To: Sam Laidlaw (Centrica Chief Executive)
Stop Centrica investing in fracking
Dear Mr Laidlaw, please end your talks with Cuadrilla and agree not to invest in fracking
Why is this important?
British Gas owner, Centrica, is currently in talks with Cuadrilla to buy a stake in its fracking operations in Lancashire. By signing this petition you can send a clear message to Centrica that if it goes ahead with the deal you will consider switching your supplier (if you’re a British Gas customer) and may also advise friends and family to follow suit.
Fracking – the extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing of rock – has a wide range of potentially very serious environmental and social impacts. What’s alarming is that the areas under consideration for fracking cover most of the country.
Despite assurances from the government and industry to the contrary, it’s impossible, no matter how stringent the legislation, to guarantee the integrity of shale gas wells. And any well failure can result in methane leakage and widespread groundwater contamination. Even if just a small fraction of the anticipated tens of thousands of wells fail – which they inevitably will – this will have disastrous, and potentially irreversible, consequences for our drinking water supply.
Fracking also has devastating implications for climate change. The London School of Economics and Carbon Tracker recently warned that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we’re to have a fighting chance of maintaining a habitable planet (http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble) – and that’s before we even consider shale gas. The government and fossil fuel industry insist that it provides a low-carbon transition fuel until we develop our renewables infrastructure. This is nonsense – support for fracking will reduce the sense of urgency and divert desperately needed investment away from renewable energy. And there’s nothing low-carbon about shale gas – the energy-intensive extraction process, and inevitable methane leakage, gives shale gas a potentially higher carbon footprint than coal. Furthermore, shale gas will be used as well as, not instead of, coal.
In addition to all this, fracking uses vast quantities of freshwater (expected to become scarcer under climate change) and produces similar quantities of waste water, all of which must be transported in thousands of road tankers, thundering through our towns and villages and damaging roads which will need to be fixed at taxpayers expense. House prices have reportedly dropped 24% near fracking sites in America, and there are already reports of people struggling to sell their houses in affected areas of Lancashire. And as if all this weren’t bad enough, almost all experts now agree that fracking won’t even bring down our energy bills, as many initially claimed. Quite simply, fracking will be great news for the fossil fuel industry and those in government with family ties and business interests in it. It will be very bad news indeed for almost everyone else.
Public opposition has put a stop to fracking projects in Australia and Europe. It has also caused extremely costly delays here in the UK. Fracking is such an expensive, high-risk and controversial means of generating energy that it doesn’t take much to tip the balance for investors between being worth the risk and not. By keeping up the pressure on government and industry we can, together, put a stop to fracking in the UK.
If you want to find out more about the impacts of fracking, and some of the myths that surround it, the following websites offer lots of useful information: