Does today’s climate report change the arguments on UK fracking?

pnr 181005 danny vc llew 2

Fracking equipment ready for use at Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 5 October 2018. Photo: Danny Vc Llew

UK anti-fracking campaigners claimed their case against shale gas was supported by today’s international report on the actions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC.

The UK government made no reference to shale gas in its response to the assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the onshore oil and gas industry said carbon capture and storage and extracting hydrogen from methane could be cost-effective decarbonisation options.

The IPCC report concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

It said there would need to be “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This meant that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5ºC by 2100, the report said. The effectiveness of such techniques were unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, it noted. Link to the report

DrillOrDrop has been looking at the reaction to the report.

“Urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions”

Claire Perry, energy and clean growth minister

“I welcome the strong scientific analysis behind today’s IPCC report and it’s conclusions are stark and sober. As policy makers we need to work together to accelerate the low carbon transition to minimise the costs and misery of a rapidly warming world.

“In the UK we have shown great leadership with the passage of the world’s first Climate Change Act a decade ago, the most rapid decarbonisation in the G7 and a comprehensive Clean Growth Strategy detailing policies to cut carbon right across the economy.  Our upcoming Green GB Week from October 15 will help us reflect on this progress but also the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions globally.”

“Need for democratic control and public interest decision making

Rebecca Long Bailey, shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary

“Today’s IPCC report is sobering – a call for transformative action to avoid dangerous climate change. That is Labour’s offer to the public. But we must be honest: it is something the Conservatives will never be able to deliver.”

She said it was not a lack of knowledge or technology that prevented action.

“What we do lack is an economic system in which major decisions about resource use are under democratic control.

“We also lack a political and economic system in which decisions are made in the public interest, for the many not the few.

“We need democratic control and public interest decision making to tackle climate change – but these two things are anathema to conservatives. That is why a Tory administration could never deliver on the scale required. Fracking is just one example of this.”

“Ban on fracking”

Bill Esterson, shadow energy and international trade minister

181008 IPCC Bill Esterson tweet

“CCS and methane reforming cost-effective options”

Ken Cronin, chief executive, UK Onshore Oil and Gas

“The Committee on Climate Change have expressed that ‘Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is part of the cost-effective pathway for an emissions reduction of 80% by 2050, and its absence could double the cost of achieving this reduction. CCS becomes even more important for deeper reductions by 2050 and is essential to reach net-zero emissions, committed to under the Paris Agreement’

“Several pieces of analysis have concluded that the least cost decarbonisation for sectors such as heating and industry involves methane reforming with CCS. The alternative requires a costlier and more intrusive intervention into the UK’s homes and businesses.

“As the UK has a 50% gas import dependency, which is forecast to increase to almost 75% by 2035 without UK shale gas production – the UK would have to achieve its decarbonisation targets with higher carbon imported gas, such as LNG and long distance pipeline.”

“Government pushing us towards climate tipping point”

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP and former leader

“Today’s IPCC report is unequivocal: renewables need to supply 70-85% of ower by 2050.

“Fracking will put us on a dangerous path towards climate breakdown.”

“Government not on track to make changes”

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader, Green Party

181008 IPCC Jonathan Bartley tweet

“Time is running out”

Friends of the Earth

181008 IPCC FoE tweet

Rachel Kennerley, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, said:

“Political will can get us out of this and the UK government can choose whether to heed this report’s findings. Currently, they’re choosing to ignore the full weight of scientific consensus and are directly funding climate chaos by supporting fracking and other dirty industries.”

“Consequences of new fracking industry can’t be ignored”

Greenpeace UK

“This is the last call for humanity’s journey to a liveable planet. From this point on, action on climate change can’t be kicked into the long grass. We’re now playing catch-up to limit the irreversible damage it will do.

“Every decision made by our government will have serious impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods. No longer can the UK government ignore the consequences of starting a new fracking industry, expanding aviation or failing to phase out polluting cars and deal with energy-wasting homes.

“As the room for mistakes shrinks and the cost grows, Theresa May’s government should rise to the challenge laid down by the world’s leading scientists and make Britain a true climate leader. Our children and grandchildren are watching and will remember.”

“Fracking is increasingly dangerous climate denial”

Keith Taylor Green Party MEP

“When climate scientists across the world are telling political leaders that the only way to avoid climate catastrophe is to remake the human world within a generation, it is unconscionable that the Tories are still pushing ahead with plans to fast-track the dangerous exploitation of new climate-destructive shale gas reserves. And planning to bypass local democracy in the process.

