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Mobbsey's Musings

2015 Index

This page lists the posts to the 'Musings' blog for 2015

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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.

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113.4 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''Death by landfill', part 2 – did the Government cover-up information on toxins liberated by floodwater?'

14/12/2015

Almost a year ago I wrote an article for The Ecologist entitled "death by landfill". The article focussed the case of 7 year old Zane Gbangbola, who was killed in his bed during the floods of February 2014. Not by water, but by poison gas. Given the lack of information at that time, the article focussed on how John Major's Conservative government of the early 1990s reneged on a promise to introduce strict laws on contaminated land. These would have required historic land contamination to be tracked down and, where appropriate, made safe. Had they been enacted they may have prevented Zane's death twenty years later.

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91.5 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'UK Government attacks the public's right to affordable environmental justice'

28/11/2015

empty

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70 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The Terror Dividend – how traders and lobbyists made a killing from the Paris attacks'

25/11/2015

The scenes which emerged from Paris almost two weeks ago ago were horrific, and undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the true devastation upon the families and friends of those involved. There is still little detail about how the attacks in Paris were planned. Given the close association of those involved in the attack, it seems unlikely that high-tech 'command and control' via encrypted communications from Syria were an essential component of the planning process. Likewise the source of the weapons for the attack probably has little to do with the Syrian conflict directly. They are most likely the legacy of the NATO-led conflict in the the Balkans two decades ago. The fall-out from the present conflicts in Libya, Syria and Iraq – given the large stockpiles of conventional arms those states had amassed – are also likely to create regional instability for some years to come.

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76 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'An activists' guide to the 'Snooper's Charter' – and what to do about it'

10/11/2015

The so called "Snooper's Charter", the draft of which was introduced to Parliament by the Home Secretary on 4th November 2015, has created a media furore. It may appear to be threatening, anti-democratic and downright repressive, especially if you use technology as a de-skilled 'consumer' – without questioning how it works or what private information you exchange when using it. In practice, for those who have a working knowledge of communications technologies – certainly trained terrorists, organised criminals and fraudsters – many aspects of the draft bill are not threatening at all. If you use the technology in a certain way you can, to a certain extent, hide your on-line life from surveillance.

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129.5 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''Credo': If economics is a belief system, are we being ruled by religious fundamentalists?'

03/11/2015

Brian Davey's new book, Credo: Economic Beliefs in a World in Crisis, is an analysis of economic theory as if it were a system of religious belief. It's a timely book. The simplistic, perhaps 'supernatural' assumptions which underpin key parts of economic theory demand far more attention. It's a debate we've failed to have as a society.

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153 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The price of British justice – subjecting those without adequate means to 'trial by ordeal''

22/06/2015

One of my favourite films is Terry Gilliam's Brazil. In the final scenes a guard, strapping the hero into an evil-looking torture chair, advises him – Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. In Brazil, I always found the bizarre world of a repressive bureaucracy entertaining – in part because I've spent a proportion of my working life involved in public inquiries and regulatory processes where sometimes bizarre, self-justifying administrative actions are commonplace. Unfortunately, I believe that such aspects of the film are fast becoming a reality in Britain.

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82.2 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!

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91.7 kilobytes



inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Behind the spin of the Magna Carta celebrations Britain's 'dictatorship of the 1%' takes shape'

11/06/2015

What do academy schools, fracking and international trade negotiations have in common? They're all part of the Conservative Government's agenda to roll back the ability of the public to question official policy, and to allow business interests to press ahead with their questionable economic projects unchallenged.

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81.5 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.

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82.5 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.

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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.

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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.

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85.9 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.

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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.

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70 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.

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63 kilobytes