Directors, fracking and decarbonising energy


Almost three quarters of Britain’s company directors support decarbonisation of energy to mitigate climate change, and even more are in favour of greater use of solar, offshore wind and wave and tidal energy, according to new research.

Support for fracking for shale gas among directors is higher than the UK population but the process is less popular with company bosses than all renewable technologies except onshore wind.

attitudes to renewables and shale

The findings, in a survey for the Institute of Directors (IoD) released last week, were used by the organisation to back-up its support for shale gas and criticise government policy for failing to deliver secure and competitively-priced energy.

Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure policy adviser at the IoD, said governments since 2002 had focussed on cutting carbon emissions but underplayed the delivery of secure and affordable power. He urged the government to “reconsider the direction of travel”. He said:

“Government policy at the moment is creating all sorts of bizarre outcomes. Instead of accelerating moves to safely frack for gas and oil in the UK, we are importing coal and oil from Russia and gas and oil from Norway, with extra costs and emissions that involves.”

But a close look at the data, based on findings from nearly 1,000 IoD members, tells another story.

More than 80% of participants support increased deployment of solar and wave and tidal technologies. This compares with 56% who support fracking for oil and gas.

Energy support

Just over half (59%) agreed that government policy had increased the deployment of renewables but less than half (45%) thought it had cut carbon emissions.

When asked whether the UK needed to decarbonise energy to mitigate the effects of climate change, 74% either agreed strongly or tended to agree.

attitudes to energy policy

James Murray, of the website Business Green, said the IoD could easily have interpreted the results differently.

“Against a backdrop where large swathes of the media, including a sizeable chunk of the business press, have attacked renewables over their cost and efficacy a vast majority of business leaders at one of the UK’s more conservative business groups want increased deployment of renewables.

“Had the IoD chosen a different angle this could just have easily been a story about business leaders attacking the government for slowing the deployment of onshore wind, solar, and biomass, rather than a story about energy security, affordability, and fracking.

“UK energy policy has arguably failed since the turn of the century, but the IoD survey suggests part of the failure has been an inability to deliver deeper decarbonisation and more investment in wildly popular renewables.”

Survey details

998 members of the IoD replied to its survey from 11-26 May 2016

Link to survey data

4 replies »

  1. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The results indicate that the expansion of natural gas services has caused significant reductions in both the adult and the elderly mortality rates. According to our point estimates, a one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would lower the overall mortality rate by 1.4 percent, the adult mortality rate by 1.9 percent, and the elderly mortality rate by 1.2 percent. These findings are supported by our auxiliary analysis, which demonstrates that the expansion of natural gas networks has indeed led to a significant improvement in air quality. Furthermore, we show that the mortality gains for both the adult and the elderly populations are primarily driven by reductions in cardio-respiratory deaths, which are more likely to be due to conditions caused or exacerbated by air pollution.”

      • You always like to quote from IoD, John, so here’s a current quote for you from that group: Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure policy adviser at IoD, said that since the early 2000s governments “of all stripes” were guilty of underplaying security and affordability.

        Lewis also stressed the importance of a mix of renewables, nuclear and hydrocarbon energy generation.

        “Government policy at the moment is creating all sorts of bizarre outcomes. Instead of accelerating moves to safely frack for gas and oil in the UK, we are importing coal and oil from Russia and gas and oil from Norway, with the extra costs and emissions that involves. Instead of building cleaner gas plants to meet demand when renewables can’t, the Government has been subsidising more polluting diesel-fired plants.

  2. Funny how these people always seem to forget that we import gas from the USA and other places too isn’t it Sockpuppet Guy?

    I like to quote from the IoD report because it was commissioned by Cuadrilla and the pro-frackers got very excited by it for a while.
    When you quote a Cuadrilla sponsored report it’s hard for shills like you to argue it’s biased against fracking like you try for all the rest. It’s the same reason I like to quote GWPF’s water figures.

    In fact the analysis in Getting Shale Gas Working was woefully limited – The author Corin Taylor seems to have totally forgotten to mention the sand used in his calculations, and his laughable 76,000 job forecast was based on back of a fag packet calculations that were hardly robust. When I pointed out the logical deficiencies to Dan Byles MP by email he replied with a bland reassurance about what a competent economist Corin is. When I questioned this he blocked me on Twitter and then refused to carry on the conversation. So much for our MPs eh? Corin then moved to work in PR for Centrica and then got lent to UKOOG, where he now works permanently, so it all worked out nicely for him, hasn’t it?

    Now who did you say you were? Ah I forgot – you are scared to tell us your name aren’t you?

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