Climate change beliefs shape opposition to UK fracking – new study

Beliefs about the seriousness of climate change appear to be influencing attitudes against UK shale gas extraction, despite the war in Ukraine, a new study has concluded.

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, found that people were more opposed to UK gas extraction, including  fracking, as perceptions grew about the seriousness of climate change and the reliability of evidence.

And the link between the two beliefs appeared to be getting stronger over time.

Academics at UK and US universities concluded there was a growing contradiction in the minds of the UK public between domestic gas production and the commitment to reaching net zero by 2050.

The findings, they said, could be important in communication about climate action. Opposition to gas could grow if it were portrayed as a fossil fuel, rather than part of the transition to help tackle climate change, they said.


The study’s findings were based on annual surveys of a representative sample of 1,000 UK residents carried out between 2019-2022.

Researchers examined the relationship between participants’ support for gas production and changes to their climate change beliefs.

They found that support for onshore shale gas fracking fell between 2019 and 2021 but rose slightly in 2022.

The participants rated support at 3.02 in 2019, 2.62 in 2020 and 2.47 in 2021, where 1 was strongly opposed, 2 moderately opposed and 3 slightly opposed. Support rose slightly in 2022, to 2.93.

The same trend was also seen in attitudes to offshore domestic extraction and onshore UK gas production not using fracking.

Support for onshore non-fracking production fell from 4.52 in 2019 (where 4 was slight support and 3 slightly opposed), to 4.16 in 2020, 3.99 in 2021 and 4.24 in 2022.

Over the same period, the link appeared to strengthen between attitudes to all gas production and perceptions of the seriousness of climate change/reliability of climate data.

In 2022, the researchers found that for every one unit increase in perceived seriousness of climate change, gas support fell by on average 0.16 units. This was eight times larger an effect than seen in 2019, they said.

“Despite major geopolitical shifts over the last few years, (for example, responses to the pandemic, effects of the Ukraine war), the link between climate change and gas has strengthened; climate change belief increasingly predict opposition to gas.”

The researchers suggested the role of gas as a fuel to help climate action, if replacing coal, had been increasingly challenged:

“It is possible that the UK public has made clearer connections between gas extraction of all kinds and the detrimental effects of this energy source for climate change.

“Climate activism and even policy debates have increasingly painted the status of gas as a transition fuel as problematic and have drawn attention to the role of gas in accelerating (rather than mitigating) climate change.”

27 replies »

    • OSLO (Reuters) -Norway’s government apologised on Thursday to Indigenous Sami groups for the construction of wind turbines on reindeer pastures, calling it a “human rights violation”, while also urging a solution that still allows power production in the area.

      The apology by Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland followed a week of protests by Sami activists, and others including environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, that led to a growing crisis for the government.

      “I have apologised (today) on behalf of the government to the reindeer herding districts for the fact that the permits (to build wind farms) constituted a violation of human rights,” Aasland told a news conference.

      Norway’s supreme court ruled in 2021 that the turbines erected on two wind farms at Fosen in central Norway violated Sami rights under international conventions, but they remain in operation almost 17 months later.

      • Hmm, I recall other issues with plonking them in the sea and mincing migratory raptors, then wanting to plonk them in close proximity to a major nesting colony.

        Wonder if the precautionary principle should be applied, and just ban them?

        Never mind, I note that Greta is now an expert on male dangly bits! Goodness, so much “education” on the Internet.

  1. If you’re going to mock, please mock accurately. The protest Ms Thunberg supported is not against all onshore wind in Norway. Just some turbines that were ruled illegal in a specific area, for sound reasons.

    • It does appear that Ms Greta Thunberg and her perfectly justified protest against illegal activities is suffering from being the favourite ‘attempted to be pilloried target’ by those who reduce everything to demonising individuals, rather than report the truth, or the facts of the matter.

      However, moving further afield and since America often gets mentioned on this website, there are growing suspicions in the USA regarding the series of train, road and fossil fuel derivatives accidents and spillages, un-‘controlled burns’ and apparently organised attrition on vital infrastructure and land use, that have increased exponentially in the last few months.

