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Paul Mobbs &
Mobbs' Environmental Investigations –

Work Archive –
Themes Index:

Fracking/Extreme Energy

I've worked primarily with community groups for many years – mostly in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The materials produced from that work have relevance not just to the people who commissioned them, but many other communities too. For that reason I maintain an on-line archive of my work.

For details of the licensing restrictions on using these resources, see the Copyright and Sharing page.

Work Archive:
'Themes' Index

Articles

Handouts

Infographics

Media Coverage

Podcasts

Presentations

Ramblinactivist

Reports/Research

Themes

Activism

Climate

Cyberwarfare

Ecological Limits

Energy

FLOSSH

'Fracking'

Hacktivism

Nuclear

'Outdoors'

Peace

Permaneering

Planning

Pollution/Waste

Simplicity/Less

Quakerism

Video and Audio

The 'Fracking/Extreme Energy' theme covers my work over the last decade or so around the theme of 'extreme energy' sources – such as underground coal gasification, shale oil and gas, and coalbed methane, all of which tend to get lumped (incorrectly) under the label of 'fracking'.

'Fracking' is a good example of why/how we are approaching the Earth's ecological limits. As the highest quality/easiest to produce 'conventional' energy sources deplete, the "business as usual" paradigm is forced to consider more 'extreme' levels of engineering and, almost inevitably, pollution in order to produce the same quantity of product.

The arguments over 'fracking', as I hope my work outlines, goes way beyond the simple media representation of holes in the ground, earthquakes and drilling rigs.


The 'Fracking/Extreme Energy' Theme

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Methane clathrate – the last desperate hope of the fossil fuels industry'

04/08/2017

"Extreme Energy" is a term which encompasses many different forms of 'unconventional' energy resources. From fracking, to tar sands, to some types of renewable energy which take more energy and carbon to produce than they save, these 'extreme' energy sources represent the last hope of the global energy corporations. Why this is so tells a much greater truth about the global commitment to address the issue of climate change.

file icon read the 'Musings' article
141.7 kilobytes

file icon download the A3 poster version
1.7 megabytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Conservatives Planning 'Frackageddon' After Election'

05/06/2017

Very few electors read manifestos, let alone debate the detail of them. That's a pity, as it might change the nature of the tired debates we see at every election. For this week's general election, the Conservative Party's manifesto outlines a sharp break in British planning and environmental policy of a scale not seen since the 1980s. Ostensibly their aim is to make 'fracking' require more exacting regulation. That sounds really great in theory. In practice it depends what your legal definition of 'fracking' is.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
97.8 kilobytes



inc image Ecolonomics no.17: The 'Fracking' Election – Why the 2017 UK General Election is a ground-breaking test of British environmental policy

02/06/2017

I have been researching the issue of unconventional gas and oil in the UK since 2009 – shortly after the Government's 13th On-shore Licensing Round awarded many of the petroleum exploration and production licences (PEDLs) which are being drilled around Britain right now. Over that time the Government has steadily 'lost control' of the issue by a combination of public resistance, industry failure in the US and elsewhere, and changing economics. Today though, the response to the inherent problems of the Government's oil and gas policy represents not only an unprecedented twist in this long saga, but also an unprecedented break in UK environmental and town planning policy. What the Conservatives propose in their election manifesto is to make the development of on-shore oil and gas, below the criteria of what constitutes a 'major' operation in The Infrastructure Act 2015, "permitted development". It's important to unpack this seemingly subtle change to understand its true impact – and why it is so significant.

file icon PDF version
2.3 megabytes

file icon HTML version
1 megabytes

file icon UK PEDLs/contituencies map
1.4 megabytes

file icon North West PEDLs/contituencies map
1 megabytes

file icon North East PEDLs/contituencies map
1 megabytes

file icon South East PEDLs/contituencies map
918.8 kilobytes

file icon South West PEDLs/contituencies map
806.8 kilobytes



inc image Whitehall's 'Fracking' Science Failure: How the Government has misled Parliament and the public on the climate change impacts of shale oil and gas development in Britain – A report for Talk Fracking

