The Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, has admitted to asking her officials “Is climate change real?” And she dismissed the idea that women and men have different attitudes to fracking.
Speaking at a meeting in Westminster this afternoon, she said it was “completely extraordinary” to suggest women were less keen on fracking than men. The government needed to make the case for fracking to everyone, Mrs Leadsom said. If it couldn’t make the case then it didn’t deserve to get fracking through.
Her comments were in contrast to those made last week by the new chair of the industry group, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, Averil Macdonald. She told The Times that men were more likely to support fracking because they were persuaded by facts. Women, who were more concerned about threats to their family than men, relied on gut reaction and feel.
The latest poll by Nottingham University suggests support for fracking among women stands at 31.5%, compared with 58% for men.
Mrs Leadsom was speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Gas and Oil. DrillOrDrop asked the minister why she thought women were less keen on fracking than men. This is her reply:
“I am absolutely sure that women are not less keen on anything than men. I find the whole thing completely extraordinary actually.”
“There isn’t a boys’ technology and a girls’ technology. It doesn’t work like that at all. There are people and people need to be persuaded that something is safe. People as individuals have preferences.”
“When I first came to this job one of my two questions was: ‘Is climate change real?’ and the other was ‘Is hydraulic fracturing safe?’ And on both of those questions I now am completely persuaded.”
“But actually you have got to want to go and find out about it. And why should you? It is your home, your family, your community. Why should you go and find out about it? Why don’t you just take whatever line that someone gives you? And that’s not men or women, that’s people. And that’s the truth of it.”
“We have to reach out. We have got to make the case. We have got to persuade them that it is safe. We have got to take the steps necessary to ensure it is safe. And we have to give people confidence in it. And then if we can’t do that then we don’t deserve to get it through.”