“Fracking has never been compatible with our binding climate commitments under the Paris agreement. Today’s IPCC report makes clear the brutal reality of the impact of global warming exceeding 1.5c. Failure to keep below that limit is assured if the Tories press ahead with fracking.

“Rather than jailing the fracking protesters heroically defending our planet and our future, Ministers must wake up and take urgent action to drop their support for the climate-destructive fossil fuel industry. Fracking is a form of increasingly dangerous climate denial.”

“We can’t have any new fossil fuels”

Fossil Free UK

181008 IPCC Fossil Free UK

“Why is UK fracking?

Frack Off London

“Today the IPCC stated to keep global warming to 1.50C in low-carbon energy technologies & energy efficiency would need to approximately double in the next 20 years, while investment in fossil fuels extraction and conversion decrease by a quarter. So why is UK fracking?”

118 replies »

  1. By the way Jack, there is no INEOS plan to drill on NT land. This was about seismic testing, which has already been done on that same land for other industry, as has most of the land in that area. (No link, just relatives who managed some of it and used to enjoy the experience of something a bit different. No water pipes broken either.)

    Any drilling that might follow would NOT be on NT land. That has already been clarified to NT.

    Liked the forestry bit Paul! As long as not then turned into wood pellets or bunged in millions of wood burners.


      I was wondering when you would say that.

      I’m well aware about INEOS supposedly, ONLY wanting to do Seismic testing on NT land.

      BUT , do I really need to join up the dots for you ????

      If any quantities of Shale were found during their so called Seismic testing. DO YOU HONESTLY think they would just pack up their bags , forget the costs they’ve incurred and just walk away, REALLY ???

      From earthworms upwards in the intelligence scale , we can all guess what Seismic testing is a pretext to .

  2. No need to wonder or guess Jack. The actual information has been given. Horizontal drilling means any drilling under the Park could be achieved from some distance away. The NT have been told that.

    A few miles down the road are old coal mines. They were taking coal from far and wide, not just directly under the winding gear. Quite simple, you go down and then sideways-a long way if required, much further than attempted yet at PNR.

    I suspect all the NT members, and day visitors could drive out to the Park without any sight of what might develop. But, the point of the seismic testing is to find the ideal areas to concentrate upon. Surely, you wouldn’t want gaps in seismic information to force development into a few remaining patches that might not be the optimum? That’s not Gold Standard.

    • MARTIN…….. WRONG

      Do YOU honestly think that Fracking companies would be happy, walking away from National Trust land that had significant amounts of Shale ??????

      The National Trust manage and own so much land in the Shale areas of the North of England , that it’s reasonable to assume that sizeable sections of the land would NOT be accessible from underground only…….. Also if Fracking was only ever conducted from underneath NT land, there is still a real risk of their, Natural, Special Places Of Interest, lakes, rivers and resoviours being contaminated by Fracking operations underneath .

      MARTIN, let me clearly put you in picture…….. The National Trust look after 250,000 hectares of countryside and more than 775 miles of coastline,

      NOW DO YOU think that Fracking can , or will only take place underneath National Trust land ????

  3. This is to do with Clumber Park Jack. I think you have gone off on a tangent but when the case is heard it will be about the particular issue and site not as you would like to extrapolate it.

    • MARTIN,

      You know as well as I do, these things start small , just to get their foot in the door.

      Then they just push a little more and more at a time , until these companies fully get what they want .

      Let’s recap at what has already been said by the Fracking industry …… They say that up to 64,000 jobs could be created by opening up our land to Fracking.

      Cuadrilla PNR announce that 11 permanent jobs will created at their site .

      You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist to work out using the above numbers, the Fracking industry is hoping to have, at the very least 1000 + wells at any given time in operation .


      64,000 jobs promised by the Fracking industry .

      11 permanent jobs created at Cuadrilla PNR.

      Taking in to account with the above, the supply chain jobs.

      How many wells are you thinking ????

      They would, if they had their own way, put Fracking sites ALL OVER the place.

      The North of England , would end up resembling a toxic pin cushion.

  4. Jack, do calm down!

    If you are so worried about huge numbers of wells direct this to other antis who continue to declare that no gas will be produced, and if so it will be uneconomic. Oh, my mistake that was YOU Jack, when you were quoting the Dead Sea Scroll produced by Lord Brown(?) in 2013(?).

    I honestly have no idea of wells Jack, because that is speculation. Will PNR be 1 or 4? Subsequent ones could be 1 or 8/10. Directional drilling makes that possible, and then definition is quite important.

