GMB Welcome Statement By Baroness Worthington That UK Fracked Gas Is Better Than Gas From Qatar
Importing gas across oceans and continents, from countries with lower labour and environmental standards is not ethical or good for the environment says GMB
GMB, the union for gas workers, commented on the statement by Baroness Worthington the current Labour shadow energy minister that fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain. See notes to editors for report on BBC website – dated 10th September 2015
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said GMB is very pleased with Baroness Worthington statement which is very welcome. This brings Labour front bench in line with GMB position.
GMB has long pointed out the economics of gas are unarguable. We will have to get gas from somewhere and importing gas across oceans and continents, from countries with lower labour and environmental standards is not ethical or good for the environment. See notes to editor for copy of GMB press release dated 9 June 2015.
People and local politicians should heed the Baroness’s comments.”
Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.
Notes to editors
1 Copy of extract of report on BBC website – dated 10th September 2015
Fracking: Think again, campaigner urges environmentalists
By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst.
Environmentalists should keep cool heads over fracking, says Friends of the Earth's former climate campaigner.
Bryony Worthington - now Labour shadow energy minister - says fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain.
But she insists shale gas should only be developed if its emissions are captured and stored underground.
The current FoE position is that more fossil fuel exploitation will further destabilise the climate.
Nonetheless, Baroness Worthington's intervention may prove significant. She is a professional climate and energy analyst, and one of the architects of the UK's radical Climate Change Act.
"We have to be realistic," she told BBC News. "We are going to be using gas for a long time because of the huge role it plays for heating homes and for industry.
"The important thing is to minimize the carbon emissions from gas. That means if we can get our own fracked gas, it's better to use that than importing gas that's been compressed at great energy cost somewhere else."
She believes NGOs (green groups) have been opportunistic in gathering support for green causes by taking an absolute position on shale gas.
"We have the mother of all challenges getting emissions of greenhouse gases out of our energy system - environmentalists should not be adopting a priori objections to technologies but appraising them with a cool head," she argued.
2 copy of GMB press release dated Monday 8th June 2015
GMB Congress Debate On Monday 8th June On Onshore Fracking For Shale Gas To Supply Gas Needed For Decades To Come
If there is a plentiful supply of UK shale gas is it not a moral duty for Britain to provide for our own gas needs from those supplies rather than importing gas from elsewhere asks CEC statement carried by Congress
GMB Congress in Dublin today (June 8th) voted for a statement from the Central Executive Council (CEC) on onshore fracking for shale gas which recognised that gas will continue to play a crucial role in the development of a low carbon economy and be part of a balanced energy mix. The statement also recognised that recruiting and organising gas workers, which has been a core activity for the union since 1889, should continue to be so in the future should the shale gas industry develop to supply a significant proportion of the gas that Britain needs.
The 98th GMB Congress with 500 delegates, representing 639,000 members from every sector in the economy all over the UK and Ireland, is underway in the Citywest Conference Centre in Dublin from Sunday 7 June to Thursday 11 June 2015. See notes to editors for more details about the 2015 Congress.
There will be a lunchtime fringe meeting at 12.45pm on June 8th with GMB and UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) on “Where should Britain get it’s gas from?” Speakers include Professor Peter Styles, Professor of Applied and Environmental Geophysics, Keele University speaking on The Geology and Technical Realities of Shale Gas, Mark Lappin, Director of Exploration and Subsurface, Centrica Energy and Colette Cohen, Senior Vice President, Centrica Energy. A Charter will be signed at that meeting by Gary Smith for GMB and Ken Cronin from UKOOG. This will be release to the media after that meeting.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy and Utilities, said as he moved the CEC statement “Gas will remain crucially important in meeting Britain’s future energy needs. The simple truth is that the UK will be using gas for many decades to come. Over 80% of homes in the UK are heated by gas.
The issue for Britain isn’t therefore whether we will use gas or not. We will. The real issue is where we will get our gas from, and who should take the moral responsibility for extracting and supplying the gas we use.
As both the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the independent UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have recognised, gas has an important part to play in Britain reducing our carbon emissions.
In fact, the future role of gas could be even more crucial in lowering CO2 emissions in Britain, through the development of micro combined heat and power units to produce heat and electricity for homes. Fuel cells which have zero carbon emissions will have a huge role to play in the future, and these will need gas too.
Our energy intensive industries need access to affordable, secure energy supplies. They need the certainty that Britain’s energy mix will meet their needs. They, like Britain’s households, need gas to be part of that energy mix.
The debate about fracking must be based upon complete honesty about the economic realities of gas. A number of questions arise as follows:
- Is it acceptable for Britain to import gas from countries where the safety, environmental and regulatory standards are lower than in Britain?
- Should gas be imported from states where there is no civil society, no right to protest and where workers are denied basic trade union rights?
- Is it kinder to the environment for gas to be transported for thousands of miles across continents and oceans before we use it here in Britain?
If exploratory drilling reveals a plentiful supply of UK shale gas reserves, is it not a moral duty for Britain to take responsibility for providing for our own gas needs from those supplies, rather than importing gas from elsewhere?
GMB’s position on fracking must therefore be consistent with the need to organise the shale gas industry if it does develop, as well our duty to protect the future of the UK gas industry and the thousands of GMB members it currently employs.
If onshore fracking for shale gas does develop from its current exploratory status into an industry which will be supplying a significant proportion of the gas that Britain needs, GMB will need every ounce of our organising expertise and commitment to safeguard the workers in the industry. The CEC believes that anything less than protecting these workers from exploitation in a fledgling industry, as we did with gasworkers 126 years ago, would be a betrayal of our history and moral responsibility”.