The Process of Lobbying for Fracking

The present discussions about fracking for shale gas shows the processes which occur when private enterprises undertakes tasks that are supposed to benefit the common weal. The same processes occurred when energy was privatised. There are four stages

1. Exaggerate the benefits of what is proposed

2. Confirm that safety issues will be properly addresses and subject to strict regulations

3. Enable the activity

4. Cut down on the safety regulations.

Between each stage there is intense lobbying by those who are involved in the industry or wish to be involved in it; they know that no purse is more easily picked than the public purse. The lobbying confuses arguments, injects fear into the minds of politicians who rarely think clearly enough about the issues, if all else fails and the argument looks like being lost, then a claim that those opposed to you stand in the way of progress will be made; no one will remember that progress can be made in various directions, including in the direction of a warmer, less comfortable planet.

When the lobbyists have used up all their adjectives in describing the benefits of what they propose and poured ridicule of their opponents the activity commences and serves its purpose of picking the public purse.

No one will remember that the market forces which drive the price and availability of energy will not drive price or availability in a direction that is favourable to those that need energy or those that want to protect the environment. The direction of travel is towards those that make money. However much natural gas is fracked from the ground the consumer will pay the market price for the gas. Fracking will not reduce the market price of natural gas significantly because the gas produced will be unlikely to be more than five or ten percent of the gas that the United Kingdom consumes. Even if fracking did reveal a wealth of gas there is no regulation or law to require those exploiting fracking to either sell the gas they produce to United Kingdom consumers or to sell it at a low price.

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