charity Commission will not allow charities to tell lies as they class that as ‘political activity’.

In 2012, during the Moratorium on fracking, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering published a report about shale gas. They identified 10 recommendations. The process for implementation was set in place in 2012. Many may have heard claims that ‘only one of these has been put in place’. That is demonstrably false. I have been advised that 6 are in place and the rest are ongoing.

The Health and Safety Executive are responsible for well design and safety. They have regulated the North Sea for decades and our regulations are world class. The sealing of wells is paramount. The HSE require two lines of defence both internally and externally and on top of that, the Environment Agency require an extra layer of casing both above and below the aquifer.  This is to ensure wells do not leak and have virtually no chance of contaminating an aquifer.  In a poorly regulated state or country, it is possible to have incidents and I can refer you to Evidence 8 in your Evidence sheet.


You can see that the drilling company has left parts of the well unsealed, but even a well like this can be repaired to make it safe using modern technology and engineering practices. No case of deep fraccing fluids entering shallow aquifers has ever been documented, as noted in the Royal Academy report.

Many are worried about old wells leaking. Often claims are made that ‘60%’ of wells will leak in time. This data refers to ‘Sustained Casing Pressure’ which is an internal leak where the gas does not get into the environment.  Real leaks to the environment are very rare indeed with gas detectors at surface that would pick up a leak very quickly.  and alert the company so that the well can be shut in using a remotely operated surface valve.

Corrosion is another worry, and I worked on this in the 1980s, and so have some direct experience. If a well is properly sealed then fluids cannot move. That means no corrosion can take place. Is anyone worried about New York’s Empire State building falling over? That is made of cement and steel buried underground in a salty environment, just like a gas well. It has survived for nearly 100 years!

In terms of seismic risk, there is a vanishingly small risk that a tiny tremor, like the one in Blackpool could occur which measured 2.3 on the Richter scale.  Again, seismic specialists have researched this extensively and have regulated the process with a traffic light system to mitigate the risk of this ever happening again.

Earthquakes in the US that have been attributed to fracking are in fact from disposal wells. Disposal of fracking fluids in this manner is not permitted in the UK under any circumstances by the Environment Agency.

Pollution incidents from the US which are not permissible in the UK include:

  • Leaking fluids from open storage pits. These are not permitted in the UK due to risk of flooding and splitting. See evidence 9
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  • spills from unlined well-pads. Impermeable membranes to mitigate any chemical spill are required in the UK. See evidence 10


Truck accidents are another worry.  Do we stop the delivery of food to supermarkets or petrol to petrol stations due to accident risk? Or do we get experienced drivers on well maintained trucks to mitigate the hazard?

Many are concerned about water pollution, yet drilling is not even allowed in water extraction areas. In the UK all the chemicals that are used by drilling companies have to be disclosed and provided to the EA for testing and approval.  No chemicals that are hazardous to aquifers or groundwater are allowed under any circumstance. Strong EU environmental Directives like the Water Framework Directive have taken away Friends of the Earth’s campaign rationale. Beaches, rivers, and water must be  clean, pollution must be controlled, industries must be licenced and any breaches of law can and do result in warnings which if not acted upon will be followed by prosecution.

Shale gas production could be spectacular. It has been calculated that a single drilling rig, drilling at the same rate as in the US, could supply London, in 3 years! Advances in fracking techniques mean that well production rates decline much slower than before and shale wells in the US currently produce more than double the total output of traditional gas wells. A single well-pad could have 40 wells, producing for 20 years, all hidden behind trees, This will lead to tax revenues, and local jobs. Drilling would be slower in the UK, due to the high level of regulation, BUT the point is that the scare stories are just that. Scare stories. Nobody is proposing the types of drilling and industrialisation shown in evidence 11 on your Evidence sheet.


Using modern directional drilling techniques, well pads can be spaced miles apart, not hundreds of yards. The actual plans are for well hidden well-pads with multiple wells as shown in evidence 12.



Who knows where the 10 wellpads are in the Vale of Pickering area? So why do groups like Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth deliberately try to deceive the public?

