Against all the odds, the magic bullet to save the British economy has just been handed to George Osborne on a plate. All he has to do is call a halt to Britain’s economically suicidal drive for “renewable energy”, cancel immediately Britain’s disastrous wind farm building programme, and give the green light to shale gas drilling.
God knows we could all do with some good news right now. And as it happens, from Oop North near Blackpool this week, we had good news in spades.
Sure, it was known Britain was sitting on some pretty sizeable shale gas deposits. What hadn’t been announced before though, was just how sizeable.
An area in northwest England may contain 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, putting it in the same league as some of the vast shale-gas plays that have transformed the U.S. energy industry.
The figure for the area near Blackpool, released Wednesday by Cuadrilla Resources, a small oil-and-gas company with operations in England’s Bowland Shale, highlights the U.K.’s emerging position as a new frontier for unconventional gas exploration.
I said “good news” but that seriously understates the case. It may be the best thing to happen to the British economy since the discovery of North Sea oil and gas; possibly since the Industrial Revolution. Those who’ve been following the story closely such as Nick Grealy at the No Hot Air blog understand this perfectly well:
[*]No doubt about it, the numbers are not so much game changing as jaw-dropping. These figures surprised everyone, but they didn’t surprise readers here as much. The experience world wide of shale shows that initial “expert opinion” expectations of potential and actual production have been consistently pessimistic at best and generally down right wrong.
And even more amazingly, this may be just the tip of the iceberg. I hear reports that the shale gas deposits in the North East of England may be larger still; and that those under the North Sea may dwarf even these. We are talking, in other words, of cheap energy sufficiently abundant to supply our needs for at least the next century, possibly much longer. This means in turn that our industry will become more competitive, the cost of heating and lighting our homes will fall dramatically, and that our economy suddenly now has an opportunity to grow even as those in much of the Western world are collapsing.
So why aren’t we out on the streets, celebrating, drinking and rutting like it was VE Day all over again?
In a word: Watermelons.
You may have seen the episode of the Daily Politics where I accused Green MP Caroline Lucas of being a “watermelon” and she admitted she was proud to be one – “green on the outside, red on the inside.” Well we should be grateful for her honesty, I suppose. But is this really what we need right now as our economy stands on the brink of the Greater Depression: outspoken, publicity-hungry politicians who consider it their bounden and sacred duty to put whatever obstacles they can in the way of economic growth – all in the name of combating that increasingly discredited chimaera, “climate change”?
Lucas clearly thinks so, as she shows in her latest article for Komment Macht Frei (Grüne Abteilung). Drilling, she insists, must be postponed indefinitely, because someone somewhere might derive some economic benefit from it – and that would be just plain wrong.
With pound signs in his eyes, Cuadrilla’s chief executive says he was “excited” by the find. I am not. And neither are the many hundreds of environmental campaigners and local people who are fighting the government’s apparent determination to allow the exploitation of every last bit of fossil fuel from below our feet.
I think she might be pushing a bit with that “many hundreds”. “Dozens”, possibly, though it’s interesting to note that even at the Guardian the majority of commenters below her article appear to be either cautiously in favour of further exploration or downright cynical about Lucas’s doom-cult ideology.
My favourite is the one that says:
Gaia, in all her wisdom, has seen fit to give us the gas finds at Blackpool.
Much as I respect the views of Ms Lucas, I must accept Gaia’s sacred plan.
Lucas is not, of course, the only Watermelon standing in the way of economic recovery. The biggest and most dangerous by far is the impossible Chris Huhne:
The UK’s “dash for gas” will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions, Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, said on Monday evening.
Well he may think that now. But I do wonder whether his Coalition colleagues will feel quite so enamoured of this principled stance to progress, economic growth, cheap energy, and inflation-reduction as the depression deepens, the weather gets colder, the landscape is ruined by more and more wind farms, and energy bills continue their exponential rise.
One thing’s for certain. No longer is there any excuse for anyone to write sympathetic pieces about George Osborne arguing that there is no magic bullet available in his armoury to save the British economy. Against all the odds, that magic bullet has just been handed to him on a plate. All he has to do is call a halt to Britain’s economically suicidal drive for “renewable energy”, cancel immediately Britain’s disastrous wind farm building programme, and give the green light to shale gas drilling. It won’t even cost the taxpayer any money. The cheap energy is there. The jobs are there. If he doesn’t grab this miraculous opportunity with both hands, history will never forgive him.