Is this the beginning of the end of fracking? I really hope so. On Tuesday Cuadrilla was forced to shut down its operations after yet another tremor was detected. This mini-earthquake was the fourth such micro-seismic event measuring a magnitude of 0.4 – too small to be felt on the surface but nevertheless, a significant and immediate reaction to engineers attempting to fracture the earth’s core.
Like many, I feel desperate concern and upset on behalf of our planet when a company is given permission to drill down and inject liquid at high pressure with the aim of creating cracks in the earth to extract oil or gas. In response to the tremors, Cuadrilla said ‘these are tiny seismic events that are being detected by our monitors, as we fracture the shale rock, and are not capable of being felt, much less cause damage or harm.’ Surely these tremors are a warning of more serious implications ahead should Cuadrilla be allowed to continue? And are the tremors a response to ‘damage and harm’ being caused below the surface of the earth?
We ignore the earth’s response at our peril. When there are other options for producing energy I find it incomprehensible that this government refuses to embrace and invest in renewables. Instead it ignores the concerns and wishes of councils and local people and even the advice from leading scientists from across the world.
Last month those scientists warned that fossil fuel use must be cut dramatically to limit temperature rises. They say there’s only a dozen years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Once it goes up by even half a degree there will be a significant risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people – including us here in the UK. Labour has placed the future of our planet at the heart of its long term policies. By 2030 we’re committed to creating a sevenfold increase in offshore windfarms with a tripling of solar power, enabling nearly 20m homes to be powered by wind and solar. By 2030 we would double the number of onshore windfarms. There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change. Let’s create a safer future for our children and grandchildren.