24/05/2017

This report seeks to explain how the debate over the gaseous emissions from 'fracking', and their impacts on climate change, has changed over the last few years – and precisely why that debate is critical to how the Whitehall Government has justified, and promoted, onshore oil and gas extraction in Britain.

file icon Original Paul Mobbs/MEI research report
662 kilobytes

file icon Talk Fracking's published version
867 kilobytes

file icon A3 poster summarising the report
1.2 megabytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Whitehall's 'Fracking' Science Failure – How the Government has misled Parliament and the public on the climate change impacts of shale oil and gas development in Britain'

24/05/2017

As the Conservative Manifesto portends a planning 'free for all' for shale gas, Talk Fracking launches its new report demonstrating the flaws in the Government's case on fracking and climate change. Research published over the last 18 months, outlined in Talk Fracking's new report, questions the accuracy of the data used in the Mackay-Stone report. As a result of this new information Whitehall's scientific case has arguably collapsed.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
109.1 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Fracking, Austerity and Brexit – why 'grey-haired' activists must support direct action today'

14/03/2017

Of late I've been trying not to sound like Monty Python's 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch. I'm trying to communicate the idea that while some things in the world of direct action have not changed, some things – particularly the law – have changed for the better.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
70.3 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Fracking distractions – why shale gas is a proxy for a more damaging ideological agenda'

21/12/2015

After more than five years of delay, relaunches and circuitous consultations, the Department of Energy and Climate Change's 14th Landward Licensing Round concluded last Thursday. DECC's Oil and Gas Authority awarded the final 132 exploration and production licences; overall none of the 159 licences applied for were refused. Arguably though, this announcement was a cynical act of misdirection.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
113.4 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'More manipulative media misinformation from DECC can't mask the Government's fanaticism on fracking'

15/06/2015

The Department of Energy and Climate Change – DECC – and the Environment Agency jointly issued a press notice[1] last Sunday. On a Sunday? Obviously someone at DECC is really annoyed about recent criticism!

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
91.7 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Fracking's collapse heralds the arrival of peak oil – How economic fundamentalists spun a tale of technological progress to hide the statistics of "peak oil's" ecological overshoot'

06/05/2015

A few weeks ago tremors rocked the world of "fracking" in the USA – though few heard them. The US Energy Information Agency (USEIA) had issued its latest Monthly Drilling Report and the news was not good. It wasn't simply the economic failure of fracking (covered in The Ecologist last December) and the subsequent collapse in drilling (covered in January). The news from the USEIA was far more grim for those who understood its deeper meaning.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
82.5 kilobytes



inc image Frackademics: A study of the relationships between academia, the fossil fuels industry and public agencies

May 2015

This 'virtual presentation' summarises the "Frackademics" workshop, produced by Paul Mobbs. It expands the content of the original report to look more generally at the issue of fossil fuels funding, and some of the data behind the conclusions of the report. The original study was commissioned by Talk Fracking to map the connections between the fossil fuels industry and academic – concentrating in particular on the relationships to unconventional fossil fuels companies and government agencies.

file icon 'Frackademics' – 'virtual presentation' page

file icon 'Frackademics' – annotated slides from the presentation
1.8 megabytes

file icon 'Frackademics' – slides from the presentation
1.1 megabytes



inc image Ecolonomics no.16: What, is peak oil dead? Then show me the body! (of statistical evidence)

May 2015

A decade ago my first 'solo' book, 'Energy Beyond Oil', was published. The text examined peak oil theory, but more widely the issue of ecological limits and energy and resource depletion. In some respects the content was prophetic; between then and now we've had record high oil prices, followed by an economic recession. What the book didn't foresee was the rise of 'unconventional fossil fuels'. In the wake of the economic crash, "fracking" and other forms of 'extreme' energy production were hailed by some as a saviour – liberating society from the 'limits to growth' mentality which was implicit within peak oil theory. This message had a strong resonance with the pundits who, around the same time, were dismissing the basis of peak oil theory, and ecological limits generally. Now, in 2015 – as Boëthius' consolatory history wheel turns full circle – on the back of fracking's collapse has the statistical evidence for 'peak oil' finally become apparent?

file icon HTML version
1.1 megabytes

file icon PDF version
434.1 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The hell-fires of UCG threaten Tyneside and the North Sea… and we're paying for it!'