Others worry that the water used in fracking that is not removed from the well will magically rise against the force of gravity and the thousands of feet of rock above it to pollute the water supplies above. In fact, the Royal Academy of Engineering report noted that this will not happen in the UK. Even if it did the chemicals are non hazardous.

Like you, Lorraine and I are concerned about climate change. We would love renewables to work but solar and wind currently produce a tiny percentage of our energy usage.

There is currently no practical storage for large amounts of electricity in the UK. Many talk about electricity as ‘energy’  but that is only 1/5th of our use. What about heating, transport, and industry. They are almost entirely fossil fuel based.

The US has reduced its carbon output massively as it has switched from coal to gas. As I mentioned before there is a massive health benefit in doing this as coal pollutants are no longer released. All projections show that we are going to be using gas for decades to come.

The only question is where it comes from.  We are currently importing over half of our gas usage. This is predicted to rise to around 80% in a few years.

The clear evidence of the 2013 Mackay Stone report on greenhouse gas impacts from using gas show that locally produced shale gas is the best option. Gas from Russia comes through long pipelines. Liquified Gas from Qatar needs lots of energy to cool it, and to transport it and gasify it again. The gas with the least hydrocarbon footprint comes from under our feet.

There are no significant leak pathways in drilling and fracking so what is the problem? If the HSE tolerated leaks we would have many more explosions in our houses, our kitchens, industries and the pipelines under our roads.  In the UK flaring is not allowed other than for a short period to test the wells.  As Kirby Misperton flaring will not be required as the pipelines are already in place.  In Lancashire, they will use shrouded flares, for exploration, which are required to be quiet and efficient. Once a pipeline is installed then green completions would mean that no gas would be vented at all. Again, when looked at, these are minor concerns.

We are surrounded by incredible technology. Planes, phones, medicine, and space technology have all have seen amazing advances using UK scientists.

Recently, Crossrail meant that a 7m wide tunnel was drilled under the most expensive property in the world. Did anyone say it would not be safe.  Of course not. We expect these things to be done with educated and experienced people, who know what they are doing. Why is the shale drilling industry held to a different level of accountability?

After several years of investigating this, I still am at a loss to understand what is so concerning about fracking. Is it purely the use of the F word and all the connotations that can be derived from it. Is it the fact that minority groups need another cause to get behind just like they did in the past with fox hunting, apartheid, and anti abortionism.  Or is it the case the there are some countries who do not want to see the UK become self reliant on energy again.  I don’t know, but what I do know is that the public are being grossly misled by organisations like FoE and other protest groups.  Fracking ladies and gentlemen can be done safely, it can be done safely environmentally , it does not increase health risks, it can bring many benefits to both the region and the UK and with all these factors in mind, I urge you to repel the motion in front of you.




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The Ark Encounter: A Presentation at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting

Ken Ham’s Ark encounter in Kentucky with a life-size ark has gabbed the attention of many. Here three geologists, who are Christians describe their doubts about the whole thing

The Ark Encounter: A Presentation at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting – Naturalis Historia


Naturalis Historia

ark-gsa-2016-introslideTake a tour of the Ark Encounter with a geologist, paleontologist and myself in this YouTube presentation.  In July I visited the Ark Encounter with geologist Dr. Kent Ratajeski from The University of Kentucky.   After that trip Kent, myself and Dan Phelps (President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society) worked together – my contribution was rather small – to develop a talk for the Geological Society of American annual scientific meeting. Kent attended that meeting in September where he gave the presentation to a packed room of professional geologists and other interested parties.  This YouTube recording was produced by Kent reading his talk over the PowerPoint slides since recordings at the scientific meeting were prohibited.

The talk covers a bit about the history of the Ark Encounter, goes through the major exhibits on the Ark and provides some reflections on some of that content.

In addition to this video I have written a few…

View original post 44 more words

Josh Fox and his second GASLAND sitcom.