      The suspicions emerge from the legislation produced by the USA Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] which contains clauses that in the event of a ‘threatened’ or actual pollution event such as those mentioned. The EPA is particularly implicated by their declarations in the case of the East Palestine, Ohio train wreck, and subsequent deliberate un-‘controlled burn’ of highly toxic fossil fuel derivative chemicals which have polluted the area with ‘dioxins’ [see next post] which are produced by the deliberate burning of those chemicals.

      The equivalent in the UK is the Environment Agency [EA] and The Office for Environmental Protection [OEP], the Onshore Oil and Gas Authority [OGA] now called the North Sea Transition Authority [NSTA]. There is also legislation in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

      It is the legislation, incorporated in the EPA in the USA, which has caused such a stir. I attach a series of links to videos and documents that explain why there is so much concern in the USA following the fossil fuel derivatives accidents and deliberate pollution of vast areas of the air, land and water. The reason that concern may well be applied to the UK situation will become apparent during those links, and it did not take long to find similar clauses in the UK.Gov environmental protection legislation.

      1st link: *’ – BREAKING: EPA Scam Intensifies! EPA Orders Norfolk Southern To Test For Dioxins & Threatens Cleanup – *’ ––Threatens-Cleanup – ‘*

      2nd link: *’ – BREAKING: Superfund Feds DEPLOYED To Ohio! CERCLA Tyranny Incoming?! Will Dioxin Dovetail To CERCLA? – ‘*

      3rd link: *’ – LAND GRAB: Govt Seizes Contaminated Property If Owners Can’t Pay EPA Clean Up Extortion Fees! – ‘*

      There are several more links to add, however these will give you the gist of what is so concerning about the EPA legislation in the USA, and how it can be seen in link 4. that there is similar legislation in the UK.

      If you are of the opinion that it cannot happen in the UK, then it may be educational to read the UK legislation on contaminated land, which reveals that there is similar legislation here.

      4th link: *’ – Case Law Update: Contaminated land liabilities – ‘*
      *’ – The framework of England’s contaminated land regime (“CLR”) is set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The regime sets out the local authority’s duty to inspect their area for, and for regulators to identify and investigate, potential “contaminated land” and determine those responsible for its remediation. They then have powers to serve remediation notices on those responsible or to undertake the remediation and recover the costs from the responsible parties, if they are not satisfied that the remediation will be undertaken voluntarily. – *’ – – ‘*

      This may take some time to absorb, but I suggest you stick at it, [those that will even look at it, that is] and maybe you can begin to understand what the ‘possible’ consequences are from spillage and fires from fossil fuel derivative chemical products and what may well result in what has been called a ‘land grab’. It has to be noted that there are many historical spills and burns and ongoing dumping here in the UK, and many, many more worldwide. You may be moved to consider the ‘possible’ consequences of that.

      I apologise for the long post on a Sunday, but there are implications in these situations in the USA that deserve some quiet contemplation by everyone in the UK, whose lives, health and futures may well be effected by the consequences of similar legislation right here in the UK.

      • 5th link: *’ – Case Law Update: Contaminated land liabilities – *’
        *’ – The framework of England’s contaminated land regime (“CLR”) is set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The regime sets out the local authority’s duty to inspect their area for, and for regulators to identify and investigate, potential “contaminated land” and determine those responsible for its remediation. They then have powers to serve remediation notices on those responsible or to undertake the remediation and recover the costs from the responsible parties, if they are not satisfied that the remediation will be undertaken voluntarily. – ‘*

        Please note the last sentence: *’ – They [The framework of England’s contaminated land regime (“CLR”) is set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.] The local authority under then have powers to serve remediation notices on those responsible or to undertake the remediation and recover the costs from the responsible parties, if they are not satisfied that the remediation will be undertaken voluntarily. – ‘*

        *’ – CLR has been in force since 2000, though the statutory guidance and technical documents that support CLR have been revised periodically since that time. However, in the intervening years there has been very little caselaw to elaborate on some of the key concepts of the regime. – ‘* – – ‘*

        The framework of England’s contaminated land regime (“CLR”)as is set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, is a document that is well worth some investigation regarding its implications on similar events in the UK as indicated in the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] legislation in the USA.

        • In the U.K. this is simply the polluter pays principle written into law. The public authorities step in to undertake the clean up if the landowner cannot be identified or cannot pay. But that is usually a last resort.
          This has been the issue recently highlighted with abandoned/orphaned oil and gas wells, especially in places such as Alberta and the US.
          The CLR in the U.K. includes many operations that involve the use of hazardous substances, processes and waste. Some may be surprised at some of the uses that qualify for inclusion on the Register.