03/04/2015

The dumping of colliery waste and power station fly ash, from Lynemouth in Northumberland all the way down to Seaham in County Durham, once despoiled the Tyne and Wear coastline and damaged the ecology of the North Sea. Now another mining technology, underground coal gasification (UCG), threatens new dangers to human health and the environment – with the full backing of the Government.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
183 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Medact's new report – ban fracking for five years'

30/03/2015

Medact, the UK-based public health group concerned with the social and ecological determinants of health, have published their long-awaited report on the impacts of fracking upon public health.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
57.2 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Chris Smith, the frackers and the 'astroturf' consultancy – 'engineering consent' for unconventional gas in Britain'

18/03/2015

What we're talking about here is the spectacle of a 'shadow play'; an illusion of form operated invisibly by people behind the scenes. What creates those elusive images is the craft of public relations; in particular the use, since its formalisation in the mid-Twentieth Century by Edward Bernays, of public relations techniques to convince the public of supposed certainties which are objectively misleading.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
85.9 kilobytes



inc image Arresting behaviour: smiling rambler turns warrior of justice

12/03/2015

A small group gathers outside Westminster tube station in London. It is Thursday 5 March, and we are here at the request of environmental researcher and author Paul Mobbs. This smiling rambler from Banbury is kitted out in walking boots, khaki shorts and a colourful shirt. An unlikely avenging warrior of justice, perhaps, but then, you haven't met Paul Mobbs before, or read his research.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
1 megabytes



inc image Arrest the Cabinet

05/03/2015

Sometimes, as an environmental researcher, there are things which you come across which are completely awful. Events or incidents for which knowing, or telling through reports is not enough... they require action.

file icon goto video information page
4.4 kilobytes



inc image Fracktured Accountability: A study of political decision-making and unconventional fossil fuel interests in the Coalition Government

04/03/2015

'Fractured Accountability' represents the outcome of just over two years research on the the Government's role in promoting unconventional gas and oil in Britain; specifically, whether their actions are 'legal'. More importantly, it is not a report about "fracking" per se, but rather the highly questionable relationships between policy-makers in Government, the industry developing fracking, and the finance and PR industries supporting them.

file icon The 'Fracktured Accountability' web page
This page collects all the 'Fracktured Accountability' resources together within a single page.

file icon 'Fracktured Accountability', the report
This is the detailed report on the the alleged 'misconduct in public office' by ministers in Britain in relation to their policies on unconventional oil and gas development.
2.6 megabytes

file icon The Frackogram 2015
This page outlines, and provides a browser for, the 'Frackogram 2015', an 'organogram' which illustrates the relationships between the government, fracking/fossil fuel companies, finance and academia.

file icon 'Fracktured Accountability', a.k.a, 'The Frackogram'
This poster describes the 'Frackogram', and how it was created. Where the 'frackogram' is reproduced as a large poster, this A3 PDf is desgined to sit alongside to provide a more detailed explanation of the 'organogram'.
3.4 megabytes

file icon 'Arrest the Cabinet'
A video of my efforts to 'arrest the cabinet' for the offence of 'misconduct in a public office', Downing Street, 5th March 2015.



inc image Fracktured Accountability: The 'Frackogram' 2015

04/03/2015

Part of the 'Fractured Accountability' reports, produced in March 2015, the 'frackogram' is an 'organogram' which illustrates the relationships between the government, fracking/fossil fuel companies, finance and academia.

file icon The 'Frackogram' 2015, A1 PDF
1.3 megabytes

file icon The 'Frackogram' 2015, A2 PDF
1.3 megabytes

file icon The 'Frackogram' 2015, A3 PDF
1.3 megabytes

file icon The 'Frackogram' 2015, SVG image
2.8 megabytes

file icon The 'Frackogram' 2015, JPG image
1.6 megabytes



inc image In Bed With Bez

February 2015

I've always looked upon John and Yoko's "bed in" as a beautifully constructed action event. Little did I know that 45 years after that I'd be a guest at a similar event, 'In Bed with Bez'.