On Friday 14th October the residents of salubrious Lytham St Annes have the great opportunity of seeing Josh fox’s Gasland II exposing the horrors of fracking which will soon be unleashed on the Fylde. We can expect the Fylde to sink below sea level according to one Lytham expert and all will have flaming taps, get cancer and suffer from asthma.

Image result for fox gasland II

Fox’s first documentary  sitcom was Gasland produced in 2011. It was full of horrors stories like flaming taps. How that can be due to fracking when it has been going on since at least the 19th century, I do not know. However his award-winning films influenced many (including the Blackburn diocese environment committee) to oppose fracking. It also made me initially opposed  – until I started to do some fact-checking.


Gasland II was introduced with a great fanfare and now Fox is looking for chickens in Britain as he tours the land giving special shows. I am sure he will find some chickens….

In anticipation of this he was interviewed on the Today programme of Radio 4 on wed 12th October. He kept interrupting the interviewer as you will find if you listen to the interview. from 2 hrs 20 mins.

He claimed he was treated disgracefully and recorded two videos to says this but deleted the first, though they were stashed away by Nick Grealy.




Much can be followed up but good friend Nick Grealy collected bits and then this was written up across the pond by Tom Shepstone on

I simply lift what Tom Shepstone wrote

The Insufferable Josh Fox Loses It on BBC Radio - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.



Josh Fox, the most arrogant and insufferable of all fractivists, completely lost it on BBC radio today, trying to motormouth over the interviewer.

Josh Fox was on BBC Radio earlier this week and made a complete ass of himself. He was totally insufferable. He talked rapidly and tried to overwhelm the BBC interviewer, Sarah Montague. He revealed his frustration there’s anyone in the world who could possibly disagree with him. He treated Montague as if she had no right to ask questions that might interrupt his diatribe. It was a mess and Fox’s sigh at the end was priceless. The Brits just got a big dose of reality on the joker we know as Josh Fox.

There’s not much more I need to do here than to let Josh Fox speak for himself. He’s most definitely his own worst enemy in this interview, which starts at 2:21:58 in this radio show (only available for 29 more days):

I’m no fan of the BBC but Sarah Montague is a professional. She calmly tried to interrupt the torrent of nonsense Fox was spewing to ask very simple questions. She kept coming back to them and refused to be deflected.

Fox offered absolutely nothing other than the same old long ago refuted talking points. He had nothing new. He resorted to calling Lisa Jackson, the first Obama Administration EPA Administrator a liar. He claimed flaming faucets were always due to fracking (he backtracked later). He claimed it’s impossible to drill an oil and gas well that doesn’t leak. He was exasperated by the simplest of questions and the audacity of the interviewer in posing them. He protested at one point there was no need to re-litigate the question of drinking water contamination.

It was, in a word, horrible. The ending, when Montague tells Fox his time is up is a beautiful thing. Fox sighs like the spoiled child he is, no doubt maddened by the fact he couldn’t go deeper into the recent UK approval of drilling in Lancashire. He apparently has words with her, as well. He can be heard in the background mouthing something as the next host explains away the background noise by noting “our gentleman is just going.”

That about sums it up, doesn’t it? Josh Fox is just going. His 15 minutes of fame were up a while ago but he’s hung around trying to revive the glory days, trying to attach himself to whatever stories are out there (Lancashire, Dakota Access Pipeline, etc.). The gig is over, though. Sarah Montague revealed him as the babbling idiot he is by asking a few pointed questions. Bully for her.

Hat Tip: Nick Grealy

Update: Josh Fox, looking, for all the world, like he’s about to cry after his disastrous BBC interview, went on video to prove everything you might have suspected after Sarah Montague dared to challenge him. What an insolent little brat! Go somewhere and have that little cry, Josh, and leave the rest of us alone. There’s a whole lot of farmers and other landowners in our area who have real reasons to cry for what you did to them but they’re not doing interviews to shed tears for themselves. They’re standing up and fighting like real men and women

Update II: Well, that didn’t take long! Less than 8 hours after several of us pointed out what a crybaby Josh Fox was for calling a tame BBC interview a “sneak attack,” the whining little snit took it down or had it taken down. David Fenton must have called and told him it didn’t look good. As one of my friends over at Energy In Depth noted “If you don’t give Fox a softball interview, he loses it.” We observed this once before, of course,when he was challenged on his background story and it completely collapsed. Then, there was this.

