Pathfinders: Fracking – A Bridge Too Far?

May 2024 Forums Comments Pathfinders: Fracking – A Bridge Too Far?

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 65 total)
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  • #92193
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I don't think that being an "ex-stalinist" should be considered a crime. After all, there are a lot of them about, including some members of our party.In any event, it is rather ironic that someone in favour of renewable energies and the class struggle should appear to be defending the particular nimbies Aaronovitch was criticising since these were rich people who were opposing windfarms on the grounds that it spolled the view of the surrounding countryside from their mansions.  Some of them will even be using the arguments of climate-deniers who argue that renewable energies are not necessary anyway, and have been exposed by Greenpeace for this. Some of them too will have been supporters of the Iraq war.I think we need to recognise that some of those accused of being nimbies really are nimbies and do misuse science to defend their vested interests, which was the point I was trying to make.On the more general issue of science and technology, the case for world socialism has always rested on the fact that the forces of production at the disposal of society have reached a stage where they could be used (if commonly owned and democratuically controlled) to provide enough for everybody on the planet to have a decent standard of living. This does involve an acceptance of modern technology as without this socialist society wouldn't be able to produce enough.We need to recognise that socialism will initially involve the construction of more electricity grids, windfarms, tidal barrages, dams, etc, more roads, railways, ports and airfields, the launching of more communications satellites and more mobile phones and other such devices. How else are we going to solve the problem of world hunger and destitution that socialist society would inherit from capitalism?So socialists are necessarily technological optimists. This does not rule out recognising that under capitalism science and technology can and will be misused in the service of profit and preparations for war. But this is a criticism not of technology as such but of ts misuse. In fact, socialists should welcome advances in scientific understanding and technology as every such advance makes the case for socialism even stronger. 

    #92194
    JH
    Participant

    I did not say being an ex-stalinist should be considered a crime and I have no doubt  that there are members of SPGB who are ex-stalinists. However I doubt that many of them were involved in promoting and defending the Iraq war in the way that Aaronovitch was, nor, I suspect, do they get regular spots on the radio and TV or are invited to write opinion pieces for 'The Times,' as Aaronovitch does. (Incidentally you do note, but I would like to emphasise that one of the prime factors in energy demand under capitalism is War and preparations for war.)  I do read him occasionally, its hard to avoid and sometimes its good, as in his attacks on Goves view of history teaching, but I don't trust him or his motivation and I am certainly not prepared to pay for the privelege as the piece you referred to required.I therefore did not read the piece but merely responded to the quote you put out, 'windy nimbies' and references to high speed rail, which you do not comment further on.My objection to the term 'nimbies', is that it can and is, used as a blanket term of abuse, especially in relation to environmental issues, hence why it has arisen in this thread in relation to 'fracking'. There may well be instances were it can be applied as in the 'Green piece' article you reference. However I am hesitant to even use it in reference to wind power opponents, not the ones quoted in the article, without looking at specific  instances. For their may well be arguements about specific cases, locations, effects on views, wildlife,etc . which it is difficult to assess without being effected. We are human beings not merely consumers and employees and we should be concerned about the environments in which we live.This is well represented in socialist literature, the writings of William Morris,etc. We want 'bread and roses too'. To simply emphasise the technological requirements of a different society, ignores the fact that the depradations of present day capitalism on our environment have long term effects from which it may not be possible to recover. We would not want to be in the position of the American General in looking back on the basis of socialism, 'We created a desert and called it Peace'. Hence my comments on the need to be involved and I doubt if anyone, SPGB or not, has not been concerned about some development in their locality from supermarkets, to incinerators or parking.I am argueing that once involved the issues take on significance and are surprisingly relevant to the need for socialism, fracking, being one such instance of that.   

    #92195
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Interesting article in today's Times about "burnable ice" (methane hydrate). I know Ridley is a free-marketeer but he makes some valid points about what governs which energy sources are used under capitalism (and will be as long as it lasts) and how those controlling the various competing sources seek to protect their vested interests.

    Quote:
    The key will be cost.
    #92196
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Arch-libertarian Dan Hannan dismisses the environmental objection to fracking herehttp://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100223838/greens-dont-like-fracking-because-they-dont-like-prosperity/

    #92197
    ALB
    Keymaster

    NATO is claiming that the Russian government is secretly funding anti-fracking groups with the aim of furthering its own economic interest:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/fracking/10911942/Russia-in-secret-plot-against-fracking-Nato-chief-says.htmlI don't know whether or not this is true but presumably NATO has information from its own secret agents. In any event, it is not implausible and a warning against us getting involved in campaigns to put pressure on capitalist governments to adopt one energy source rather than another.

    #92198
    steve colborn
    Participant

    I couldn't care less which energy type Capitalist governments opt for and I'm not going to get involved in campaigns one way or another. My only concern is the effects fracking has on the environment. From what I have read, there is a "significant" risk of ground water pollution and by extension, to the wider environment. Also, if governments make the claim that fracking will lead to cheaper energy bills, they lie. The resultant energy from  any fracking will be sold on the "market", without preference to the end consumer. This is Capitalism and anyone who thinks it will act differently, needs to give their head a shake.