file icon goto video information page
4.8 kilobytes



inc image Frackademics: A study of the relationships between academia, the fossil fuels industry and public agencies

February 2015

This study, produced on behalf of 'talk Fracking', examines the relationships between academia, the fossil fuel industry and public bodies – and how these relationships might influence the public debate over "fracking". The purpose of reviewing the connections between different agencies is to understand the nature of the environment which defines and constrains those decisions, and to explain the context within which recent decisions or policies have been framed. It traces the potential mechanisms by which the public debate over unconventional gas and oil may be manipulated, and how that fits in to the Government's promotion of their policies on unconventional gas and oil. In scientific debate, all issues should be open to objective examination.

file icon 'Frackademics' – the report
421 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' – web page

file icon 'Frackademics' case study no.1 – Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)
108.9 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' case study no.2 – Academic involvement in shale gas studies
176.2 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' case study 3 – The Mackay-Stone review
146.7 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' case study no.4 – The Science Media Centre
203.8 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' case study no.5 – Guardian Open Letter
158.6 kilobytes

file icon 'Frackademics' case study no.6 – The Task Force on Shale Gas
127.2 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'When is "fracking" not "fracking"?: Do the EAC's plans for a 'fracking moratorium' go far enough?'

26/01/2015

Today could be an interesting day for the future campaign against unconventional oil and gas in Britain. Today we potentially turn a corner – or, quite possibly, not, if the fossil fuel lobby within the government get their way.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
66.9 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''I can see the Stooges but where's Iggy Pop?': The Government's shale gas policy and the PR manipulation of the 'fracking' debate'

19/01/2015

During the 2000s the 'fracking boom' in the USA was fuelled by speculative Wall Street finance. When that bubble burst in 2008, the dodgy finance was cut off and the number of drilling rigs collapsed by over 50% within a few months. Last December, I wrote in The Ecologist of how the 'funny money' from quantitative easing was once more fuelling the number of drilling rigs, supporting the Ponzi-style 'shale bubble'. Just over a week ago I wrote of how that junk-debt-fuelled house of cards was being shaken by the fall in oil prices. Now Baker-Hughes, the US drilling services company which monitors industry trends, has announced the biggest weekly decline in US drilling activity since 1991; and the decline over the last six weeks – the decommissioning of 209 rigs – is the largest since their records began in 1987.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
70 kilobytes



inc image An open letter to the Environmental Audit Committee

12/01/2015

Following-up my report of December 2014, a letter to the Environmental Audit Committee about the format of the inquiry and the witnesses to be called – questioning whether these represent the grassroots opinion on 'fracking'.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
107 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Environmentalism's 'oil price panic': concerns reflect their own existential crisis, not the victory of fossil fuels'

07/01/2015

"Collapsing oil prices should give everyone in the 'green movement' cause for reflection." Say what! Really? Why is that? I see the introduction to Steve Melia's recent article[1] for The Ecologist as indicative of a more general problem of how the environmental debate handles complex issues. Simplistic statements, such as that above, don't necessarily reflect the complexity of the available evidence.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
63 kilobytes



inc image Beyond Fracking: the next steps in the 'extreme energy' debate in Britain

2015

These are the slides for the 'Beyond Fracking' presentation, outlining the issues and uninvestigated problems behind the UK Government's fracking agenda.

file icon presentation slides
2.5 megabytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Will Wall Street kill-off the fracking industry before the protesters do? – as the shale gas Ponzi scheme teeters, will it cause a wider crash?'