Update III: Well, Fox decided to do a new version of his crybaby video for Facebook. It’s the same whiny claptrap as before with less obvious tears about to fall. It’s another selfie type video with Fox’s face so close you want to say “step back man,” revealing a lot about the conceited nature of this phony third-rate filmmaker trying to ride the wave of his cause as a way back of the obscurity to which he’s rapidly descending.

I wonder how the folks in Bristol will receive this joker. My family originally came from near there (a tiny place called Rowberrow). They were sheep herders and lime-burners; the sort of very ordinary people for whose economic needs Fox and his wealthy foundation friends have nothing but contempt.


Here now is Fox writing for the Guardian which specialises in mis-reporting of fracking

And finally an old review of the howlers in the first Gasland of 2011, which many Greens regard as both inerrant and infallible



Climate Change over 20,000 years, fact and fiction

{Warning; your mouse will get tired with the scrolling but please scroll to the end, even if your mouse dies.]


I was very fortunate to carry out field work as an exploration geologist in the Richtersveld a remote part of Cape Province in South Africa. It was a fascinating time and I was tie 3rd geologist to work there, following Rogers who went there on horseback in 1914 and de Villiers and Sohnge who spent several field seasons there in the 1940s. I was sent in by Falconbridge of Africa and Dr Alfred Kroner came up from the Precambrian Research Unit of the University of Cape Town.


The Richtersveld consists of a massive sequence of late Pre-Cambrian sediments lying on top of old basement (c2.400my). The lower part of the sequences are mostly sandstones and other clastics and are about the same age as the Torridonian Sandstone of NW Scotland. The top was Numees tillites and associated strata named after Numees, wher a Capt Alexander developed a small copper mine in the 1830s. He gave the name of Alexander Bay at the mouth of the Orange River, where there are alluvial diamonds, The Numees tillite is a variable sequence of diamictites with stones and boulders in a dirty sandy matrix. At the time its glacial origin was question but I did find some varves including some with drop-stones deforming the varves. In the 70s the jury was out on the galcial nature of these sediments, but no more and some suggest a Snowball Earth at that time  (c600-580my). [tillites are a general term for ancient glacial deposits)

Also in South Africa were the Dwyka tillites of Permian age (c290my), but I never looked at them. Along with them are the late Ordovician tillites (c445my), some of which can be found in the Howgills near Sedbergh in Yorkshire. Finally the recent Ice Ages began about 2 my ago. I studied these in North Wales as a result of researching the work of Buckland and Darwin in 1841 and 1842. (I wrote this up for the PGA (Preceedings of the Geologists Assoc in 2012.) Later in 1997 I found an example of moraines from a mini-glacier in the Savoie alpes in France , which most like dated from the Little Ice Age – i.e. 1600-1800. I also intrigued by changes in climate since the end of the last Ice Age. Hence as a geologist I could see that the earth’s temperature had fluctuated over geological time, and for some time could not see that changes today were significant.

I have to confess that this made me sceptical of Global warming in the 90s, but only sceptical in the sense of questioning and not denial. My sceptism was dealt with in 1998 as I kept meeting Sir John Polkinghorne at meetings – including one at a Creationist church – when he explained changes in the last 100,000 years. I think I was converted to global warming in the creationist church!!

I was a good converts and devoted half a chapter to evanglicals and global warming in my book Evangelicals and Science (2008), where I was critical of those who denied Global Warming eg the Cornwall Institute of Calvin Beisner and others. I dealt with further in a chapter I wrote for Religion in environmental and Climate Change (2012 ed Gerten and Bergmann). In that I was critical of the GWPF of Lord Lawson and also Peter Forster, bishop of Chester.