          The CLR existed in order to inform and protect those acquiring property/ land adjacent to a contaminated site, those purchasing or own a contaminated site and of the level of remediation required. Many sites have historic contamination, such as vegetable gardens previously contaminated by arsenic from Victorian glass works, or radiation from the coatings applied to the past manufacture of luminous, radium dials.

          There is also strict liability under Tort if other land owners/users contaminate/damage adjoining land.

          Sometimes the situation may be complex but the overriding principle is public safety. Contaminants in land can leach and be highly toxic for many years so must be dealt with carefully.

          As someone with professional knowledge in these sort of legal matters, I have no serious concern about the U.K. situation with regard to contaminated land, other than it it’s protections should be strictly enforced. And that known polluting industries should be better monitored with environmental protections strictly enforced and breaches prosecuted. Where appropriate monies should be set aside upfront for clean up/remediation costs.

          • Further …. And as for local authority liability, if sites are sold clean up costs will pass to the developer and the local authority would take a reduced purchase price. Often sites badly contaminated may be sold at negative value and with a contribution from the authority. With latent contamination it can be complex but if the polluter can be identified they will be made to pay and if this is a local authority they will be liable. And the government would may step in the event of a local authority having insufficient funds. The downside, as pointed out in your link is the time complex cases can take and that must be improved. But this is a different scenario to the immediate problems in Ohio.

            • Thanks for your professional knowledge report of the sort of legal matters relating to pollution and contaminated land in the UK KatT.
              The question in the USA appears to be that the EPA has written themselves legislation in their ‘Superfund’ documentation, in which they can confiscate the land from the landowner, if the polluter cannot be identified, and the owner of the land does not comply with the very complex resultant rules of the EPA investigation. Where, in order to clean up the land to the satisfaction of the EPA, then the legislation allows the EPA TO charge the former owner for the cost of cleaning up the land in the form of a Lien. If the land is offered to be purchased by a third party, known as a BFPP [Bona-Fide Prospective Purchaser] who may be any body that wishes to use the land for other purposes, as is Ohio and the Ohio River, which outfalls into the Mississippi, is the most productive agricultural land for the rest of America. Which essentially puts the USA Government, via the EPA, in control of the prime agricultural land in the USA.
              Here is a further link which explores the complexity of what is happening in the East Palestine, Ohio train wreck and criminally un-‘controlled burn’ which produced the ‘dioxin’ pollution. A ‘controlled burn’ is where the substance and the containers are taken to a remote and sealed enclosed controlled and monitored structure where all the contaminants are incinerated completely so that no contaminant is remaining. Which is quite the opposite to what happened in East Palestine, Ohio.
              – *’ – – ‘*

              This is also a chemical identification of ‘dioxins’ which is a shortened version of the complete set of about 30 recognized forms of ‘dioxins’, which simply means two oxygen molecules. Which is therefore woefully inaccurate to the level of harm they produce:

              *’ – Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They belong to the so-called “dirty dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Dioxins are of concern because of their highly toxic potential. Experiments have shown they affect a number of organs and systems.
              Once dioxins enter the body, they last a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be 7 to 11 years. In the environment, dioxins tend to accumulate in the food chain. The higher an animal is in the food chain, the higher the concentration of dioxins.
              The chemical name for dioxin is: 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo para dioxin (TCDD). The name “dioxins” is often used for the family of structurally and chemically related polychlorinated dibenzo para dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). Certain dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with similar toxic properties are also included under the term “dioxins”. Some 419 types of dioxin-related compounds have been identified but only about 30 of these are considered to have significant toxicity, with TCDD being the most toxic. – ‘*

              [Text updated at poster’s request]

              • Maybe with your professional knowledge regarding the legal matters relating to pollution and land contamination, KatT, you could peruse through the detailed legislation and look for similar EPA ‘Superfund’ clauses within the UK legislation?

                • It appears that the intensely publicized information release regarding the EPA’s ability to enforce windfall liens under their Superfund legislation ability to make a ‘land grab’ in East Palestine, Ohio, has motivated an EPA lawyer to write to the investigators to say that –

                  ‘EPA will not place ‘windfall liens’ on East Palestine’s residential and business properties impacted by the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio to recover costs associated with the Agency’s offer to provide cleaning services to businesses and homes.’