16/12/2014

Brought about by the recent fall in oil prices, investors are beginning to review the economics of unconventional oil and gas. For the last few years there have been a number of damning reports about the economics of unconventional fossil fuels. Now it seems those long-ignored observations are being taken seriously by the money-lenders of Wall Street.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
93.4 kilobytes



inc image The Environmental Risks of 'Fracking' – A submission to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry

December 2014

A submission to the Commons Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the environmental impacts of 'fracking'

file icon The Environmental Risks of 'Fracking'
352.6 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Eco-sceptic politicians, not terrorists, are the greatest threat to the British public today – statistics versus polemic in 'The War Against Terrorism''

03/09/2014

Over the last few weeks, as the situation in Syria and Iraq has deteriorated, we've seen politicians in the West become more bellicose about the "threat" of terrorism to our way of life. What few in this debate seem to address is whether there is any objective data, compared to other non-terrorist "threats", to support that assertion. Rather like the "reds under the bed" scares of the Cold War, the threat of 'Islamism' is held up as an existential threat to the British public innocently going about their daily lives. However, if we look at the statistics we can't demonstrate that claim.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
57.5 kilobytes



inc image 'Fracking': Matters of Dispute and Disagreement

September 2014

The term 'fracking' has burst into the media and public debate on energy and the environment over the last few years. Does either side in this heated debate really promote 'what we know' about this process; or perhaps more accurately, are the voices most often seen in this debate promoting a 'false certainty', rather than representing the extreme uncertainties which, the latest research suggests, underlie this whole issue.

file icon 'Fracking': Matters of Dispute and Disagreement
111.8 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Misdirecting the public's attention from fracking's radioactive footprint'

26/06/2014

As the facts about unconventional gas emerge around the globe the UK Government and the on-shore oil and gas industry have been pulling-down the shutters on their grand project. Increasingly reports are "being seen to be written rather than written to be seen". For example, last week Public Health England launched the final version of their report on shale gas and health – on the same day that the Jimmy Saville inquiry results were reported. That pretty much ensured there would be no room in the schedules for any critical analysis of it.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
58.7 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"Fracking" – The fact is, you are not important'

24/06/2014

You are not important! I'm sorry if that's an unwelcome reality, but if we look at some recent developments in the battle over fracking in Britain (and/or the USA, Canada, Poland, South Africa, Australia, etc.) we can conclude little else.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
44.4 kilobytes



inc image Fracking, Food, and Futurology: An Interview with Paul Mobbs

June 2014

An interview on my work published in Oxford New Left Review (no.13), June 2014. "Paul Mobbs is a man of many labels. He is often referred to as an 'environmental consultant', but describes himself as an 'ecological futurologist', and has been described by others as an 'anti-fracking lobbyist' and an 'electrohippy'. He is the author of countless books and articles on a range of topics, including technology, extreme energy, consumption and the limits of growth."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
2.5 megabytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Exposing the British Government's "dodgy dossier" on the climate impacts of fracking'

30/05/2014

As Charlie Chaplin said, "Wars, conflict, it's all business... Numbers sanctify." That was certainly the case with the UK Government's approach to shale gas. They hoped that they could whitewash the climate effects of fracking with some fancy formulas. Instead what they produced was another "dodgy dossier" – a straightforward denial of the uncertainties and the likely effects of what unconventional gas will do to the climate.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
69.3 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'SLAPPing campaigners for telling the truth – the underground coal gasification lobby turns even nastier'

18/05/2014

SLAPP – a "strategic lawsuit against public participation". SLAPPing is a tactic often used in the USA, where companies intent on environmental destruction pre-emptively sue leading local campaigners in order to quash the local opposition. That tactic raised its head in Britain last week in relation to a technology that makes "fracking" look reasonable.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
54 kilobytes



inc image Expert had concern over fracking future

15/05/2014

Banbury Guardian, 15th May 2014. "A Banbury environmental expert has called for a draft report into fracking by Public Health England (PHE) to be immediately withdrawn."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
255.5 kilobytes



inc image Ecolonomics no.15: Extreme energy and public health – How the Government engineered the denial of the health impacts of unconventional oil & gas

07/05/2014

I've spent the last few weeks writing a "complaint". The subject of that complaint was Public Health England's (PHE) recent report, Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of Shale Gas Extraction – draft for comment. As the title suggests, this was a report produced by PHE to identify the public health implications of shale gas.