Thus I was good believer in Global Warming, or rather, not a bleiever, but one who accepted the scientific arguments. In the last few years I have been annoyed by simplistic arguments from climate activists, who seem more concerned with activism than truth. I found some of the more apocalyptic claims too far fetched. These seem to give a secular alternative to the evangelical Left Behind nonsense. I reckon they undermine both the scientific basis of Climate Change AND, more seriously, bring the need to address Climate Change into question. In fact, Climate Change Deniers (not Sceptics) can use this to avoid action as holes can be picked in Climate alarmist claims. By questioning Climate Alarmism some devotees have concluded falsely that I am a denier.

Recently this A Timeline of earth’s Average Temperature has done the rounds on social media. It simply does not do justice to what has happened in the last 20000 years. It portrays steady gradual changes in temperature in that time, but a sudden rapid rise since 1980. The Younger Dryas of 10,000 years is hardly a blip, yet it was a sudden cooling for a thousand odd years and then a sudden warming. The drop in temperature of c 1300 is smoothed out as is the Little Ice Age.

You can whizz down this and pick up my comments later. Temperature Timeline

As I am a very bad boy and refuse to impose self-censorship, I read stuff from any perspective and actually found this denialist blog “wattsupwiththat”  helpful in comparison! To some my credibility will have gone, but it’s no worse than alarmist guff.

He presented a cartoon by Javier, a molecular biologist, to correct the cartoon above. This is a far more accurate presentation of changes in temperature and records sudden changes. (As I am not an expert I cannot be sure how accurate it is, but it is in more accord with all I have read including John Kingdom’s wonderful New Naturalist  volume Climate and Weather, which traces out the climate (and temperature) in Britain from the 1st Century BC until today)


And then finally there is this blog which traces out climatic changes in the last 18000 years.

Figure i is especially useful and can be found here.  It does NOT smooth things out with a hockey stick at the end

And more humorously there is this. 

What are we to make of all this?

We need to be aware of superficial stories flying around whether from Climate Alarmists or Climate Deniers. In a sense they feed off each other.

The first cartoon simply is wrong as it presents climate change for 20,000 years as slow and gradual until the end of the 20th Century. That is simply false. It may be good for propaganda purposes but it is ultimately deceitful and undermines any concern for the problematic Climate Change of the present time. As with the porkies of anti-frackers this type of thing can only result in disillusionment.

The second two are more accurate , but the conclusion of the third saying that the Modern Warming is “nothing unusual” is simply wrong and dangerously so. As are the three projections in red ink. It is as daft as Patrick Moore twitter; @EcoSenseNow , an early member of Greenpeace, who argues that even higher CO2 concentrations will be a good thing. I consider that irresponsible.

It is tragic that the argument over Climate Change has got so polarised, but much of that has been due to extreme views of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Bill Mckibbin. They have been effective in convincing others to see everything in an apocalyptic way. This is seen in demonising all fossil fuels, making them the Great Satan. This prevents any realistic transition away from coal, through gas (fracked!) to something better in the future.

UK SHALE WILL PREVAIL; Hopes for fracking in the UK

I have always found Nick Grealy’s stuff on fracking good. He thinks independently, is a leftie and writes good English.  See twitter @ReImagineGas  If he disagrees with, he says so!!

Those who follow fracking closely will know his stuff but here it is for those who don’t

This comes from his blog




2016 has shown that predicting anything, anywhere on politics is for the brave. I’ll be brave and assume that by next Thursday, October 6, the interminable planning permission saga in Lancashire will draw to an almost close. I say almost because Friends of the Earth in a suicidal attempt to squander members’ money better served defending the countryside, bees and the rights of refugees, will drag Cuadrilla or the council or the government into court, just as they have with Third Energy in Yorkshire. But with Third already having an accelerated hearing in late November on their application any delay promises to be minimal.

So that someone thinks they have a victory, Cuadrilla may only get permission for one well pad. But one will work. One is enough.

