Tributes to Stephen Tindale

Stephen Tindale

Tributes have been paid to the climate change campaigner and supporter of shale gas, Stephen Tindale, who’s death was announced today.

Stephen Tindale was the co-founder of Climate Answers and from 2000-2005 the executive director of Greenpeace UK. He was an adviser to the industry-funded Shale Gas Task Force and since November last year a consultant to INEOS Shale. He argued that shale gas was necessary for decarbonisation.

Tom Pickering, operations director of INEOS Shale, said:

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Stephen Tindale and our thoughts are with his family. His insight and thoughtful approach to the issues surrounding climate change and the realities of the world we live in will be missed by our team and many others.”

A Facebook group in Stephen Tindale’s memory said he took his own life after suffering from severe depression.

Greenpeace UK said:

“We were very sad to hear that our former Executive Director, Stephen Tindale, died at the weekend. Our thoughts are with his family”.

Tony Bosworth, energy campaigner of Friends of the Earth, said:

“Shocked to hear the sad news of the death of former colleague Stephen Tindale. We didn’t always agree but it was always good to see him. RIP.”

Ken Cronin, chief executive of the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said:

“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news that Stephen Tindale has passed away. Our deepest sympathies go to his loved ones at this difficult time.

“Stephen was an outspoken advocate of a number of energy technologies and was passionate about bridging the gap between two very different groups of views. For that we will be always grateful and hope those groups together can learn from his lead.”

Shale gas commentator and would-be driller Nick Grealy described the news as “shocking” and Lee Pets, managing director of the environmental consultancy, Remsol, said Stephen Tindale was “a voice of reason in the debate about sustainability”.

“Shale is a necessary part of decarbonisation”

At a parliamentary meeting in November 2016, Stephen Tindale argued that shale was a necessary part of decarbonisation:

“Renewables and energy efficiency are the ideal scenario but it is going to take a very long time, even if your objective is to be 100% reliant on renewable energy. It is going to take many decades.

“Shale gas is a fossil fuel yes, but not all fossil fuels are as bad as each other”.

Debating with Professor Peter Strachan, of Robert Gordon University, he said:

“One of the reasons I thought it was appropriate for me to try to speak out was because I think too many of the green movement are ignoring the human rights argument but also ignoring the potential role of gas in reducing emissions and the issue of whether shale gas is used in electricity generation is not as bad as coal.”

Professor Strachan said this evening:

“By all accounts we had a lively discussion. We both agreed on the global importance of cutting carbon emissions and further the need to protect human rights.  Our views did differ on the best available transition pathway.  But even then we reached agreement that the final end game should be a 100 per cent renewables future.

“Stephen was a formidable and passionate opponent.  Being a true professional he continued the conversation forward for many months afterwards.  This proved very beneficial for me personally and also my energy students at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Thank you again Stephen.”

DrillOrDrop report on the debate

9 replies »

  1. How awful, we need as many balanced proponents as we can encourage, a sad loss. Stephen Tindale will be missed.

  2. I am saddened to learn of the loss of such a knowledgeable person.

    Which ever side of the fence you sit on regarding fracking, it is only through strong, balanced debate that issues and problems can ever, possibly be resolved.

    His loss will be felt on both sides.

  3. It is very sad news. It is absolutely right to recognise just how important Stephen’s contribution was,when working for Chris Smith in the development of ” In Trust For Tomorrow.” The thinking behind it did seriously alter UK energy policy, culminating in the2003 energy white paper( the first such policy paper since 1976) promoted by Margaret Beckett at Environment and Patricia Hewitt at DTI, and importantly launched by Tony Blair as Prime Minister, albeit just a few days before the Iraq invasion. It emphasised energy conservation and renewables, and placed nuclear firmly onto the backburner.

    However despite parachuting a new Grade 3 and two new Grade 5s into DTI to implement the new priorities, the old guard civil service was having none of it. The weekend after the 2005 General Election, the then Director General for Energy, Joan MacNaughton, sent a briefing paper to the new DTI Secretary Alan Johnson saying the recently adopted policy was nonsense, Beckett was ideologically silly, it had to be reversed, and nuclear reinstated ( the third volume of Johnson’s autobiography has a telling section on this prioritisation ).

    And so the force of the DTI establishment, aided by Andrew Brown at EDF, concentrated upon restoring the old nuclear uber alles philosophy into a new energy White Paper issued in 2006, including vastly inflated forecasts of electricity consumption increases to justify its adoption of a vast family of new nukes. And In Trust For Tomorrow became just a forgotten footnote.

    If Stephen’s sad death could possibly have one positive effect, it would be for his magnum opus to be resurrected.

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