file icon HTML version
161.3 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
323.4 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"2 + 2 = 0" – How Public Health England whitewashed the potential health effects of shale gas on public health'

06/05/2014

Last October, Public Health England (PHE) released their "draft" report on the health impacts of shale gas[1]. They looked at all the evidence on the likely effects of shale gas extraction on public health – evidence of hazardous environmental impacts[2], gender-bending chemicals disrupting our metabolism[3], and of toxic and radioactive contamination of the air, soil and water[4] – and concluded that – "Public Health England anticipates a low risk to public health from direct releases of chemicals and radioactive material if shale gas extraction is properly operated and regulated."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
49.2 kilobytes



inc image Extreme Energy and Climate: A critical review of the UK Government's policy on unconventional fossil fuels and climate change

May 2014

This report provides a critical analysis of the evidence supporting Government's recent policy announcements on the issue of 'extreme energy' sources (tight oil and gas, shale gas, coalbed methane and underground coal gasification) in the UK – and the implications that the development of these energy sources may have on climate change. In addition the spreadsheet used to analyse the Mackay-Stone results is available as a native LibreOffice (ODS) file and an exported MS Excel file (XSLX).

file icon Extreme Energy and Climate report
964.4 kilobytes

file icon Mackay-Stone review analysis (LibreOffice Calc file)
38 kilobytes

file icon Mackay-Stone review analysis (MS Excel XML file)
15.9 kilobytes



inc image Ecolonomics no.14: 'Fracking' our food and farming system: "Extreme agriculture" and the politics of denial

18/04/2014

As we approach the ecological limits to growth, and the measures to maintain "business as usual" become even more extreme, so these technofixes have as much to do with the denying those limits as they are intended to provide more food. The problem with the debate over fracking is that it has become highly insular. It focusses on drilling, or pollution; and fails to make the wider connection to the issues of lifestyle and resources which – arguably – represent the deeper motivation behind the political support for extreme energy sources. The same is true of the current debate over farming. We argue about one form of agriculture versus another, or one type of consumer product or another; without reference to the wider patterns of lifestyle which predetermine the form of that discussion. In contrasting fracking and food, I hope to highlight – through the commonality in underlying causal factors – the wider analysis which we need to being to the ecological debate.

file icon HTML version
385.7 kilobytes

file icon PDF version
298.2 kilobytes



inc image A critical review of Public Health England's report – "Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of Shale Gas Extraction – draft for comment"

April 2014

This report provides a critical analysis of the report produced by Public Health England (PHE) on 31st October 2013 – "Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of Shale Gas Extraction – draft for comment".

file icon A critical review of Public Health England's report
951.7 kilobytes



inc image Snake Oil: how fracking's false promise of plenty imperils our future

20/03/2014

A review of Richard Heinberg's book, 'Snake Oil', for The Ecologist. "Fracking is just another step on the fossil fuel treadmill, according to 'Snake Oil' by Richard Heinberg. High costs, diminishing returns and growing pollution will ultimately nail its future. Paul Mobbs urges readers – give a copy to your MP before it's too late!"

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
354.7 kilobytes



inc image A response to DECC's public consultation on the 14th On-shore Oil and Gas Licensing Round's Strategic Environmental Appraisal

March 2014

This report provides a comprehensive review of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) Strategic Environmental Appraisal (SEA) of the 14th On-shore Oil and Gas Licensing Round. It has been produced as part of the public consultation on the SEA, and is intended to provide a technical evaluation of the SEA in the light of the latest global evidence on the impacts of unconventional gas developments. The report has been produced in support of various individuals and small groups around Britain who are concerned by the Government's push to develop various types of extreme energy developments. The specific purpose behind the drafting of this report has been to highlight the areas where the Government's viewpoint/data departs from the growing body of evidence regarding the impacts of unconventional gas technologies.

file icon A response to DECC's 14th Round SEA
439.5 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"A fistful of train tickets" – Eight months travelling for an explanation of the rush to develop unconventional gas'