Politically, it’s impossible to conceive of Theresa May’s government agreeing with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour (and the Greens) over such an important issue. The government might as well send the message that Britain is closed for any type of business, an especially implausible signal in the Brexit world. To imagine this happening the week of the Conservative Party Congress is more inconceivable still. Some fear all bets are off in the Brexit /Trump universe of Post Facts, but as someone who likes facts over emotion, I’ll stick my neck out and say the net result will be we have to wait for the rocks to finally speak via drilling sometime in 2017. The Bowland Shale has been the silent spectator all along, and any geologist could admit that it could possibly send out mixed or even negative messages. But at least we can have a debate based on facts, not opinions, and finally, after at least five years of delay, move on.

A lot has advanced in the six years since Cuadrilla revealed their estimate of 200 TCF resources for their section of the Bowland back in 2010. Sadly, the UK debate hasn’t been one of them. Yet. But the time is coming.  Back in 2010, people saw shale as a flash in the pan. It was of course the biggest bang to hit energy markets since the light bulb. Yet the UK debate still uses outdated economics, 2010 flow rates and 2010 energy policy concerns. Shale is still “controversial”. Meanwhile in the US, the unconventional is the new normal, 70% or higher of 2016 production.

As the shale debate in the UK has barely moved, the one in the US has moved incredibly fast. Compare the UK Bowland Shale and the Ohio Utica. The Utica Shale didn’t even exist outside of a gleam in the eye of geologists in 2010. First drilling started in 2012, yet this month, it’s producing at a rate of 37 billion cubic meters per year, a shade under the 40 BCMY produced in the UK North Sea. That could have been us. But the naysayers and handwringers produced absolutely nothing.

The Ohio Utica is never mentioned by UK opponents who talk about the Pennsylvania Marcellus as if it’s a living hell of afflicted communities. That’s in part because they are stuck in 2010, the year the Gasland movie came out which exaggerated some 2008/09 impacts in the state. Yet Ohio proves, like the UK could, how, if given the chance, natural gas extraction can be low impact, high production and zero damage. The unintentionally hilarious “List of the Harmed” barely mentions Ohio for example. Even an anti-fracking report this year from Environment Ohio omits their home state even as it recycles the List of the Harmed horror stories and places them everywhere else. It’s strange to talk about fracking threatening the Grand Canyon, while missing it entirely in their own backyard. Perhaps nothing is actually happening after all?

Just as will happen in the UK, Ohio is easily missed because there isn’t that much to actually see. The Baker Hughes Rig Count shows the number of rigs per state on a weekly basis. It’s rarely been over 18 in Ohio in the last few years and was only 13 last week, further proving the most recent increases in drilling productivity possible today. If we extrapolated Utica to UK numbers, we’d be talking of a handful of rigs. Using BCMY divided by 13, we see that each rig in Ohio, which is drilling a well every couple of weeks in various locations, or increasingly from one pad, can produce 2.85 BCM a year. Thus only 5 rigs could theoretically produce 14BCM a year, or enough to remove all 2015 UK LNG imports. UK drill rigs may well be relatively static and won’t wander too much from one pad for 18 months at a time, drilling a new well every other week. Whatever the numbers are, they are a far cry from anyone’s definition of industrialization of the country – or city – side.

But what if there were another threat to the landscape? What if there were 14 new facilities that had several truck deliveries per day – for ever? That would be Waitrose. What if there were 80 new facilities opening in 2016, in bigger stores and even more trucks and traffic. For that, Aldi is the one for you.

A few weeks ago at an All Party Parliamentary Committee on Shale Gas meeting, the leading anti in Ryedale was visibly shocked when his pet fear was exposed as, excuse the pun, groundless:

John Blaymires, Chief Operating Officer of IGas, said:

“We understand the need to do this [estimate site numbers]. It is one of our biggest issues.”

He said some of figures being talked about for the number of sites were “ludicrous” but he described the figures mentioned at the meeting as “not unreasonable”. He added:

“There are limited places to which one can go. We cannot pepper the countryside and nor would we wish to.”

Francis Egan of Cuadrilla has often said how in a few years people’s first question will be: “Is that it? Is this what all the fuss was about?”. Remove protestors and nothing will be visible. It would be a good plan to ask planning to set up a protestor camp. Oops. That rational plan may slow things down. But then a protestor camp is likely to be as welcome to Roseacre as an alternative music venue, even if they are often the same thing.