                  EPA’s Lawyer Somewhat Promises NO WINDFALL LIENS On The Victims Of The Train Crash/ Chemical Bombing – *’ – – ‘*

                  Which has vindicated the release of the information which was provided so publicly as to elicit the reply. What it has also shown however, is that the EPA does indeed have the powers to do so if or when they discover unspecified ‘dioxins’ in the environment as it was said, from ‘wildfires or’ garden roasts’ which are amongst the less harmful of the 419 identified chemicals far too loosely and somewhat dangerously inadequately described as ‘dioxins’.
                  As the reporter says, it will be important to demand precisely which ‘dioxins’ are found, and to provide proof of that, since there are, as shown in the links – *’ – Some 419 types of dioxin-related compounds have been identified, but only about 30 of these are considered to have significant toxicity, with TCDD being the most toxic. – ‘* Since the term ‘dioxin’ [which just means two combined oxygen molecules] is inadequately labelled for such a range of 419 chemicals, and the toxicity, which for many of the worst ‘forever chemicals’ is potentially lethal or has long term fertility and health damage issues that do not deteriorate in the air, soil or water.

                  Therefore, as much as the carefully constructed e-mail from a lawyer connected with the EPA can be interpreted, that is at least a success. How this plays out if the absence of local background chemical contamination levels are concerned, and the ongoing testing regime continues, at least a step in the right direction has been achieved.

                  So congratulations to all those in the USA who publicised and raised the issues of the EPA ‘windfall liens’ and the ‘Superfund’ legislation. Who notified everyone that would listen before it became main stream news at all. What happens now, relative to the train wreck and the un-‘controlled burn’ of some of the worst of those ‘forever chemicals’ into the environment of the residents of East Palestine, Ohio, remains to be seen.

                  [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

          • Thank you KatT for saving us on a Sunday contemplating what may happen in other countries!

            Looks as if there is another reason that could be contemplated regarding using product from local production where some greater control may exist around the way said product is produced, and transported, and can be observed and verified. The old farm shop principle and the “no thank you” to chlorinated chicken, whilst still eating chicken.

  2. Strange bit of research that appears to be contradicted by the Tracker Survey!

    Call me old fashioned, but whenever I conducted research the biggest influence expected was whether economics would carry a large influence. As households start seeing more cost for energy they have to pay they will be more influenced. As they start to see their jobs disappearing to areas with low energy costs or having to pay high taxes to subsidize to keep them, the same. That is starting, with car companies in UK indicating already their new electric models may not be made in UK due to such considerations. Others doing same regarding Europe. It really is not that difficult to predict. The old “nice to have” versus “can’t afford it” argument.

    Going forward, there will not be massive energy subsidies to households or businesses, there will be costs such as £200B for new nuclear hitting bills, together with generation costs from same. There is a reason that no one has estimated what energy costs will be once this “Utopia” is arrived at. Plonk that into any survey and see what answer is reached, except I would suspect there would be those who control spending budgets indicating that a survey could not be justified for such an obvious conclusion. Remember, it was only a few years ago that new nuclear would not be required! It was obvious it would be. Ignorance or deception? Either way, there is form.

  3. What an absolute FRACKING DISASTER

    You couldn’t trust these companies to fill your pocket gas lighter .

    This is what the residents in this town in Pennsylvania are having to put up with .

    To add insult to injury, the company responsible is playing the game ” operation play it down ” shameful, just shameful… It’s clear they don’t give a HOOT about the residents safety.

    Just think how Fracking is fueling climate change .

  4. Twaddle, Jack. Nothing to do with fracking in the UK.

    What is to do with fracking in the UK is that UK are depending upon others to produce gas for them and ship it over, so they don’t have to operate their coal fired power stations too much. Oops, too late.

    Just think how coal fired power stations are fueling climate change, as snow about to blanket the UK. Never mind, UK can import the coal-as well. Then whinge about the production of both gas and coal.

    • MARTIN ,

      Who said it was to do with the UK ?????

      I’m just exposing the Fracking Climate Change Disaster. . Look at it as a WARNING , as to what these two bit companies could expose people to , if ever they got a foothold over here in the UK .

