The Free Range News and Alerts Network
Unconventional Gas and Britain's Energy Future
A new presentation/discussion on shale gas/coalbed methane, gas "fracking", and the future of Britain's energy economy, developed by Paul Mobbs and the Free Range Network
As plans for the development of shale gas and coalbed methane in the UK are advanced (along with underground gasification, they're collectively called "unconventional gas"), the debate on our energy future is seemingly reduced to a single factor; carbon. In fact the complexities of how we source our energy today, and how and how much we will be able to produce in the future are far more complex than the issue of carbon emissions.
Irrespective of whether we're looking at renewable energy, shale gas or nuclear power, the groups that promote their alternatives to present energy policy all argue that we can be secure in our present lifestyles and economic well-being if we adopt them today. Is this a reality, or is it, as in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Through the Looking Glass, a case of "Jam tomorrow" the rosy future that these protagonists promote with their energy technologies will never really arrive.
How we will energise society in the future is inextricably linked to our consumption of resources today, and the economic theories which govern that process. Traditionally governments and lobby groups have concentrated on "how much" we can have in the future, but the reality of ecological limits is that we must now focus on "how little" energy and resources we can manage with.
In this new presentation and discussion from Paul Mobbs, developed with the Free Range Network's 'Energy Beyond Oil' Project, we'll examine the development of shale gas and coalbed methane in the UK; the wider impacts of these policies, and what the longer-term outlook for our energy economy will be if we develop these energy sources. In doing so we'll seek to address a straightforward question; does unconventional gas promise us a secure future as our North Sea supplies run out?; or is it just a short term fix that can't escape global consequences of the peak in oil, gas and coal production?
For further details:
- Firstly, see the Free Range Network's new information Sheet E11. Fracking and Coalbed Methane: Unconventional gas in the UK;
- See the new 'Jam Tomorrow' project initiative on the Free Range Activism website for information related to this event http://www.fraw.org.uk/f.html?jamtomorrow;
- In January 2012, we'll publish the on-line, 'virtual' Jam Tomorrow workshop giving access to the slides from the presentation and links to all the background information used/reference in its development;
- For further information on Paul Mobbs and his work in energy and ecological limits see his web site http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei;
- For a more expansive discussion of the issues, see his recent Ecolonomics blog post, Hype, hearsay and hyperbolæ shale gas and the UK energy economy; and
- Finally, one of the Free Range Network's partners in North Oxfordshire, Ideas for a Change, has prepared a local briefing on the possible development of gas fracking in North Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.