Only the strong, and the long, survive in UK shale. Whatever hurts us makes us stronger. There are four reasons why shale gas will move from zero to hero, but much depends on finding some gas and and, moreimportantly,  not losing sight of the four strategic reasons why UK shale will prosper.

  1.  UK gas consumption  isn’t going anywhere. The UK is faced with falling gas demand for various organic reasons around insulation, efficiency and competing renewables but not as fast enough as collapsing UK North Sea supply. London for example uses 9 BCM a year of gas, almost all for heat and hot water.
  2. The entry costs are far lower than international equivalents. One can also get huge blocks by US standards all at once, leading to further efficiencies. The UK lends itself for political reasons to minimize surface expenses.
  3. Midstream is not a problem. The international oil and gas industry has been in far more hostile – or inaccessible- areas devoid even of roads. Any costs around UK planning delays or public opinion are outweighed by the ease of delivering any discoveries to market. The UK onshore is the  least stranded energy asset on earth. And once planning creaks along, any  sovereign risk premium is the lowest going.
  4. The killer reason is price. Get through 2 and 3, and prices are phenomenal by US standards. UK gas prices will be set by US LNG imports (or the threat of them) giving US Henry Hub and a permanent basis reflecting transport costs. UK gas prices are also volatile in the winter, with a current winter 2016 strip of $5.3 MMBTU, 80% higher than US Henry Hub. That basis will exist for years. In parts of Pennsylvania gas prices are below $1, and yet the industry still grows even as new mid stream pipelines are unavailable at any price. Expenses may be higher than in the US, but not 80% higher.

Add these together, and UK shale, will be worth the wait. Better, and great days, are coming.

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  1. I see you woke up feeling positive this morning, Nick. That’s good news as I know that you’ve been in the fight for a long, long time.

    Note that Cuadrilla doesn’t plan to start drilling until spring of 2017, so even a legal challenge won’t impact timing for the firm.

    I’m not familiar with UK law, but I wonder whether the anti groups who challenge on legal grounds will be held to pay for any foregone revenue that results from a delay? Maybe you know the answer to that question? Thanks

    1. I agree that Cuadrilla shouldn’t be slowed down much further.It takes time to mobilise everyone, this isn’t the Permian where you can find a rig in Yellow Pages. The FoE are really in the last chance saloon on this. The Scottish branch is talking about shale damage claims from the Gasland era for example.

      If I owned a gas company, which I don’t – yet- I’d play hardball and sue Friends of the Earth Limited for restraint of trade. I know that has crossed the minds of people. It also explains why FoE deliberately leaked the ASA investigation so it would then be abandoned. Running a campaign on bad information is bad karma for a non-profit. But the fund raiser was FoE Limited a commercial company. They have more than reputation to lose. But their PR cut and paste reporters are a very strong force, very similar (and often the same people) who support the Corbyn wing of Labour. Ultimately as close to actual power as he is though. FoE doesn’t own the green brand and most of the ones I know in London think they’re an embarrassment but don’t want to stand up to bullying. It’s also hard to stand up to bullies when as soon as they are challenged they run. That’s actually why, damages or not, most in the industry are dying to have a fact based day in the court of law, not public opinion.


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Friends of the Earth claims against #fracking are unsubstantiated, says advertising watchdog – Lancashire For Shale

Interesting article in the Times. Much is right in the article!! But who leaked the judgement on FoE? Neither Ken nor I did and have told the ASA. Dearest Refracktion wonders whether it could be a mole within the ASA.


Anyway read and enjoy. We shall see what happens


The front page of national newspaper, The Times, today reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rebuked green group Friends of the Earth in a draft ruling about an anti-fracking leaflet.   According to the report, the ASA says Friends of the Earth (FoE) failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate …

Source: Friends of the Earth claims against #fracking are unsubstantiated, says advertising watchdog – Lancashire For Shale