    In terms of jobs your calculation is too basic. Seismic testing jobs, distribution jobs, security staff jobs, contractors jobs, sandwich supplier jobs, laundry jobs etc. etc. will feature but who knows how many.

    Bit like the Shell idea to plant forest. Just think of all those demolition jobs to remove the wind turbines and solar farms to find the land to plant the trees!

    Perhaps we may have a better idea when some testing has been done? Speculation is fun, but if it had any real value we would all win the lottery every week.

  5. John, you are confusing cost with carbon pay back. The latter is not about about cost – but is about all the emissions embedded in manufacturing, supplying & installing, plus losses converting DC to AC (as solar panels, unlike windfarms, produce DC) . If you go to DUKES 2018, the UK Gov Stats on UK energy production, import & consumption by sector is given for the previous year (2017).

    The link is is here

    On page 169 you will see the following; “During 2017, 10.2 per cent of final energy consumption was from renewable sources, an increase of 0.9 percentage points on 2016”

    On page 165 it says “6.24 The load factor for solar photovoltaics (on an unchanged configuration basis) decreased slightly in 2017, by 0.4 percentage points to 10.7, the lowest since 2011. This reflects the slightly lower hours of sunshine (4.1 hours compared to 4.2 for 2016). Compared to the ten year mean, hours of sunshine in 2017 were fewer for most months during the apart from January, November and December”. This means that when a solar farm says it has solar panels that can generate 1 MW/hour it actually only supplies through the year an average about 100KWhr which is 10% of the installed capacity. Bear in mind solar panels are not very effiicient (7-11%) – cheap ones less so (<9%). Those imported from China have high embedded CO2 emissions as China has poor regulation on emissions & its power generation is coal dominated. Plus there is the transportation from China, then the aluminium frames & structures and copper wires etc to install a solar farm, plus the DC to AC converters. So we are talking 10% of 9% or less efficiency. Solar panel life is about 20 years. DC- AC convertors should be replaced after 10 years. Also solar panels should be placed optimally in a sweet spot with then panels tilted correctly for latitude & facing due south with now shadows cast across the panels. Panels should also be cleaned every 6 months for optimum performance.

    The further N. Solar panesl are fitted the worse they are. The optimum sites in the UK are in S Devon & Cornwall. In terms of carbon payback solar panels need to be located in southern Spain or further south.

    Hope you can now see that some renewables in a UK context are not very good.

    Note this plot about solar insolation in Europe. GB is on the far right of the graph – very low!!!!

    • Dear Nick,

      Sorry but I must correct you here “1 MW/hour it actually only supplies through the year an average about 100KWhr ” as this contains two errors:

      Firstly “MW/hour” is not a known metric for power or energy. The installed capacity of solar is typically expressed as Wp, kWp or MWp where by the subscript P stands for peak under standard test conditions.

      More fundamentally in the UK 1MWp would typically generate around 900MWh per annum. This is well established with actual measured data and, as you can see, some 9000 times what you claimed (100kWh). This ranges from around 1090MWh/MWp in the South West to around 800MWh/MWp in Scotland. I can also testify to this level from my own small residential system in Nottingham (which has never been cleaned in 8 years and still performing brilliantly).

      This level of production is such that commercial investors (pension funds etc al) are getting close to the hurdle rates they need at wholesale prices of electricity alone (around £45/MWh) without any form of incentive so nothing like as insignificant as you suggest.

      You also hint at embedded carbon in their manufacture but there’s many detailed Life Cycle Analyses undertaken and published on this topic. Generally speaking solar power systems repay their embedded energy/carbon in about 6 years in the UK. Also module efficiency, even of poly-crystalline, is typically above 15% now. Mono-crystalline modules are achieving >19%. Inverters (DC to AC converters) should be replaced when they fail not “they should be replaced after 10 years”.


  6. The arguments in favour of wind power are largely based upon the fact that it does not use fossil fuel, but do we know enough about wind power , or even solar power for that matter warming ? You don’t get something for nothing. The jet streams above the Atlantic more or less follow a set pattern over the UK more Southerly in the Winter more northerly in the summer. This drags in the low and high pressure troughs and peaks which give us our weather. Right now the North Sea has the largest off shore wind farms in the world and they are expanding very fast. The jet streams are, of course affected by surface resistance transmitted back up to them as they force along the moving depressions below i.e. It takes more effort to shove an isobar across a land mass than it does across a sea, but over the years it has reached an equilibrium and our jet streams follow a predictable pattern. But, suddenly hundreds of wind farms have appeared and they are extracting billions of watts of power from the wind and consequently causing a back pressure way up to the jet stream. The jet streams being unconfained will always seek the path of the least resistance, and move into it. Could we then be inadvertently redirecting the jet stream to further North or further South. In which case there would be a major climate change for Europe to either colder or warmer. Food for thought but as I said before you don’t get energy for nothing it affects something somewhere. Perhaps the eco warriors could think a little more before they jump to conclusions