12/02/2014

For five years Paul Mobbs has been working on 'unconventional gas' (aka. 'fracking') in Britain. Over recent months that work has taken him to communities across England and Wales. What he has discovered along the way is that the political support for unconventional gas is not just about energy; it reflects the greater ecological crisis at the root of our current economic woes.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
68 kilobytes



inc image We Need to Talk About Fracking

2014

A week on a rock 'n' roll tour bus with a group of anti-fracking experts and media people... and fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corre. It was supposed to be a debate, but the industry flatly refused to turn up and debate with us. So in the end it was just a long, at times surreal, bus trip where we met communities around the country.

file icon goto video information page
5.8 kilobytes



inc image Going to Extremes: The project to develop unconventional gas extraction in Britain

December 2013

As part of the School of Advanced Study's 'Extreme Energy Initiative' I gave my 'Going to Extremes' workshop at the University of London. The video was later posted as a podcast by the University.

file icon goto video information page
4.7 kilobytes



inc image Going to Extremes: The project to develop unconventional gas extraction in Britain

November 2013

These are the slides from my 2013-2015 presentation/discussion on the Government's increasingly dictatorial project to develop shale gas in Britain – despite the mounting evidence that the evidence supporting it is highly contestable. Where political will trumps empirical evidence, we have to look at the ideology motivating that programme to understand the reasons why the Government are being so unreasonable.

file icon presentation slides
3.2 megabytes



inc image Extreme Energy

23/09/2013

Published in The Ecologist, 23rd September 2013. "Paul Mobbs, leading environmental campaigner, author and engineer, tells the Ecologist Film Unit that extraction industries, including coal bed methane extraction, are going ahead in the UK despite serious environmental concerns."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
533.5 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"Behind every picture lies a story" – statistical reality versus PR-hype within the political project of unconventional gas in Britain'

25/07/2013

Let's get one thing clear, this is not about conspiracy theories. This isn't about a powerful elite meeting in darkened rooms to fondle their fluffy white cats whilst talking in menacing tones. This isn't about class warfare. What the diagram below represents is simply business... big business! As the saying goes, "every picture tells a story", and this one1 is a bit more complex, and in many ways more bizarre than other comparable tales. It's about a mystical belief system ("economics") which has become so abstracted from reality that it can no longer represent the truth it was created to describe – and which as a result has actually become harmful to those it was intended to serve.

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214 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''Drill Baby Drill' – a Polish perspective on fracking in the Thames Valley'

18/07/2013

The links between Poland and Britain go back a long way. Quite apart from the trading links with the Hanseatic League dating back to Medieval times, in the 19th Century, long before Polish people came to Britain seeking work, we exported (or more accurately deported?) our surplus farmers from the land clearances and inclosures in Scotland and England to Poland – where Polish landowners were eager to take them, displacing local peasant farmers, in order to modernise agriculture. Locally Banbury, which now has a large Polish community, has had a Polish community since the Second World War, when free Polish soldiers settled here because they did not wish to return to a Soviet-dominated state. Today, quite apart from the cream of Poland's skilled manual worker's we've imported to support the educational flaws in our own economy, we've something else that unites us – a political establishment hell-bent on fracking the countryside, irrespective of any reasonable evidence to the contrary that the policy will not work as intended.

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81 kilobytes



inc image Dash for gas on rocky road

11/07/2013

Article from the Oxford Times, 11th July 2013. "As fracking is suggested an an answer to energy woes, Reg Little listens to the rock-solid rivals to intrusive local drilling."

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995.3 kilobytes



inc image To 'Camp Frack', and beyond!

May 2013

Attending the "Camp Frack" event in Lancashire in May was heartening because, after our efforts over the last few years, things are starting to take-off. There is a real buzz in the movement as people get informed, network with other groups around Britain/the world, and pressure both the government and the energy lobby to justify the wild claims being made about unconventional gas.

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27.4 kilobytes

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27.4 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet A1: Fracking, Do Something! – Action on unconventional gas

March 2013

As we reach the limits to growth the certainties that underpin the modern economic system are failing. As 'easy to produce' oil and gas deplete the energy industry is seeking more extreme fuel sources, from deep ocean drilling to tar sands. 'Unconventional gas' is a series of technologies that seek to get natural gas from hard to produce/unconventional sources of rock. This sheet looks at the legal and procedural issues related to the development of unconventional gas in the UK, and how the public can intercede at each stage in order to oppose these developments.