      These companies don’t care about the environment or public health, it’s all about maximum PROFITS.

      I think you need to take s look at this again MARTIN .

      It’s and absolute disgrace , long prison sentences I’d say for the people responsible.

        • Great news? The day after Mr. Musk has needed to slash the price of his product for a second time to get some sold! What next, a BOGOFF?

          You did remind me though of my comic book annual that I read avidly many years ago about all the things that could happen. Then, as I grew up, I found the vast majority of the things didn’t happen or had problems if they did.

          Keep warm Jack.

      • Yes, Jack, just more of your exposing!

        Except you then state “could”.

        I could fill DoD with several books worth of things that “could” happen. However, I prefer to deal with facts and reality and will leave the speculation and fabrication to yourself to expose your obvious agenda.

        Caring about the environment? You mean those who are willing and knowingly increasing transport emissions to ship product from over the horizon, and even then having to switch on the coal? Yes, long prison sentences I’d say for the people responsible. Let us know when you get out, Jack.

          • MARTIN,

            How about this FACT

            Fracking companies that don’t care about the health of you , your family or your childrens future ….. The only thing that matters to them is maximum PROFITS.

            It’s hard to believe , but these LOWLIFE companies ” fight hard ” against any regulations … They actually want to continue destroying the the earth’s atmosphere .

            Hidden Menace: Massive methane leaks speed up climate change

            • Ahh, the age old excuse. Plonk PROFIT in a sentence or even DEBT, and the population is excited. Nope, it isn’t Jack-especially from someone who has plonked out link after link about LOSS. The tune changes completely, but the nonsense remains the same. The algorithm is primed then re-primed and out it comes.

              What are you worried about Jack? Companies making a LOSS or making a PROFIT? Alternatively, you might just be so incoherent, you don’t know yourself.

              Meanwhile, in UK HMRC estimates that 5.5m people will pay higher rate tax this year, up around 44% since 2019/20 tax year.
              That is what you get when companies are not making a profit, or if they are, they are doing so over the horizon. The individual tax payer picks up the difference.

              Just watched the second gritter this morning dieseling along my road. Maybe more than two coal fired power stations required before this week is out? Someone is making a profit from it-the coal suppliers and the diesel manufacturers-both being imported in large quantities.

              Methane? Ban rice paddies then. Ban cows then. Drain the swamps. (I rather like rice, beef and swamps.)Then, how do you stop methane leaks from under the sea, that have been going on for a very long time? Maybe just extract it and use it. Same in USA where what was considered not that worthwhile to capture is now much more worthwhile to capture and then sell over the horizon, as there are some over the horizon who think that is better than doing the job themselves, then plonk 5.5m of their population into higher rate taxation.

              Goodness, these jails could be overflowing.

              Must away, Jack. Have a dentists appointment at 12.45pm. Strange, it must be a mirage!

    • Shows just how desperate you are to be peddling such rubbish, and probably a good indicator of the extent of your investement, you backed the wrong horse, move on. Fracking is a dead duck!


      I regularly read you endless posts on the ” Igas share chat ” webpage and find what you say generally on different aspects of Oil & Gas interesting and informative.

      On the other hand , I can understand why, with the IGAS share price LOWER than a SNAKES BELLY, you will be desperate to try and talk up the toxic Fracking in industry in favour of renewables.

      Your above comment, quote , “Somebody somewhere will suffer b/c of your luxurious EV lifestyle. ” bares testament to that .

      With so many reasons why Fracking should not go ahead here in the UK . I understand why playing the mining of Cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one the very few , desperate cards PRO-Frackers can use .

      I often question if these caring , PRO-frackers are also as enthusiastic in fighting for the rights of oppressed children making trainers in sweatshops in Vietnam , or clothes in India .

      You may ask what is my angle for not wanting Fracking here in the UK , well I’m one of those poor souls who lives in one of those areas that stand to have their life irreversibly damaged if UK Fracking ever reared its ugly head .

  5. Of course, you could always do up your house, offer to rent it out to the government to house the numerous illegals that keep showing up and cash in on the generous tributes that some fracking company would give you to cover any maintenance costs.

    Your life would irreversibly improved in that case, as you will be a landlord with multiple streams of income. You could then use that wealth to pay for a property somewhere much nicer and not worry about fracking one iota.

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