    • Vernon, I can understand the point you are making, but is this just your theory, or do you have some peer reviewed research to give a link to. Mountain ranges can deflect or even split jet streams, but I doubt offshore wind farm developments can. They certainly affect wave fetch & they might have a positive effect on causing vertical mixing in the sea, which reduces the risk of water stratification during summer. They could be built with aquaculture in mind too. The main risk with offshore wind is if the turbines are storm damaged in winter, as it is difficult then to get a weather window to fix them.

  7. Actually Jack, what you were doing is the typical Giggle warrior dance. Post two absolute extremes based upon the square root of nothing (to put it politely) and then imply that both, are factual! The only factual bit is someone has speculated, so the links appears.

    Maybe better to take a position rather than hedge your bets? When the hedging is at the two extremes all it demonstrates is that it is pure speculation.

    Nothing wrong with speculation if it is referenced as such. If it is not then we have fake news, which is really pretty lazy when there is plenty of real news to go around..

  8. Do you EVER check what you post, Jack?

    I used to mentor some younger colleagues who needed some advice with how they presented to clients. You bring back memories, mostly fond ones, but the consistent thread is “oh no, don’t go there”!

    We have discussed Igas before. For some investors who bought at 75p and sold a few weeks later at £1.15, no problem at all. For others who timed their investment differently, a bit more of a problem. Is that so unusual?

    Err, no! Take a look at Tesla. Talking of people who have to go? Well, he is going.

    The Third Energy story almost competes with your Dead Sea Scrolls, Jack! So, a company that is being disposed of and company “heavyweights” move on! Shock/horror. Have you ever been in any company that is up for sale? I suspect not, but everyone thinks about whether to stick and hope or move on. I wouldn’t read too much into it as usually it is down to personal circumstances what people do, and they are rarely known other than personally. Not so exciting, but reality often isn’t.

    • MARTIN ……The IGAS flop.

      IGAS peaked at about £ 1.60 a share in early 2015 ( approx )

      It then went down to about £ 0.045 . ( four and half pence ) a share.

      The shares were then diluted by a factor of 20.

      Then they were relisted at ( approx ) £ 0. 76 ( seventy six pence ) a share.

      Working of the price YOU QUOTE £ 1.15 , that makes their REAL value working of the original REAL figures , about £ 0. 065 ( that’s six and half pence ) a share.

      IGAS, reaching for the stars , I THINK NOT.

      Just Google, IGAS share price and click on the Five Year chart …… They are hobbling along the floor …… It’s all there and MARTIN, it’s indisputable

  9. What a load of nonsense Jack.

    A share price is a value at the specific time.

    The IDEA is to buy when it is low and sell when it has increased. Nobody tells you when you have to buy, when to sell. The investor does that according to when he thinks is the right timing. Many AIM shares are bought and sold over a short time period especially if the companies are within a volatile industry. There are many who make their returns by buying and selling within 24 hours. There are those who sell their shares when the price starts to fall and then buy back more shares when it has reached the bottom, hold while the price increases and then sell and make more money. All pretty difficult and those who get it wrong moan about it.

    Maybe you know someone who lost money on IGAS? Well, if you look at the market today most people have “lost” money on most shares. If they had sold a week, or so ago, probably not. And what will next week bring? Answers on a postcard to Mr. Carney-I am sure he would welcome your input.

    • MARTIN ,

      Try spouting that TOSH to the ” IGAS action group ” Those shareholders have lost the shirts of their backs .

      You can wriggle, twist and turn as much as you like MARTIN, the facts still remain

      I once again ask you and the readers to , Google ” Igas share price ” click on the 5 year chart and be amazed at the cataclysmic fall of this share price . Also please take note of its steady hobbling along the floor .

      YES , people do make and lose money on shares all the time, they evaluate the risks and take their chances ..

      FRACKING, well thats another story .. Investors may feel they’ve been duped into investing in shale ….. Caught on the hook by endless industry BULLxxxT.

      Invest in Fracking, you’d have better odds for profit, investing your money in to an ICE CREAM PAROUR in the middle of the ANTARCTIC.

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