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930.1 kilobytes

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873.2 kilobytes

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126 kilobytes



inc image Fracking for Shale Gas

December 2012

A video of the first workshop I carried out for the School of Advanced Study's Extreme Energy Initiative in December 2012, covering the technological and economic framework behind unconventional gas and oil in Britain.

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inc image "Extreme energy" developments in South Wales

November 2012

As we approach the limits to conventional energy production, governments and energy corporations are looking at "unconventional" technologies to keep the energy supply flowing. South Wales in particular is now being targeted as a potential source of unconventional gas, and this could have serious implications for the environment, wildlife and human health.

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449.5 kilobytes



inc image FRAKNET: Fracking Facts

29/03/2012

A guy asked to film my workshop at the national gathering. I said yes – this was the result. It's a highly rushed/condensed presentation of my "Jam Tomorrow" presentation squashed down from the usual 2 hours to under 30 minutes.

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4.2 kilobytes



inc image Shale Gas: An Analysis of UK Policy and Cuadrilla Resources Exploration Activities in Lancashire

January 2012

In July I attended the trial of protesters who occupied Cuadrilla Resources drilling rig at Banks near Preston to give evidence on shale gas development in Lancashire. Due to delays with the case coming to court, whilst I wrote this report in January 2012 I couldn't release the text until after the conclusion of the trial. The report looks at shale gas/fracking developments in Lancashire, and the regulatory problems that surround the activities of Cuadrilla and other companies in England and Wales (Scotland takes a slightly different regulatory view of these processes).

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inc image Fracking Hell: Britain's Gas Rush

2012

Produced by the Ecologist Film Unit, screened on LinkTV, this short documentary charts the project for unconventional gas in Britain.

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4.2 kilobytes



inc image Jam Tomorrow: Unconventional Gas and Britain's Energy Future

2012

These are the slides from my 2012 presentation/discussion on shale gas, coal-bed methane, gas "fracking" and the future of Britain's energy economy.

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1.7 megabytes



inc image Extreme Energy in South Wales

2012

Slides from my 'extreme energy' tour of South Wales in the Autumn of 2012. The tour took place to highlight the new applications for drilling in South Wales, and the flaws in the UK Government's arguments in favour of fracking.

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6.2 megabytes



inc image Ecolonomics no.13: Hype, hearsay and hyperbolæ – shale gas and the UK energy economy

02/11/2011

Out of the house, onto a bus and away to a distant hill; I've run off for the day to escape my work, but it seems to have followed me. I took the first out-of-town bus to arrive at the bus station; not caring where it went, just wanting to quickly go to the countryside so I could walk home again. Disembarking at Farthinghoe, a small village between Banbury and Brackley, I get out my sheaf of local maps and arrange them to idle my way home. Whilst doing so I find that I'm "in the zone" – an area currently under review for the licensing of oil and gas production using the hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", method.

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inc image Banbury Prime Spot for Gas Extraction

20/10/2011

Banbury Guardian, 20th October 2011. "Exploratory tests dating back almost 50 years highlighted Banburyshire as a prime location for gas extraction technology."

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174.6 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet E11: Fracking and Coalbed Methane – Unconventional gas in the UK

October 2011

When gas fracking and other "unconventional" energy resources are discussed in the media the focus is usually on the technology used to produced the energy, or the impact this might have on the environment. In fact, the significant feature of the exploitation of unconventional energy resources is that our present energy situation is so precarious that companies and governments consider these valid energy sources; public interest demands that this aspect of the problem be examined. Unconventional energy resources are being developed to supplement existing fossil fuel resources, but arguably, due to their lower energy return and high ecological impacts, they exacerbate the energy crisis by giving a false sense of energy security.

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163.5 kilobytes

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1 megabytes

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939.2 kilobytes

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126.1 kilobytes