    #92199
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Darn, that Moscow gold has gone a long way for a helluva long time, ALB. "That is my interpretation." to paraphrase NATO's secretary -general. Call me a cynic but i would like evidence of such claims. "Mr Rasmussen did not say what form the Russians' engagement with the environmentalists took or whether groups concerned were aware that they were dealing with Moscow's agents."  Cleverly worded…useful idiots…fellow travellers…all Cold War undertones Any disiformation operation i suggest is two-way ….and linked to Ukraine situation and the current cut in gas supplies. He says NATO spending has been cut but we just recently had Obama announcement of  increasing the US budget for Europe. Perhaps it is a scare story to get European countries to up their contribution…particularly just after the Dutch government department overseeing NATO spending said the money was most unaccounted for .http://www.socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2014/06/nato-cash-cow.htmlIf do not think we should decide to base our party policy on the claims of unverifiable unsubstantiated allegations of a military leader instead of the the validity or otherise of the case itself against fracking. Even if true which i greatly doubt, it is little different from the fossil fuel lobby supporting climate change denial and we accepting their "interpretation" that it is to cripple American domestic oil and coal production .Your disclaimer that you  do not believe it to be true or not holds no legal defence in law, i believe in reporting libelous stories. I suppose Greenpeace were acting under NATO secret instructions to halt Russia's arctic oil driling when scores were arrested and their ship impounded…that's my interpretation …for the sake of argument.

    #92200
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Actually, when Greenpeace were carrying out a campaign against nuclear power stations I always wondered whether or not they were funded one way or another by the coal industry because, under capitalism, that's who would benefit if they won.I still say there's nothing wrong with fracking in principle and that it is not implausible that some anti-fracking groups are being funded by Russian gold. Why not? That makes sense from the Russian government's point of view. We shouldn't jump on this bandwagon and, insofar as some members seem to have, they should jump off now.

    #92201
    steve colborn
    Participant

    I'm not jumping on any bandwagon Adam. It cannot be proven conclusively that fracking is safe and by extension, that local water tables are therefore also safe. Highly toxic pollutants are used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Regardless of the claims, there is no surety the fracking companies can give, that the sheathe placed around the fracking site will not "fail". When one understands the enormous stresses and pressures implicit in operating at the depths necessary, then one can see the problems ensuing.Searching the internet, there are many incidences from the USA alone, where problems such as methane contaminating local aquifers have arisen. To add claims of Russian funding of anti frackers to the mix, is merest obfuscation.So from a personal point of view, I will continue to oppose fracking, until conclusive scientific and geological evidence is provided but I'm not holding my breath.

    #92202
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Couldn't agree more with ya Steve.As you rightly point out the risks are great and assurances can not be guaranteed, no matter what the pro frackers say.If contamination of any water tables were to happen, then those who rely on it for drinking water are to put it bluntly, "fucked".Is it worth the risk? I would imagine given the strong possibility of contamination, fracking would not take place in a socialist society, as the risks are simply not worth taking.

    #92203
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Adam, why do you insist on dwelling on this suspect source by declaring it plausible for a second time that environmentalist groups may be getting Russian funds…especially by someone who usually is a strong critic of conspiracy theories. A motive is not proof as you know only too well. Personally i look at the messenger…Ramussen …previously had to resign a ministerial post for being caught out disseminating false information i.e. lying. Then later a strong supporter of the Iraq war also repeating lies"Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think, it is something we know. Iraq has itself admitted that it has had mustard gas, nerve gas, anthrax, but Saddam won't disclose. He won't tell us where and how these weapons have been destroyed. We know this from the UN inspectors, so there is no doubt in my mind."I suggest he is the last person you'd place on a witness stand and rely upon as a trustworthy source. Fracking and GM are subjects that divide socialists and will no doubt may still divide communities when we have socialism. I think we should concentrate on the decision-making process rather than the potential risk and the arguments supporting the precautionary principle. We have ample evidence that the fracking lobby are influencing government policy eg tresspass laws. I recall Paddy arguing on a past thread that it would reduce fuel poverty but i think later figures by energy watchdogs and not the anti-frackers suggest it will have minimum effect on consumer price.  

    #92204
    steve colborn
    Participant

    Anyone who argues that fracking would reduce fuel poverty, obviously doesn't quite have a handle on the ethos of Capitalism. Does anyone really believe that just bacause oil is extracted from the ground in the UK, that UK workers will be offered electricity or gas on the cheap? The people who own the extraction companies will extract the best price for any fuel produced, that they can. If they didn't, their shareholders would not be amused. That comrades, is the world we inhabit.

    #92205
    Brian
    Participant
    steve colborn wrote:
    Anyone who argues that fracking would reduce fuel poverty, obviously doesn't quite have a handle on the ethos of Capitalism. Does anyone really believe that just bacause oil is extracted from the ground in the UK, that UK workers will be offered electricity or gas on the cheap? The people who own the extraction companies will extract the best price for any fuel produced, that they can. If they didn't, their shareholders would not be amused. That comrades, is the world we inhabit.

    It appears that fracking only becomes profitable when the problem of known externalities are ignored, or at best left to litigation.  If this is the case, until the science assures me that the risk of contamination to the wider environment can be contained within a socialist society I'm certainly not in favour of accepting fracking in principle.The principles applied in capitalism will be totally different to ones applied in socialism.

    #92206
    steve colborn
    Participant

    In Capitalism the ethos is the quick buck and devil take the hindmost. In Socialism the ethos is, will our actions benefit the majority now and moreover, not effect the future deleteriously. If the answer to both is, "yes" great, if not, then society decides, (me and you and all our fellows), if what we do is to the best interests of "all", both now and in the future!!!

    #92207
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    http://rt.com/usa/170552-oklahoma-fracking-wastewater-earthquakes/Now, surely we should worry when we read the following“As an industry, we’ve been saying we need more data and we need to work with regulators and others to help determine what is causing the significant increase in seismic activity,” said Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association. “But to unequivocally link it to wastewater injections, I think there still needs to be more research.”It seems the frackers concede (since it is not a denial) that no-one knows the actual consequences of what they are doing. 

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