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The shale gas revolution was given a guarded welcome by Parliament [last week], with the economic and security benefits to the UK judged to outweigh environmental reservations.

Exploration consortium Cuadrilla reckons that the UK could be self-sufficient for 15 years using cheap gas extracted from the Bowland shale alone – and reduce its dependence on imports from Russia. Plus, techniques are improving, so the self-sufficiency period could stretch to several decades.

One of Parliament’s loudest climate change advocates, the Greener-than-thou chairman of the energy select committee Tim Yeo (Con, South Suffolk), said that shale gas companies had to maintain public confidence and follow best-practice guidelines outlined by the committee. But, he said, the benefits of cheap gas were immense and shouldn’t derail shale.

“I urge the government to consider the potential benefits to Britain. There are legitimate concerns, of course, about the environmental impact, and those concerns must not be ignored. However, those who call for fracking to stop completely must produce scientific evidence to justify their demands, and I do not believe that at present such evidence exists,” Yeo concluded.

On earthquakes, Yeo noted that Cuadrilla had recorded tremors of magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 “probably” caused by shale exploration, and reminded Parliament that:

“To put that into context, the European microseismic standard classifies a magnitude 1 earthquake as one that is not felt, a magnitude 2 earthquake as scarcely felt, and a magnitude 3 earthquake as weak.”

There was no threat to the population, or the environment, from the earth shivers. […]

MPs noted that Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP, was curiously MIA. Lucas was not present for the debate.

Perhaps her electric car had broken down

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