“Fracking” is another term for Hydraulic Fracturing, which is a process that releases trapped gas from within rocks. Hydrocarbons, fractures, acidizing, blah blah blah…
People often ask me what I think about it, and I always try to give a humorous answer, so here is my answer in the style of Good Will Hunting.
Why shouldn’t we frack? That is a tough one, but I will take a shot.
Let's say we start fracking, and we strike it lucky and find some large deposits of shale gas in someone's back yard. We're happy with ourselves because we did our jobs and managed to avert the energy crisis for a short while.
A load of gas trapped inside rocks for thousands of years is released into the atmosphere within a short space of time. Sure, that's great. The rich people will burn it and warm their butts, but the scientists will be running around screaming about climate shifts, palaeontology models, and icebergs the size of Manhattan breaking off and melting… But hey what do they know? They are only 95 % sure it’s caused by man anyway, and there is always the day after tomorrow...
Five years down the line, all the rich people will be burning away vast quantities of shale gas releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The Earth will get nice and warm and the sea level will rise. Of course, Enfield will be the first to start sinking under the ocean. Nobody likes that part of the electorate, and the locals don't mind because it finally gives them a chance to use their webbed hands and feet.
There is no end to human greed, and very soon, the politicians will be saying hey lets drill some more holes into the ground. Just like before, and not in their gardens of course. It'll be in my buddy’s back yard where his children are playing. With all the frantic drilling going on, he will be coughing up black tar from all the dust in the air and taking shrapnel in the ass every time he walks outside but who cares, he has just returned from active duty; he should be used to all the sand.
It's not long before he finds out that the cheap gas he was promised is actually more expensive than the electricity from the nuclear power plant that mysteriously appeared in his front yard. So now my friend has radiation sickness, a deathly cough, and he has to walk to the shops because the Saudis hiked up the oil prices; a clever little price offset due to us not relying on them so much.
Meanwhile, he realizes that the only reason why he was in favour of fracking was so that he could keep his children warm, and there were promises of new jobs and urban rejuvenation. Instead, the fracking plant outsourced his job to private Arab firms, who sub-contracted the work to Nepalese slave labourers who work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks.
A cute little ancillary benefit for everyone concerned, but it ain't helping my buddy who has a cold house, starving children, and has to walk 20 miles to the only one open privatised branch of the post office to collect his unemployment benefit.
With all the short-term crazy money and wine flowing around, and human greed being what it is, the fracking plant management might even take the liberty to hire cheaper managers. Perhaps an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play with drilling machines and it won't be long before he hits a fault line causing a major disaster… With a major environmental disaster at hand costing billions to clear up what will the government do? Nationalise the loss of course, and let my buddy pay for it by hiking up his taxes...
So, now my buddy's out of work, he can't afford to drive because the petrol is too expensive, he can't afford to take a bus, so he's got to walk to the job interviews, which sucks because the shrapnel in his ass is giving him chronic haemorrhoids. Meanwhile he's starving, because every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue-plate special they're serving is North Enfield scrod.
So what do I think? I'm holding out for something better.
I figure frack it, why not take my buddy's job and give it to his sworn enemy. Put his children in a foster care home. Cut child benefit, hike up gas, oil, and electricity prices. Nationalise all the losses and make the poorest pay for it, privatise all the profits and give it to the rich. Reduce all the public services, destroy a couple of villages, shutdown the NHS, and throw in my candidacy to become an MP; I could be elected Prime Minister!
You think you are safe. You are not.
I thought those smarmy smooth-talking politicians had everything covered. That is why they are paid the big bucks right? To think on behalf of the lowly educated population and take the best course for the next twenty years. Where did all those billions go? Why are we not ready? Someone did not keep his or her eyes on the ball...
It is scary to think that the same children I went to school with have been running the country. I know all the Thomas’s, the Johns, the David’s, the Williams... These are the same minds in bigger bodies.
My forecast model, processed on my supercomputer, indicates UK has around 15 to 20 years after which we start seeing adverse weather patterns. Huge dips in temperature will be the most noticeable. This will increase in frequency and duration. The change started sometime in 1999 and has been gaining momentum. The curve is exponential hence; people will not notice much difference in the very early stages.
In 2014 and 2015, expect flooding and overflowing riverbanks. Of course, the Prime Minister -- who ever he may be -- will be the first to visit the flooded regions providing consolation to the poor majority who will lose their homes and possessions.
As usual, the MPs will all be blaming the previous government, and the climate shift, however none of them really cares. As long as they get their money and the wine is flowing...
A combination of poor foresight, corruption, trickery, and bad decisions will converge at around 2015 when the government realise that the riverbanks require dredging which had been stopped for many years.
The energy crisis should have been anticipated. We have no other choice now but to use shale gas. The hydrocarbon damage, whilst significant, is still a drop in the ocean compared to the total sum output of China, India, Russia, and US. So let us use it conservatively, and wisely, and help developing nations to lower their dependence on hydrocarbon fuels.
Helping developing nations reduce their usage of hydrocarbon fuels will have a greater impact on environment.