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Fracking’s “dodgy dossiers”

17th June 2014

Paul Mobbs, an environmental researcher, told last night’s We Need To Talk About Fracking debate that the government was using “dodgy dossiers” to try to persuade people that fracking was safe.

Ministers’ “placatory words” had “absolutely no substance whatsoever”, he said.

Mr Mobbs, one of six debate panellists at the event in London, said: “They are producing studies that are not necessarily wrong but they are methodologically-biased to produce the answers that they want”.

He picked out the report by David MacKay and Timothy Stone on greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas, published in September last year, and the Public Health England report from last October, which looked at the health impacts of fracking.

He said the MacKay and Stone report, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, used very low figures for emissions, which were not supported by more recent research, and very high figures for the production of the well. “The result”, he said “was an artificially low figure for the effect on the climate”.

“If you put in the correct figures, based on research from north America, you find that it [shale gas] is as bad as coal [for emissions]”.

The Public Health England report reviewed research on the effects of shale gas on human health up until December 2012. But Mr Mobbs said: “There were more papers on this issue in the first four months of this year than in 2011 and 2012 put together”.

“So they basically put the blinkers on and said we are going to look at this and ignore the bigger volume of research that has come out since.”

The Ecologist has more detail of Paul Mobbs’ critiques of the MacKay and Stone and Public Health England reports.

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