If this disaster doesn’t halt Cameron’s fracking plans, nothing will (VIDEO)

Support us and go ad-free

Last October’s huge methane leak at Aliso Canyon, California, was the biggest natural gas leak in US history – and a worse environmental disaster than the BP oil spill – as confirmed by a new scientific investigation.

Yet, apparently, Prime Minister David Cameron isn’t concerned: despite fierce objections, the government’s fracking plans are still forging ahead.

Researchers analysed samples taken from the atmosphere around the leak between November 2015 and February 2016. Their results show the rate of the leak was equivalent to “the annual energy sector [methane] emissions from medium-sized EU nations.” They also say the impact of the leak on climate change is “equal to that from the annual GHG emissions from 572,000 passenger cars in the US.”

It’s not just major disasters that are releasing unwanted methane into the atmosphere; research published last year showed that gas gathering facilities in the US lose almost three billion cubic metres of natural gas every year – eight times more than the Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

Not very good for climate change, or for emissions targets, you might be thinking – and you’d be right. According to the researchers who analysed the Aliso Canyon leak, the disaster will tip California over its emissions targets for the year.

The UK’s natural gas production has been declining for years, with imports from Norway increasing – and we’re doing just fine. But current fracking projects are set to bring production back to Britain. Why are the new findings not having an impact on the government’s much-criticised decision to extract more gas in the UK?

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The government is selling fracking as a “safe and environmentally sound exploration” to see whether it will provide the UK with more energy security and jobs. During a visit to Hampshire in 2015, Cameron even suggested it’s good for the climate:

I want to see unconventional [shale] gas properly exploited in our country. I think there are good reasons for doing this. We want to have greater energy security, we want to keep prices down, we also want to tackle climate change.

He used the US as an example of how well it’s going, saying:

I think it’s only then that we will see that people in this country see that it works in America and it can work here.

Any activity that releases gas from the ground carries a risk of methane leaks. Fracking is a more intense alternative to standard drilling for gas, as underground rock has to be fractured to release shale gas. This brings with it an even higher risk of methane leaking out.

Surely, given the enormity of the disaster that unfolded in California, and its significant impact on climate change, it’s time for Cameron to rethink his risky approach – or at least admit it’s not working as well as he thought in America after all.


Featured image: Scott L and Guillaume Paumier / Flickr


Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed