According to a spokesperson for the government, the UK’s position on Fracking “hasn’t changed” and all shale gas wells will close with concrete by the deadline of 30 June, despite pressure from rightwing media and backbench Conservatives.
Steve Baker, MP for High Wycombe, and trustee of the controversial climate-sceptic thinktankGlobal Warming Policy Foundation hosted the shale lobby on Tuesday with MPs, journalists, and staff in the Houses. As the government pledged to phase out Russian oil and gas by year end, reports in rightwing media suggested that the UK could see fracking return.
Experts warn that fracking is dangerous, disruptive, and potentially polluting. It would also take up to 10 years to see any results, with the price of the gas not rising. There has been a lot of opposition to fracking in areas where it has been tried. This was due to the earthquakes that caused it.
The UK Onshore Oil and Gas lobby described opposition to fracking “illogical” and Baker stated: “As preparations for cement trucks are made to fill in the UK’s last functioning shale wells, it seems absurd that Russia’s war crimes have been funded by Europe’s dependence on their gas.
“Under the government’s plans, we will require vast quantities of gas even though renewables are being increased. All of us need to hear the facts and not fear stories. Shale gas industry must have a level playing field, and there should be an end to misinformation.
According to the Telegraph and Daily Mail, Boris Johnson could be considering fracking again despite the environmental damage it can cause.
Sources at the Department for Business Energy, Industrial Strategy informed the Guardian that the deadline for decommissioning wells was 30 June. It has been this way since the beginning. “The government has not changed its position on fracking.”
According to the source, government is not considering fracking despite pressure from right-leaning media.
Kwasi Kwarteng (business secretary) has been vocal in his opposition of fracking and recently stated that it was not the solution.
He tweeted, “The wholesale gas price has quadrupled in the UK and Europe. The wholesale market price won’t be affected by additional UK production. This includes fracking. UK producers will not sell shale gas at a lower price to UK consumers. They are not charities.
Even Baker’s net zero scrutiny group MPs have reservations about fracking within their constituencies. Scott Benton, Blackpool MP, who mocked Cop26’s climate summit, said that he would not allow drilling in his constituency because of the earthquakes it has caused.
Johnson has been under pressure to give up his net zero goals. In a piece published by the Mail on Sunday, Nigel Farage stated his desire to hold a referendum on this issue.
Farage called his campaign “Britain Means Business”, but the CBI stated that businesses are behind net zero. Tom Thackray is the CBI’s director of decarbonisation. He stated that businesses across the economy are committed to meeting the UK’s net zero target. This commitment has been backed up by investors and customers. Their actions to decarbonise will not only help to reduce the risk of rising global temperatures but also provide an opportunity for a transformation of our economy that is based on green technologies and higher productivity.
According to the head of the International Energy Agency, polling has shown that the UK public supports the transition to a low carbon economy. Businesses and top political figures support the UK’s need to abandon fossil fuels. Vladimir Putin has been using as a “political, economic weapon”.
Joe Twyman is the co-founder and chief executive of Deltapoll. He pointed out that net zero support has been high in recent polls. In the most recent poll conducted by Deltapoll, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents supported the target in November. Only one in twelve (8%) disagreed.
Twyman said that most people support the idea to hold referendums. “The only exception I can think of is the one I created in May 2013. A referendum on Britain’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was supported by 32% of British voters and opposed by 44%.
Senior Conservatives close enough to the prime minister claimed that elements of the Tory party had tried unsuccessfully to lobby for a change in stance. Ben Goldsmith, a donor and investor, stated that he didn’t expect a change in stance from the prime minister. The government seems to recognize the insistence of the public on restoring our nation’s terribly depleted natural resources and on dealing with the climate crisis with the urgency that it needs.
Sam Hall of the Conservative Environment Network (which makes up nearly half of backbench Conservative MPs) said that support for net zero was becoming more difficult under Putin’s militarisation of Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. “I have found that the majority of Conservative MPs recognize the importance of helping Europe to move away from Russian Gas and expand homegrown clean energy. Reduce gas consumption and make net zero more urgent due to the Ukraine crisis.